Sunday, September 25, 2011

Drawn-Thread Hankies

A few weeks ago I bought a baggie of vintage hankies from an estate sale on 1/2 price day.  I now realize I should have bought all of them.  When I looked at the 12 hankies I had bought I was surprised by the quality and workmanship on these tiny treasures.  Here is a pic of the most amazing one that I am selling.  It is less than 10 inches square and made of tightly-woven cotton.  I took this at 600 dpi so I could look at it closer.  This is actual size.

The embroidery and drawn-thread work are so fine you cannot see the stitches with the naked eye.  Here are two screenshots I took when I blew up the above scan.

That's satin stitch, not outline stitch.  And check out the buttonhole stitch around the edge.

Here is one I'm keeping for myself and framing.  The drawn-thread work is amazing!  This is actual size.  Again, too small to see the detail.

 Here is the detail.

Can you imagine the size of the needle and the time it took to work this?

Check out the other hankies I have for sale in my Etsy store.  Today I found an unused lipstick hankie from the 1950's.  They were made in a dark red cotton so you could correct your lipstick and not mess up a nice white hankie.

I have a small collection of children's hankies packed away and will dig them out for subsequent posts.


  1. Love these hankies. I was looking at some the other day at a thrift shop which was selling them for .50 each. None as beautiful as yours. Did ladies really USE these? Unsure of the whole hankie thing, as they all seem so delicate. I guess you could dab.

  2. Some were used, some were put away in a drawer because they were "too nice to use". The common explanation - - For Show or For Blow. My mother showed me how girls would tuck them behind their watch or bracelet strap. When I was very young and being taught how to do laundry, I remember watching my mother put hankies through the wringer. Then I would get the basket of them and some clothespins and could pin them up on the chain link fence to dry. Later, when I was older, it was my job to iron all the flat items, including numerous hankies.


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