Vintage Handkerchief Holder

Last week I blogged about a Vintage Hankie Heart Pillow I made from the book, Hooked on Hankies by Laurene Sinema and Janet Carruth, Suzanne McNeill Design Originals. The post is here.

I have a lot of vintage handkerchiefs of varying sizes and I started thinking how I could use the idea of a pocket along with a holder that could be hung on the wall and that was easy to adapt to different dimensions.

I have a nice collection of children’s scottie  handkerchiefs which are much smaller than the standard.  This is the formula I worked out:


  • Front – Fabric A – Side measurement of hankie folded in fourths plus 1″
  • Pocket – Fabric B – Same measurement as Fabric A
  • Backing – Fabric C – Same measurement as Fabric A plus 2 inches extra
  • Batting – Same measurement as Fabric A plus 2 inches extra
  • Binding – One side measurement of A x 4 plus 3″ extra

I started out by folding the hankie in fourths and measuring along one side.  In this example, it was 5-1/2″.  I added 1″ to this measurement to equal 6-1/2″

For this dimension I used:

  • Fabric A for the front of the holder – 6-1/2″ square
  • Fabric B for the pocket – 6-1/2″ square
  • Fabric C for backing – 8-1/2″ square (6-1/2″ plus 2″ extra)
  • Batting same size as backing – 8-1/2″ square
  • Binding 1-1/2″wide x 29″ long (4 sides @ 6-1/2″ = 26 plus 3″ extra)

Cut  6-1/2″ square from Fabric A – set aside

Cut 6-1/2″ square from Fabric B and fold in half, wrong sides together.  Press.  Top stitch 1/4″ from folded edge.  Set aside.

Cut 8-1/2″ square from backing fabric and place right side down on worktable.  Place 8-1/2″ square of batting on top of backing.  Center 6-1/2″ square of Fabric A on top of the batting.  Pin in place.

Quilt by sewing straight lines, beginning at the center,  from corner to corner and from each mid-section across the piece.  Decorative stitching would be nice here.

Trim away excess batting and backing.

Place the pocket Fabric B on the lower half of the front Fabric A, matching the bottom point.  Pin and then baste 1/8″ from the two raw edges.

Press 1/2 inch from one end of binding.   Place binding right side down on the right side of the front with the pressed section facing up.  Sew 1/4″ seam to attach the binding and overlap at the end to cover the folded portion.

Trim off any excess binding.  Press and hand-stitch the folded section.  Turn binding to wrong side, allowing 1/4″ to show on the front, fold under binding and hand-stitch to the back.

As a hanger, attach a  ribbon, ring or maybe a vintage belt buckle if you have one.  I like to use drapery clips on my wall hangings.

Embellish any way you like.  I’m partial to vintage buttons.

Fold the handkerchief and tuck it into the pocket – no damage to the hankie itself and easy to change out.

I made another holder for a smaller handkerchief, using the formula …

…and for this standard-size hankie.  I folded it a little differently so more of the floral design would show.

It’s a fun, fast project, uses up scraps, and offers a chance to display some of those treasured handkerchiefs we all have tucked away in a drawer somewhere.

Vintage Hanky Heart Pillow

I love vintage handkerchiefs and pick them up whenever I find them at a reasonable price in antique malls.  Last fall, when we were visiting Amish Country (Holmes County, Ohio), I found a book devoted to projects using vintage hankies – Hooked on Hankies by Laurene Sinema and Janet Carruth – Suzanne McNeill Design Originals.

I decided to use a pattern for a small hanging pillow that has a pocket where a vintage handkerchief can be inserted and it doesn’t need to be cut or altered in any way.  I used one of my pretty old hankies and embellished the piece with two vintage buttons.

I made it as a birthday gift for my online friend, Darlene, and she posted a picture of it hanging on her country-blue front door.  Check out Darlene’s blog to see how her quilting, crocheting and sewing projects are coming along – here.

The book has projects for using vintage hankies such as a table runner, wall hangings, baby clothes, shower curtain, wreath, etc.    Nice for displaying old handkerchiefs you own or as a good excuse to go to an antique mall to find some.