The good news is that I get to use vintage hankies in some of my hanky rag quilts. The bad news is using vintage hankies in some of my hanky quilts. I experienced the bad news first hand this weekend when finishing a lovely lavender vintage hanky quilt.
I always check the hankies for weak areas or holes and I don't use those since I know they won't stand up to the washings but in this quilt I thought I had chosen the right hankies. It wasn't until I took it from the dryer that I saw the tears.
I wasn't sure what to do. Could I simply hand sew the tears with thread? No, that would have made it look bad and and it still would be weak all around the mend.
I thought maybe I could remove the whole square but once you wash the quilt it is VERY hard to take a square out and then put it back in. It looks terrible. The nice way the fluff looks after being washed and dried will be affected if you take a square out and try to put it back in. I may have tried it if the square was on the edge but this square was surrounded by other hankies so that wasn't an option.
The only thing left to do was to remove the hanky and put a new one in it's place. Luckily this hanky had a lace edge so removing it wasn't that hard. I had to remove all the stitches in the X first and then cut the lace. I was lucky that I had a few extra hankies to choose from for the replacement. The one I chose was much larger than the square so I had cut it and make a new size.
I never cut hankies! I always leave them the original size. When snipping the seams on vintage hanky quilts, I try to cut as minimally as possible, if at all, into the hanky. This was hard for me to cut up a beautiful hanky but that's what I did. I cut two of the sides of the hanky then sewed a very small hem edge. Then I hand sewed the hanky in place with a blind stitch. The end result turned out well enough for me to be happy.
Here is the hanky quilt after I fixed the torn square. Can you tell which square I fixed?
I made another hanky quilt recently and while I fixed all the small holes before quilting, I found several more after washing and drying...Again! I was heartbroken!!! That is a hazard when making these delicate creations. This time my only recourse was to take the whole square out and replace it with a brand new hanky square. I had to recut the new seams but I am happy to report, you could barely tell which square I fixed.