About a month ago I got an email from Donna who had recently posted about a shopping bag full of old hankies that were her mothers and grandmothers. She didn’t know what to do with them. Robbie, one of her blog readers and also one of mine, commented and referred her to my post about hankies. Thanks Robbie!
After some discussion in which I agreed to make four pillows for her, Donna sent me the hankies—all 144 of them—and I got to work. First up was a good soaking and washing. I figure that any hankies that don’t make it intact through the washing/drying process aren’t fit to make pillows from. Not that I expect my pillows to be thrown around or become the weapon of choice in pillow fights, but I don’t want them to fall apart either.
I lost about 20 of them along the way. And lots more have stains that didn’t wash out or holes in the corners. That’s OK—I’ll cut out the damaged sections and use them for sachets. There were still plenty of good ones left for pillows.
Donna didn’t give me too much guidance, although some customers do and that's fine. One was to be for her son so it shouldn’t be too feminine; the others could be as girly as I wanted them to be. She liked purple.
So, here’s what I came up with:
From a hanky with flower bouquets in the corners, I cut it into quarters and reassembled it so the edges faced inward. I added some yellow vintage buttons (in the center of one of the flowers) and a border of new coral/white floral cotton.
From a hanky with a bouquet of roses tied with a blue ribbon in one corner, I cut it in half diagonally and layered it over another hanky with a crocheted pink and blue edging. A turquoise and pink vintage button stack and two coordinating fabrics complete the design.
This was the most challenging and also my favorite design. I took a more masculine hanky with autumn leaves in gray and orange, added a border of orange and red striped cotton, a sprinkling of orange buttons in one corner, and finished up with a vintage gray and white print outer border. There’s no getting around the fact that hankies are feminine by nature, but I think I succeeded in not going too girly with this one.
Last but not least…the very purple one. From a hanky with bunches of violets, I cut it into quarters and reassembled it, added a purple-striped border and another of purple polka dots, and kept it from being "too" purple with the addition of eight green buttons in the same shade as the background green of the hanky.
As of yesterday, they’re on their way to their new home. Thanks Donna—hope you love 'em! Next up, one of my embroidered bird pillows for my friend Jenny to give as a baby gift. I planned the design (fabrics and buttons) last night and also started on the embroidery. Yesterday afternoon (which was gorgeous by the way and almost 80 degrees) I photographed lots of vintage goodies for my web site so look for more vintage aprons, linens, buttons and trims in the next week or so.