Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Vintage Hankie Jacket

Back in her room in the lower left drawer of her dressing table beneath the stack of her pretty little party clutches rested this box, a Whitman's Sampler vintage tin from 1927. I had the feeling I was about to discover another of Grandmuvver's treasures and I hoped that it wasn't 85 year-old-chocolate covered cherries. 45 perfectly pressed and carefully folded vintage hankies, one on top of the other, just waiting to hop into one of her cute purses and head out to a Delta party.
"A handkerchief is a Kleenex you don't throw away." Quickly! Who said that? Kathleen at the counter of her bookstore in "You've Got Mail." Not many ladies have great appreciation for vintage hankies any more because not many women have great appreciation for steam irons and cans of starch.

In one of those increasingly rarer aha moments, I remembered a picture of a little jacket made from vintage hankies and I knew that's exactly what Baby Gracie needed. She would need something extra special from the Grandmuvver she didn't get to know and love. The dainty little needs to be hand-washed, line-dried, and starched and pressed church jacket would be Gracie's.
Gracie got to meet Grandmuvver just once. Charles Dickens had it right. "It is not a slight thing when those so fresh from God love us." It is not a slight thing when those so near to God love us, too. Grandmuvver loved us well.
 With great trepidation I spread the hankies before me, scissors in hand.Making the first cut is always the most difficult and since I never could find the instructions for making the little jacket, I was on my own. First, I drew the pattern pieces for the jacket on batiste, took a deep breath and sliced into the first hankie. Each piece was pinned to the batiste where I could see the pattern lines. The little piece running diagonally down the middle is a scrap of embroidery from the dress that Gracie's cousin wore in Gracie's mama's wedding.
I snipped and pinned, unpinned, and re-pinned until things began to take shape. These are the two sleeves ready to be stitched. A spool of thread, a needle and a long winter evening make for some good  handwork time.
Some lace from Gracie's mama's wedding gown, a snippet from a baptism outfit, a flower from Grandmuvver's sewing box and everything fell into place.
Once all of the piecing had been finished, the sleeves, front and back cut out, batiste lining cut as well...
...the sewing began.
The pattern is Robin's Little Jacket by Children's Corner.
All done. Hand washed, line-dried, steam pressed and spray starched.
Ready for little Gracie.
Grandmuvver loved this little baby.
Now we can wrap her up in her own little piece of
Grandmuvver love.


  1. The coat alone is beautiful...the sentiment behind it makes it priceless. What a gorgeous tribute! She will always be wrapped in love.

    1. What a sweet comment, Nichole. Thank you so much.

  2. Oh my gosh, my heart was racing while I was reading about you slicing in to the hankies. What a treasure!!!

    1. All of the hankies were spread across the counter in my kitchen. I'd pick up the scissors, pace around, study the shape again, pace a little more. Finally...snip! And we were on the way. Thanks for reading and commenting.