The Hankie Stash // 4th of July

How is your summer going so far ? If you're in the US, happy upcoming fourth of July ! Independence Day ! Woo ! If you're in England, sorry that we're celebrating our rebellion against you, haha !

Well, for me one thing we always do at the fourth of July is help my grandma set up a booth at an antique fair.  My grandmother enjoys collecting, and has LOTS of antiques.  But she's a shrewd woman, money-wise--she won't pay more than what she thinks something is worth, no matter how much she likes it. Also, if you're buying from her, she'll give you a pretty good bargain.

One of my favorite things to do at the antique fair is to walk around and see what else is there. Usually, I'm looking for vintage handkerchiefs and old laces and pretty linens.

It started in elementary school, when said grandma would babysit us.  She would take us around to Salvation Army and Goodwill, looking for things she could resell. On one of those trips, she found a big bag full of vintage hankies. I asked if I could keep them, she said yes, and thus started my collection.

From then on, I looked for them at every flea market and antique fair I've been in. Hankies usually aren't hard to find; however, a lot of them are expensive, and I've learned from my grandma not to pay more than it's worth. Generally, if one hankie costs more than a dollar, I leave it. Scarves can cost a little more.

Hankies, to me, are interesting on more than just a collecting standpoint. It's amazing how many different techniques can be found in them.

For instance, here you can see some intricate embroidery.

 
 While I don't know how exactly to tell hand embroidery from machine embroidery, I'm inclined to think the first one was done by hand due to the softness and slight irregularities in the stitches.

 
This second one has a pattern that is similar to broderie anglaise (did I spell that right?) except broderie anglaise has eyelets. 
 
 You can also find gorgeous laces in hankies. This one is my favorite:


 
It's created by weaving and sewing white embroidery floss to soft netting. In all my collection, I only have one with this technique.

Another technique seen is applique, or might be shadow applique, which is when something colorful is appliqued to the back of a sheer fabric.


 
It's obvious how the flower is whiter and less see through than the rest of the hankie. You can also see some cutwork here--the middle of the flower has been cut away and is surrounded by purple embroidery.

Finally, vintage hankies often sport hand-rolled hems. These are not quick to make, but they look awesome. I recently did this to a chiffon costume for ballet and it took probably an hour, but it is so worth it.

It looks so delicate.

And finally, here are some of my favorite hankies:

 
 These are beautiful printed ones.


 
The one above is either printed or sewn off-grain. Can you tell ? Look at how the pattern slants off the hankie.

 
 These are strange but lovely--they have some kind of embossing of them, and it feels a tad like a velveteen.


And, of course, the monogrammed one. It's in nearly pristine condition.

Do you guys have collections or stashes other than fabric ? Are you a vintage junkie ? (With patterns, perhaps?) I'd love to get my hands on some 70s patterns in my size.

Comments