Collecting and Repurposing, Vintage Floral Print Handkerchiefs

Vintage floral handkerchiefs are/were another one of those lovely items which grandma had and I coveted.  From time to time I would be gifted one or two of them which I would use as, little girl “fashion accents”, or flashy “scarves” for dancing, magic tricks, or juggling acts. One of my favorite things to do with them was to lie flat on my back with a hanky draped over my face, inhale as deeply as possible, and slowly, blow a strong steady stream of breath which would lift the sheer floral wonders into the air like a graceful bird, and I would lie still and watch as it came back down, just as gracefully as it went up.

I have a collection of them now, so I started thinking about all the things you can do with these floral beauties. I’ve seen them used to make baby bonnets, small handbags, children’s clothing articles, dream pillows, quilt tops, lavender drawer sachets, and my favorite is a window treatment with each hankie joined to it’s neighbor with a vintage mother of pearl button at each corner. As much as I would love to have a window treatment made from them I could never bring myself to put the delicate cotton in a window to be exposed to the daily rays of the sun, and be forced to watch as they deteriorate, Nooooooooo!!!!
I have used them in my reconstructed clothing designs but have never used one which was in perfect condition, I just can’t bring myself to cut them if they are in good shape.

Here are a few from my collection, these are the ones which are in “near perfect” to “good vintage condition”

It’s said that looking at gardens and quilts (and other stuff like babies and puppies) can give a serotonin release, or endorphins, or dopamine or one of those brain chemicals that make you feel good and contribute to your well being both mentally and physically. I imagine grandmas hankies fall into that list, at least they do fr me.


I knew a woman in the late 1970’s early 1980’s who started a line of lingerie using vintage hankies, she made bras, camisoles, baby doll PJ’s and panties from the squares and triangles.

Below, is an example of my use of a, not so perfect, hanky to make a dress bodice. The imperfection was cut away from the center.


I had a vintage wrap around skirt made of vintage scarves, which I had found at a garage sale, most of the scarves looked to be from the 1940’s. Judging by the “garment” construction the wrap around was probably made in the 1960’s or 70’s. It was lovely! I attached it to a vintage slip and added a halved hanky to the top bustline then positioned some vintage cotton lace trim for straps. This dress became a wedding dress in a hand fasting ceremony.


This is the back view… The vintage scarves were so scrumptious!!


I also added another almost matching hanky to the hemline.


This is a camisole top made from lots of sweet, vintage floral print fabrics, including a vintage hanky as the “featured” top ruffle.


Here are some partial pictures of another scarf dress I found thrifting. It is from the 1970’s or very early 80’s. I found it, as is, in such good condition I had to scoop it up.

This dress is a great example of a gorgeous bohemian style 1970’s or 80’s halter dress made from rayon, and vintage scarves. The bodice of the dress is a soft rayon, with adjustable shoulder ties, the waist band is a stretch cotton band, and the skirt is made from vintage silk and nylon scarves, set on point to create the beautiful handkerchief or butterfly style hem line.







Thanks for reading…




My Own “Resurrection” Telling My Dunkin’ Story

Every morning I walk the dog and there is an empty field near the end of the block where a house has been torn down and the lot is now covered in gravel, chunks of coral, shale. I always pass a little bit of litter and it always catches my eye for some reason. It is a piece of a dunkin’ donuts cup and it says “tell your dunkin’ story”.
So on sight of the litter I ruffle through my Rolodex for any stories I may be able to tell about dunkin’ doughnuts, no files found…and then I decide to change the search by substituting the dunkin’ for any word that rhymes with dunkin’
Funkin’ (and other variations)
Punkin’ Pumpkin
Eventually I settled with removing the dumb dunkin’ all together, and since it’s the internet, I can make it (my Freakin’ Story) look much better than it really is!!! Yay!!

So welcome to the story I’ve made up …. sort of…

I recently got my old patchwork curtains back from my son. It’s been 10 years they have been protecting someone else’s windows. I put them up yesterday, over my bed. They are all luxury fabrics I had collected over the years and all of the fabrics hold memories for me, I could tell you where each piece of fabric comes from and probably what I was “planning” to make when I found it.

I did find it a little hard to sleep under them, my mind began to race like it use to with a million ideas of things I need to do NOW!!! So from hence forth, they will be my magical dream curtains of many colors. And I will wake up each morning grateful for the colored sprinkles on top of the I scream.


Metalics from India and and Greece, plush velvets, rich brocades, double dyed and printed linens, and shimmery satins. All in royal jewel-tone colors that look lovely with the sun shining through this time of morning.

In reality they’re pretty funky with uneven seams and raw hems, but hey it’s my story I get to embellish it the way I want! Maybe I will hem them someday and they’ll be perfect?

to me they are perfect so I won’t be in a huge hurry.


The metalic fabric with peacocks came from a sweet Greek woman who had been an seamstress when she was in Greece. She was in her 80’s and totally loved me (and everyone else who would stop and make eye contact with her. She rented a little cottage to my good friend Lorraine and gifted me her old sewing cabinet, full of really amazing vintage fabrics, sewing tools, and laces. When I see the fabric it reminds me of her peering out the stoop of her little house every time I visited my friend. I loved talking to her and she always offered a cookie to my young son.


Metalic fabric above was from a Vintage Indian men’s “pyjama” or Kurta, a long tunic with standup collar and matching drawstring pants Maybe it was a wedding Kurta?


My little Dream catcher also shares the window with the dream curtains. and throws rainbows around the room for about 30 minutes in the morning sun.


My little sun worshiping Siamese cat keeps a squinty eye on the neighbors. I love the patina, she’s bronze and is actually a small stash box. (she was also returned to me by my son recently)


This is a vintage length of Seminole patchwork given to me long ago by a friend. I love the colors and imagine they may be natural dyes. The tassels are oversized vintage passementerie found at a thrift store in a grab bag.


This is my head model she flutters from place to place.  She is among the vintage tins filled with vintage jewelry findings and broken pieces.


Here she is wearing an unfinished hat…I intend to finish someday

great-hat-raggedy hat

And my raggedy hat which I also fully intend to finish….some day!


Today I was blessed with free avocados, while walking the dog, they’re in season and dropping everywhere. Really good food!