I bet most of you have got a few lace cotton handkerchiefs in your drawer. Well, like everything else at the moment, what goes around comes around.

Handkerchiefs have been part of our life and culture for thousands of years, an indispensable part of any stylish woman’s wardrobe.

But that was before the convenience of throwing away tissues in the 1940s. Mum’s would keep them handy in their aprons for wiping dirty faces, they were popular as a gift for Grandma or the teacher at Christmas.

They were embroidered, appliquéd, trimmed with lace, initialled, hand stitches, colourfully printed, some of which are becoming quite a collectable item. You only have to go onto Etsy and tap in Vintage Handkerchiefs to find a large number listed with prices starting from £8.50 – £15.00 on Etsy. 

Collectors and crafters will be the one’s willing to fork out on antique handkerchiefs but it very much depends on the hanky in question – age, condition, type all factor in.

Even a book ‘The Printed Square Vintage Handkerchief Patterns for Fashion and Design’ by Nicky Albrechtsen has been printed which has over 200 beautifully designed handkerchiefs selected to reflect the magnificent array of printed designs that emerged between the 1920s–1950s.

Vintage handkerchiefs have been a source of inspiration for many of the world’s most exciting brands. This volume written by a vintage textiles expert, will appeal to collectors of textiles, fashion lovers and designers, and provide a visual feast for anyone with a passion for pattern.

The book comes complete with a short history of the subject, an analysis of the fabrics used, a detailing of the design characteristics of each decade, information on where to find and collect, and advice on conservation, storage and use. Organized by colour, this is a fresh and beautiful book for fashion professionals, designers, and a new generation in search of old chic in new chic forms.

You could also save your choicest vintage hankies for friends who have lost someone in their life. It would signify your sincere empathy for one of life’s most profound losses.

Another reason to use and save handkerchiefs is to help save the planet. An estimated 3,000 tons of tissue and paper are deposited in landfills on a regular basis. It takes something like 17 trees to make one ton of paper products. If everyone quit using tissues, imagine the difference we could make in the environment.

A website named Wonderful DIY has a very interesting article on How to Repurpose Old Handkerchiefs which includes an Angel Ornament for Christmas to a framed piece of art.

Source: Etsy, Amazon, Wonderfuldiy,


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I am a mum and wife to a lovely caring family. I’ve suffered with chronic back pain for over 30 years and started writing my first blog in 2007 which covered back and chronic pain. Since then I have written many more blogs for myself and customers. I find it takes me away from my pain to another place. I love it so much I think it should be part of a recovery process after illness or surgery. I hope you enjoy reading through my blogs.

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