Monday, February 21, 2011

Vintage Handkerchiefs Around the House: Decorate with Heirloom Fabric Items

Well-mannered women of past generations placed a great deal of value on owning a collection of beautiful, delicate handkerchiefs. This tendency has, for the most part, gone out of style. These previously prized symbols of elegance and femininity end up passed from generation to generation, or even sold in thrift stores, auctions, and garage sales.

What Can Be Done With an Heirloom Handkerchief?

One pretty, old handkerchief makes an attractive end table scarf. Sew a trim of ruffled vintage lace onto untrimmed scarves to finish the edges as an alternative to a crocheted doily. The style will resemble a doily, without spending hours upon hours crocheting.
Two handkerchiefs are the ideal size to make a vintage scarf for most dresser tops. Hand sewing the handkerchiefs together, and then hand sewing ruffled vintage lace all of the way around makes a dresser cover that protects the top of the dresser from scratches and spills.

What Can Be Done With Stained Handkerchiefs?

Textiles occasionally pick up stains during storage. This happens when the fabric is exposed to moisture, excessive heat, other fabrics, and even acids from the storage containers.

  • Soak the stained handkerchief overnight in a solution of warm water, delicate laundry detergent, and 1/4 cup washing soda crystals.
  • Gently hand wash the aged fabric in the same soapy water it soaked in.
  • Rinse the handkerchief with cold water, until the water runs clear.
  • Air dry the handkerchief.

If the stains do not come out that does not mean the handkerchief must be thrown away. Consider making small items with the fabric from the handkerchief, like a blouse for a collectible doll, or a quilt square.

Vintage handkerchif image (above) courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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