2 Years and 80 Vintage Hankies Later, We Now Have a Curtain

The closet doors in my house are the bane of my existence. They are frightfully heavy track door models that refuse to stay on their tracks, get stuck, and make us all pull our hair out in frustration. These doors have been the source of much salty language overheard in our house, I assure you. Honestly, is closet door technology really so difficult?

The doors in my daughter’s room were probably the worst. I don’t think she could even get into her closet for about 2 years, they were so badly stuck. In desperation, I had my husband take the darn things off for once and for all, and promised her I would replace them with some lovely vintage hankie curtains like the ones I always drool over on Pinterest.

It took rather a long time to get enough handkerchiefs to cover the thing, but I persevered. Much more difficult was finding the time to get the curtain actually sewn up – sadly, the days when I would sew for hours upon end, everyday and into the night have disappeared into the ether.

My daughter, who is ten and just starting to show the first signs of pre-teen snark, started to make little comments about the curtain, such as asking innocently whether it would be done before or after she leaves for college.

Luckily for her, I woke up the other day with a distinct itch to do something crafty, and decided it was now or never: this curtain was getting done come hell or high water.

Or kitties, as it turned out. My two fur babies were delighted with me for carefully laying out rows of vintage hankies for them to scamper about and wrestle upon.


Ahhhh….so soft! I think I shall take a nap here.

My littlest kitty, the 3-month old Nuka, thinks that everything in the entire world must be attacked and conquered; in particular, long, flowy bits of delicate vintage hankies which clearly pose a threat to the health and well being of kittenkind.



Despite the over-enthusiastic attentions of my feline residents, I did manage to get the hankies stitched together.  Of the roughly 40-50 sewing machines I own, I chose my trusty 1951 Singer 15 for the job. Totally reliable, easy to thread and wind the bobbin, produces a nice stitch, and is a pleasure to listen to as she sews up a storm.


Isn’t she lovely? I paid $20 for her at an auction. And yes, that is a centennial badge you see on her!

I really didn’t have any sort of a plan for this, just some rough idea of how big it should be. I just kept sewing hankies together until I had the dimensions I needed, which is why it looks a little wonky. If I took the time to plan it out properly, I can guarantee you I would never have finished it. Who has the time for carefully planned sewing projects?


All stitched up, I then needed to decide whether or not to line it, and if so, with what: an old sheet, fabric, a vintage tablecloth? While I pondered, I pressed it, which sounds like a simple task, except that Nuka (aka: Chompy) thought that the dangling iron cord was an especially large mouse tail that needed to be attacked with much vigor. Scared she was going to bite through the cord and electrocute herself, I had to take many breaks to banish her from the room.

I finally opted not to have a lining. The thought of hemming yards and yards of tissue thin hankie fabric did not excite me either. I decided to pull out my vintage White Super Lock 503 serger (which really is not *that* old, 1980s maybe, but by serger standards, it’s ancient) and did a narrow overlock around the whole thing. I do have modern sergers – yes, plural – but I thought I should keep on with the vintage theme

(Added detail for fellow sewing nerds: I wanted to do a rolled hem, but to do so on a White Super Lock 503 is not just a matter of removing the stitch finger, as you would on a modern serger. Instead, you need to change the stitch plate. Alas, I got this machine for $10 at auction, and it did not come with the accessory box, inside which one would find the rolled hem stitch plate. Phooey.)


Isn’t she cute? I just love her blue and cream coloring. Plus, of my 4 sergers, she’s the easiest to thread.

Making this a truly quick and dirty project, I just folded down the top about 3 inches, stitched a line down it to create a casing, and threw it up on a tension rod.

And there we have it! Two years of collecting the 80+ hankies involved, plus about two days of sewing, and my daughter finally has something to cover up her closet. She is thrilled, and I no longer feel like a bad mother for putting this off for so long!


It goes nicely with her vintage fan collection, don’t you think?