Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Weekend Vintage Finds

This last weekend I got in a little time at the antique stores. I usually hunt for china, but this time I found a bunch of cute hankies and napkins. Such cute embroidery!

As far as I can tell, the hankies are early to mid 20th century. I think the tea cup napkins are more recent, but who knows.

I also found a thimble that fits perfect and some cute pattern weights, shaped like a sewing machine and iron. In love!

This hankie is cotton with - I think - cotton floss embroidery. It was marked "silk" but it doesn't feel like silk. The thread for the embroidery is ombre, so the purple fades in and out along the thread, and so does the green used for the leaves. The border is finished in a scallop.

This hankie is cotton on cotton, all white. The embroidery is lovely and fine, though it's not the best example of whitework I have seen. If you look up close, you can easily see black pen that was used to mark the design before stitching. Also, the back side shows a lot of loose thread. I bought it for the shape, though. I thought the shape was very interesting. Actually I'm surprised at the general messiness of it, since the actual embroidery is done quite nicely.

You can see the black pen used to mark out the design.

The back side.

I think this hankie is the most nicely done of the three. It too is cotton. It has a large, asymmetrical motif in one corner and the other three have small floral designs. The embroidery has some interesting aspects. It shows laddered openwork, pulled thread work (in the large leaves) and some shaded, or more opaque, areas. At first I thought these opaque areas were a second layer of fabric, appliqued, but at a closer look, you can see stitching on the wrong side, in thicker thread, that shades the areas. The hem is very plain, but neatly done.

Stitching on the wrong side that makes the right side look shaded.
The right side.

Wrong side (see flowers).

Right side (flowers).

Nice pulled thread work on the leaves. The lower leaf has a stitched
outline that knots a few warps (or wefts) at a time, creating a
space between each knot, making the holes.

These napkins are soooo cute! There are two of them. Blue on cream cotton. Such a cute idea for tea time! Wouldn't it be cute to embroider some more, each with a different teacup? I like that these are very casual and kinda folksy :)


  1. When I was little I remember my mom had scores of those cute vintage hankies...that got used...and are now nomore. =/ Love the whitework.

    1. I always want to carry a hankie, but I don't think I could ever bring myself to use one as pretty as these... Which may be why they survived this long...