I have a collection of handkerchiefs from my maternal great-grandmothers, grandmother, and great aunt. One of the gifts made for Christmas was a quilt from these handkerchiefs for my mother. I originally had lofty ideas of how beautiful this would be, but in reality, the hankies came in all colors and sizes. Not to mention, I was making the last stitches on the binding as my mother entered my home on Christmas Eve. Alas, a quilt was made, the love stitched throughout. In my haste and lack of battery-charging, few photos were taken at the end of the process.
Due to the delicate nature of the handkerchiefs (most of which are much older than me), I backed them with Wonder-Under and the comparable alternative for which I don’t have a name but was all I could find when I made a mad dash back to the fabric store for more, only to find they were out of the W-U.
I laid out the kerchiefs in the order they fit best within the dimensions of the quilt — 45″x60″. It’s a crib size quilt, but perfect for a lap quilt, too. The smartest thing I did was take this photo. I could refer to it later when the kids helped with arranging the kerchiefs they way they thought they should be arranged. No, not very helpful.
I then ironed the hankies onto the front piece, a nice soft flannel. This is why Wonder-Under is so wonderful. It’s just an adhesive interfacing to hold your applique in place until it’s sewn; it also helps prevent fraying.
Once everything’s ironed into place, I took time to sew around all the kerchief edges and once around the middle to make sure it is held in place. For sake of time, I didn’t want to have to do a lot of quilting, so this at least gave it more of a quilted appearance.
Time to layer. The flannel I chose for the front was also used for the back, except with the wrong side out. The wrong side is a solid beige, unlike the front that has a faint petite floral pattern (which unfortunately mostly faded in the wash). The middle layer is natural cotton batting, crib size. I pinned all three layers and trimmed the edges to make attaching the binding easier later.
I used the machine to quilt. Obviously, I was in a time crunch and honestly have not taken the time to hand-quilt anything as of yet. Using a wavy stitch on the machine I just ran through the quilt between all the handkerchiefs, starting from the middle and working my way out. In my haste, I made mistakes and had a couple of gathers, but for this casual quilt, I think it will be fine — much like the purchased mocha-colored binding. You can make your own binding, to be sure, but for sake of time and considering it was on sale for 30% off, it couldn’t be beat.
And neither could the expression on my mother’s face, knowing she would love the quilt even more than me.
The other halves of the handkerchiefs are saved, not to worry. I promised my daughter I could make one for her someday, too. As a finishing touch to the above quilt, I added a couple of embellishments. One is a strip of ribbon that says “family ties,” which I knotted on either side and hand-sewed it into place toward the top. At the bottom I made a “homemade” tag and sewed it into the binding. Sometimes these little touches add even more personality. Personality is something women in my family definitely have.