made with love: vintage hankie pillow


My underwear drawer has become overrun vintage hankies. I have tons. And of course, I can’t bear to use them in the manner in which they were intended. Blow my nose on that precious bit of 70 year old textile heaven? No can do. So I’ve been slowly turning my stash into little boudoir pillows, something much more dignified than ye old snot rag.

CLICK HERE for the full project instructions after the jump!


What you’ll need:

– 2 same sized hankies

– either a bag of stuffing or an appropriately sized pillow insert.

– matching thread

1. Launder and press your hankies.


2. Match them up wrong sides together and topstitch along the edges using a ½” seam allowance. Leave 3” open at corner for stuffing.


3. Stuff your pillow till it’s almost bursting at the seams, as stuffing tends to lump if it isn’t packed in very tightly to start with.


4. Sew up your open corner and secure with a backstitch.


5. I’ve always had a soft spot for kitschy souvenir map prints, so it’s an added bonus to take that hankie out of the drawer and show off some hometown pride. New Hampshire represent!

  1. amanda says:

    i’ve been collecting hankies ever since i saw an entire bedroom set done with them at urban cottage in duck, nc. my dream is to finish my duvet cover! i’d love to have a quilt in all souvenir hankies.

  2. JC says:

    Another genius idea, Amy! I need to start printing out your columns and sticking them on my fridge, to remind myself to get into gear on your amazing projects!

  3. Lindsay says:

    Lovely. I’ve done a similar thing with vintage dish towels that my great grandmother embroidered. I love Amanda’s idea for a quilt of hankies.

  4. My ring bearer carried a pillow made of vintage hankies at my wedding. My initials were embroidered in one corner with plenty of room left for future brides to add there’s.

  5. Vantiani says:

    Oh I have been making these for years and how addicted it is to find a perfect match of hankies just to make a pillow!

  6. My mom has a hankie just like this from her home state Minnesota. I should make this for her!

  7. Marlene says:

    WOW! A beautiful fabric featuring my country, how exciting! Where could I find these hankies?

  8. Petra says:

    I like it a lot! I might even consider starting to collect hankies just for this sole purpose ;)

  9. nath says:

    oooh, yes! and Amanda’s idea is pretty rad as well. i recently collected a few children’s ones with the idea of using them for patchwork..

  10. Melody Sage says:

    I love this idea! I have a whole drawer of my dresser devoted to vintage hankies and scarves I never wear.

  11. Kim says:

    This is such a genius idea.

  12. I have tons of those hankies and scarves. I bet those small bare ikea pillows would work great as well.

  13. I *just* made a pillow on Sunday with my little ol’ vintage NJ hankie!! Though I didn’t have a complementary scallop edged one for the back so I had to improvise. And “novice sewer” and “improvise” should never be in the same sentence together. :-)

  14. Elena says:

    Oh please, where did you get that hankie? I’m Cuban and would love to have that very one. Thank you!

  15. Erika says:

    In the movie Julie & Julia, Julie and her husband framed their respective state hankies above the bed, indicating whose side was whose!
    Such a fun idea!

  16. amy m. says:

    I got the cuban hankie at my local thrift shop for 25 cents.

    Ebay has a whole section devoted to vintage state souvenir hankies, though.

    Isn’t the internet wonderful?

  17. Megan says:

    I hear you i have also done a similar thing. Your look fantastic!

  18. definitely the new rage in pillows if there ever was one:)

  19. clo says:

    iiii ! j’ai le même (mais sur le japon) et dire que je n’avait pas pensé à en faire un tiny coussin !
    malheureusement, je n’ai pas les jolies bordures festonnées…

  20. oh!! really a so beautiful hankie ,i like it too much and going to order like’s different.

  21. I LOVE this project! I have an old 45’s (records) box stuffed neatly with a small collection of these bad boys. Considering I am redecorating my bedroom, this is perfect. Thanks!

  22. Shelley says:

    I love doing this! I’ve made several, in the past & given them as gifts. It’s a great gift & a great way to use a product that no longer gets much use in it’s original form! Thanks for posting.

  23. bridget212323 says:

    What a beautiful pillow. Thanks so much for posting. I’m currently hunting vintage scarves to make throw pillows for my new apt this will come in handy!

  24. manette says:

    Love what you have done. I have a collection of vintage hankies and wasn’t sure what to do with them. Grea idea.

  25. Those are super cute! I haven’t seen hankies as lovely as that in my local thrift store but I might make something similar out of old scarfs…

  26. Miss Jess says:

    Beautiful! I need to try this with a bunch of my old hankies :)

  27. ysa says:

    nice hanky ~ don’t think i could found these kind of hankies in m’sia .


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