Thursday, January 26, 2012

Vintage Handkerchief Buntings

Let me start off by saying

I am NOT a seamstress.

Not by any means or margin.

In fact, the last time I ever sewed anything on a real live sewing machine
was way back in junior high school.

Yeah....THAT long ago.

But when I saw some of these charming vintage handkerchief buntings on Etsy,
I thought that maybe...

just maybe

a simple project like this could be my reintroduction into Sewing 101. 

 ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Let's begin, shall we?

Assignment #1: Read the sewing machine handbook. This is an important step since you haven't a clue as to what you're doing.There are nice big pictures and very few words in it, so if you're in Pre-K Reading class, this will be a cake-walk.

Assignment #2:  Familiarize yourself with the machine. Talk to it and ask for it to play nice.

Assignment #3: Plug it in. This is the easiest part of this whole assignment.

Assignment #4:  Learn how to thread the needle. Have your Reader glasses ready.  That hole in the needle seems to be extremely small for some odd reason...

Assignment #5:  Go back to Assignment #4 and change it to "Learn how to wind the bobbin first".

Assignment #6:  Learn how to thread the needle (through that teeny weeny hole).

Assignment #7:  Practice, practice, practice on a piece of old fabric first because when you try to do it on the project you're making,
the machine suddenly makes a weird sound and stops working.

Assignment #8: Go back to Assignments #4 & 5 and change to "Learn how to wind the bobbin AND install it correctly".

Assignment #9:  Rip out tangled mess on back of project.

Assignment #10:  Proceed merrily - but cautiously - on your way.

** ♥ **

Ok ~ so for this project you're going to need:

1 package of double-wide seam binding,
some dressmaker pins,
4 or 5 vintage handkerchiefs


Cut each hankie in half on the diagonal.
No need to be really neat about it,
but try to cut in a straight line.

(Remember ~ this IS Sewing 101.)

Open up the binding and lay the cut edge of the hankie in the center of it.

Fold it over the hankie and pin.

Yup.  Just like this ~
all the way down the binding,
pinning whatever colored and patterned hankies that tickle your fancy in place
end to end (point to point).

With the 3 yards of binding that comes in a package,
I could get about 5 hankie halves pinned in a row
leaving about 3" at each end for ties.
(This will all depend on the size of your hankies.)

Now, here comes the scary part.

Sit down at your machine, 

say a short prayer
(this is a very important step),

lay your binding beneath the foot of the machine,

clamp it down,
(say another short prayer)


s l o w l y
press your foot on the "gas pedal".

(You're not driving a dragster here, ya know...
That comes with Sewing 901.)

Sew along the edge of the binding
plucking out the pins as you go
because you don't want to break the needle with the teeny weeny hole.

 I know that some of you Sewing 901 brainiac students are thinking,
"Why didn't she iron the binding down?"

Well, I didn't think of that until I got going.
Besides, my palms were too clammy.

Anyway, keep sewing right to the end of the binding.
I actually reversed the sewing at the end
to make sure the stitches were good and secure
with a little doohicky-switch-thingy above the needle.

(You read how to do that in Assignment #1...remember?)

say a thank you prayer that all went well
and that the bobbin didn't choke up and spit out knots of thread

(Failure to do Assignment #4 & 5)

even though you had to fill the tiny little bobbin a minimum of four different times which meant that you really learned to do it correctly
and probably won't need to read the handbook ever again in your life.

Drape your pretty vintage bunting on your frantel,
stand across the kitchen from it
and try to reach in back of you to pat yourself on the back.

You have now graduated to 
Sewing 201.

(Insert music to "Pomp & Circumstance" here)

These sweet vintage buntings will be for sale at the Allegan Antique Market this spring!

[ Blessings ]

Linking to the parties on the lower right of my sidebar.
Just click on the buttons!


  1. This bunting is very sweet Laurie! You crack me up though. I love to sew, but don't do it as much as I should. :)

  2. Your bunting turned out so cute, Laurie. I would've never guessed that you haven't sewn since junior high, you seem so crafty and hands on. I had to laugh at the part where you talked about the tangled mess on the back of the project...that has happened to me many times. Are you sure that your machine doesn't have a way to thread itself?


  3. What a fun idea.Looks great on your frantle.I wish I had a sewing machine.That is on my wish list.I have not sewn since High School.A loooooong time ago.But think I could manage something like this.As long as it is a straight line I think I could do it.

  4. It's made me want to try one for myself! Lovely idea!

  5. Very cute and I love the 'tutorial' (I think that is the right word) great example of "YOU can do it".

  6. OMGosh! You cut dear old granny's hankies in half? Whatever will she do when she goes to blow her nose and the pretty half of her hanky has been cut away?

    You did a great job. It's fun, isn't it? Do you know Teresa over at Blooming On Bainbridge? She just learned to sew last year too and is doing a great job. If you pop over tell her I sent you~ You will get a kick out of her first attempts at sewing, too.

    Time to celebrate with a bit of SlipperyCat/DooDooDog. xo Diana

  7. did you ever make me laugh....since I make dolls all the time for almost 27 years, I forgot how scary a sewing machine can be. But, I also pray, that mine does not give up the ghost.
    Pat yourself on the back, you did real good!!!

  8. Oh Laurie, I enjoyed this post so much, makes me want to pull out my little portable sewing machine I won at a school fundraiser and see what I can do! The garland looks so pretty. xo

  9. You're so funny. You did a great job. Congrats on graduating.

  10. Dear Laurie, sewing machines and I don't get along, will a hot glue gun work?

  11. Your vintage hanky bunting turned out so cute. You made me laugh. It sounds so much like me when I try to sew. Only I never graduate to sewing 201. I don't have the patience to continue after the thread tangles up.
    Happy Sewing!

  12. Oh how I'm chuckling here Laurie! Your bunting came out so well, and was worth all your efforts for sure.
    I had an episode last week where my sewing needle broke, and I swear a piece of it bounced off my neck. I think I should start wearing safety glasses while sewing. :)
    Your hankies are the sweetest!
    - Susan

  13. Love the bunting! Thanks for the funny sewing tips. It's been many years since I've touched a sewing machine, too.

  14. A great way to display vintage hankies, so pretty, Laura

  15. This is so pretty Laurie!
    Great job!!!!
    So feminine and dainty.
    Loved this post.

    Deborah xoxoxo

  16. I'm still laughing! You did a great job and the garland is very pretty. I'm sure you be whipping up sofa slipcovers in no time! ~ Maureen

  17. You did a great job for your first time sewing as an ADULT! You gave a great tutorial for how to do the very cute buntings. Still am loving your frantel!


  18. Hi Laurie, so fun reading your sewing 101. I actually sew quite a bit. I am a quilting addict. I have made a bunting like this using Americana fabric for 4th of July. However, I love the hankie idea. I have some of my mothers hankies that I would love using for this. I could see her sweet smile every time I look at it. Yours turned out lovely.

  19. This is so nice done Laurie!!..lovely !!...have a nice from

  20. So sweet Laurie!
    I have my Mom's old sewing machine and haven't used one since I made a pair of hiddeous pink pants in high school. Thanks for the lesson!

  21. haha, sending prayers your way. I totally understand the fear. Great job.

  22. oh, what a sweet looking bunting, laurie, and such fun reading your funny post:) i love to sew little projects like this!

  23. I love how people "get inside my brain"! I lie somewhere between Sewing 701 and 901, but let me tell ya, I'm no stranger to Sewing 101 ~ refer back to it often (more out of necessity than pleasure I might say). You did a great job, ironing or no ironing ~ which ~ ah-hem ~ I noticed ;). Keep it up ~ kinda like riding a bike ~ a little rusty at first but then all's smooth sailing ~ til you have to refer back to S101. BTW ~ love your blog and your bunting.

  24. You are just too funny! You did an awesome job. I'm going to steal your idea and make one as a valance for a bedroom window!!! (I have 6 sewing machines so I wish I could have been there to encourage you!)

  25. I love your idea for a bunting using handkerchiefs. It looks so elegant and classic. I have to take out my sewing machine and go for it. Thank you for such a creative project.
    Love, Jody

  26. You had me in "stitches" reading this Laurie! And your sweet buntings have me dreaming of spring. xo ~Lili

  27. What a very gorgeous idea Laurie!! you did well for some one who doesnt sew!!!! will you make more of them? think you should , imagine the bunting draped over your porch in summer?! hope you are well lovely gal!
    Laura xx

  28. this scenario is very familiar! i am just like you when it comes to sewing...
    i even sewed a few hankie buntings myself, yours turned out super sweet and good for you for just going for it!!

  29. Thanks for stopping by my blog! This is EXACTLY my kind of sewing project! :) I love the step by step instructions! The bunting is darling!

  30. you made me laugh this morning Laurie. I sew almost every day....but all by hand. I got a sewing machine for chirstmas. And you described exactly how I feel every time I sit down at it :). have a great day.


  31. Look at you Martha, sewing, crafting, painting, what can't you do girl!!!?? I love this and now you are a pro at threading the machine! :)
    It is really pretty sweets and I hope you are having a good weekend. Thinking of you!

  32. I am so proud of you. I knew you had it in you to plow ahead. I tell non sewers all the time it's just a little machine it won't bite:)
    It came out so well Laurie I'm sure they will sell!!!


  33. So pretty and spring-like, too! I just visited your tour of winter on your lovely property. How lucky the deer and other wild animals are to have such a safe haven! Your pictures were postcard worthy!

  34. Laurie,
    I love, love, love your prayers throughout this post...I may need even more when I begin a SEWING project in February! Your project is adorable! They'll be a big hit!

  35. Those are so cute and your mantel is darling...

  36. Hello Laurie,,i love your blog and your beautiful style..i wish you a very nice emglish is very bad:O) Hugs Belinda

  37. Hi Laurie! Thanks for your always so nice comments on my blog :-) My candelabra is bought in a little antique shop, perhaps you can find a similar, whish you all luck :-))

    Lovely pics in former post from your winter landscape and your house, what a postcard view, just stunning!!!

    Have a nice sunday!! All the best, Regards Paula

  38. This looks great. Since I can't sew, I used my vintage hankies with clips to make a valance for my laundry room.

  39. Oh, how pretty! I love vintage hankies. I found you at 1929 Charmer's Sunday Best's link party.

  40. What a lovely idea. I used to have some gorgeous vintage-y looking hankies when I was a little girl - I so wish I'd kept them so I could do this. My man-sized ones wouldn't really cut the biscuit!


  41. I laughed as I read your post, funny. My Momma taught me how to sew at a very early age, so don't have the anxiety that you do, but can relate. BUT, you certainly did a great job. So very pretty, and I will be making myself one or maybe two to sell in my booth. Thanks for sharing you creative inspiration with Sunday's Best Par.tay!

  42. It looks great! My Mama can sew very well and is very particular about how her things turn out. Me on the other had, I just make do. I think it's just for me so it doesn't have to be perfect :)

  43. Hello ! well done you ! I know sewing can be intimidating...I end up with my shoulders hunched right up to my ears...oh the me not the machine !! but your project turned out so nice.
    Have a lovely week...Gail x

  44. these are very sweet, Laurie.
    I'm sure they will sell very well from your booth at the market.
    Good job.

  45. what a beautiful idea! I have recently acquired a few vintage hankies and would love to make something like this! I just noticed you are from michigan, so am I! you have a wonderful blog,

  46. Hi Laurie,
    I'm so glad I'm not the only one who gets clammy hands when sitting down in front of a sewing machine. That aside, you did a wonderful likes a lot:) Now I'm really mad at myself for giving away a whole box of hankies to my aunt who's actually going to use them for blowing her nose in...what a thought. It belonged to my grandmothers' sister who passed away in December. We looked after Auntie Sarie since 1999. It was really hard having to sort through her things and I had wondered what to do with the hankies when my mother's sister came by to pick up the things we had set aside for her. She liked the hankies so much that I gave it to her, glad to have found someone who would appreciate them. About 90% of the hankies had never been used, so maybe a lovely garland would have been something sweet to remember Auntie by. At least now they're not hidden away in a box anymore and can live out their hanky lives being used for what they were maid for...snif snif. Happy sewing!

  47. I think you did a wonderful job! Thanks so much for linking up to our party!

  48. Okay, you're my kind of blogger! Love me some humor mixed with my diy ... #5 (tee hee). And threading the machine is my least favorite. I think I need some +800 readers for that task!

    Thank you so much for joining our "impossibilities" challenge and link party!


  49. Wow your bunting is so pretty!! Wish we could visit your place this spring. I am here in SE Michigan. Thanks for the visit I do appreciate it.

  50. Youve made it=) and so beutiful.
    I will now check around in yor blog
    and lool at yor nice pictures
    ♥hugs from Gabriella in Sweden♥

  51. this is absolutely gorgeous! simply divine!!! i am in love!!!! please give those little furbabies a big hug from us here : ) is your little pup a long hair doxie? sending hugs...

  52. Me thinks this is about the sweetest thing I've seen in a long while!

    fits any lifestyle!


  53. Adorable!!! You did a great job, sweet idea,if you ever need sewing help just look me up, I am here in Michigan too, Maple Street Antiques Mall, Mason MI.

  54. What a lovely way to use the vintage hankies (especially if one only has a few!). Your sewing issues sound just like mine -- but mine never end successfully -- wonder under and a stapler are my best friends. Thanks for visiting and commenting over on my blog :-)

  55. LOL, that is hysterical ! I loved #5 and 8 and all the rest too. I used to sew by hand when I was brave, then on a machine, just basics. It still sits here because I refused to get rid of it after 20 yrs but I need to know if I can still use it without the book with pictures in it! Next week is my birthday and my roommate wants to get me a sewing machine so I can (finally) begin my lifelong passion for making clothes, curtains, and linens. We shall see. Do I really have to learn what 'binding' is? Can't I just sew things together? :D I only know I will not give up this time. Thanks for visiting my page. I'm following now, you made me laugh!

  56. Oh Dear Laurie you cracked me up, this sounds SO like me! You wouldn't want to hear how I talk to my Machine, it blows my whole Christian Witness! *LOL* I'm currently taking a Sewing Class at Church that one of the sweet Ladies is teaching... apparently my cheap Machine is crap and has been sitting collecting dust too long, so it won't work on any of the projects I had enthusiastically hoped I could learn whilst in the class! *Arghhhh* So, there I sit still hand sewing my Bohemian Bags, but the Fellowship is great, I don't have G-Kid & Home Distractions so I get a lot done... and when I can afford a new machine next Winter when the Lady will come back to Arizona I may get to finally learn to use one without losing my Peace, Serenity and Calm! *Winks*

    This was hysterical... now I don't feel so much like the Lone Ranger in my Sewing Machine Experience... and I LOVE your Buntings, no wonder it was Inspiring!

    Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  57. Very Lovely! I like the look of the vintage bunting. I would never have thought to use handkerchiefs for a bunting - thanks for sharing this on the Take it on Tuesday blog hop!!

  58. Wow, such beautiful handkerchiefs, and thanks for the great tutorial. And for linking up to the challenge. Karah

  59. Very sweet! Great job with the sewing! I totally feel your pain! :)

  60. Well Im a Seamstress by love an for a living and I give you an A+ did a great job ! I defintatly will make a few of these for myself .
    I have a pic I'd love for you to see and or even share if you like sometime on here .
    I made a quilt with my Mothers , M I L , Aunts and Grandma's old Hankies turned out so very nice . Im about to start another for my sister but with hankies I've collected from where ever .
    Keep up the sewing and before you know it , you will be putting mileage on your Machine just as much as I do ! God Bless and keep on Praying ~

  61. Hello Laurie, This is an adorable post that I feel many of us could empathize with! Love this banner and it is a great way to start many wonderful projects in the future! Thank you so much for sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  62. So delightfully delicate! Love! Thanks so much for sharing at the Kiss & Tell party over at I Gotta Create!

  63. Laurie, you are so sweet for checking. I did not get a new one because his mom had one she only used twice, almost new! and I said YES! I'll take it! Now I need a dress form and fabric....fabric is helpful don't you think? LOL....I AM going to make lots of stuff. I'm planning on removing the guest bed in this computer/guest room and putting in a table to work from....slowly, but soon! hugs, Lady

  64. Really lovely.

    Thank you for linking it up at our party. A new party will open today, and we hope you will submit new projects/tutes of your wonderful work!


  65. You are featured on my blog tonight!! C'mon by and grab a feature button :) Love this bunting!! Thanks for linking up - a new party started tonight, too!
    <3 Christina

    By the way, you have word verification on. Sometimes folks don't realize it, so wanted to give you a heads up. If you need help with turning it off, I have instructions here:


Bless you and thank you for visiting! I read each of your comments and treasure them all. So, please make sure your settings will accept emails, or leave your email address so that I can reply! ♥ Laurie