Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hanky Primer #2: More Monogrammed Hankies

Photos are copyrighted and may not be used without my permission!
I am continuing from the previous post--it got so large I needed to break it up.  Why am I doing this?  Because when I first got interested in hankies, I couldn't find anything on embroidered hankies.   There are books on print hankies, but nothing to give you an idea of what is out there.

Monogrammed hankies require that you discern between machine made newer hankies, recent imported hankies (just look at the ones on Ebay for sale from China), and low quality hankies.

The finest quality hankies are always on a handkerchief lawn fabric--basically this is a very thin linen fabric.  Sometimes it is a cotton fabric.  There are hankies from the 50's & 60's, I think by Desco, that are a cotton poly blend.  Normally I would say, "Pass", but actually, if you use a hanky, this blend hanky is kinder to a very sore nose.  Tuck a hanky in your purse or wallet for emergencies, it takes up less room than a pack of tissue, doesn't get tattered and is a lifesaver when you need one!  Many have high quality embroidery, so that is what I judge them on.  They have a softer feel to them, and it smells different when you are ironing it.  It is always easy to tell the differnce by the smell!

I attended a wedding last weekend, and I could see why grandma tucked a hanky in her would have been handy...except can you imagine the fun my nephews and nieces would have if they saw me do that!

There a photos on the internet of hankies used on bouquets in a wedding.  Search on brides bouquet wedding hanky, you get a bunch of photo's on Google. I think Martha Stewart wrote about this somewhere.  Use the hanky wrapped around a bouquet with ribbon. I'll have to do one so I'm not "stealing" anyone's photo's.  Check here, I'll add it later.

I wrote Hanky Primer #1 HERE.  There will be a Primer #3 in the future.   The whole hanky collecting thing got started for me when I purchased an antique hanky box.  It is in my guest room.  What do you put in an antique hanky box if not hankies?   Imagine spending the night and opening up the box and finding all these wonderful treasures to look at!

 Plain and Simple Monograms
There are alot of monogrammed hankies that have a wonderful script monogram, but not a bunch of fussy embroidery.  This may be a consideration for a gift for a bride.   When considering a hanky for a gift, try to get the first  initial.  Most women would use a hanky with their first name initial, but if you're getting a hanky for a male, use the inital of his last name.

Great monogram--a little fun with the flowers--a great French style script complete with the flowers.

This is a great hanky.  Very simple.  It is by Marghab in their Simplicity Pattern

One of my favorite plain hankies.  The workmanship is amazing.

This hanky has a smaller monogram on it.  The edge is unusual, they are usually a rolled hand-stitched hem.

Is this fun or what!   There are little dolphin heads on this monogram.

Purchased at the same time as the previous hanky, this was a cute hanky!

Not super-plain, but all the embroidery is associated with the monogram, very French in style.

Can you see the quality of this hanky?  The drawnwork, the double monogram, simple elegant, wonderful!
The Skinny Monogram
I put these in a category by themselves.  They are a good design for a gift if someone doesn't like things too fussy.  A good choice after the plain monogram.
Hmmm.  When I see too much grey, I wonder:  Imported Hanky?  It's sort of skimpy, even though it's nicely embroidered.

Test:  This is a machine-made hanky.   Remember to turn it over if you think it may be--and look for that bobbin thread.

This is a winner in the category.  A  narrow N on openwork  surrounded by fine embroidery.  

I like the script embroidery of this L.   Just a bit of flair to "jazz it up".

The embroidery is wonderful--a double monogrm filled with embroidery on a background spray of flowers.
I love the  "relaxed look" of this R.
Hankies with Embroidery on One Side
These tall skinny letters are intriguing to me.  I think that they are in a class by themselves.  They are a distinct style.  Do you suppose one person in Madeira made all 3?
The nodding applique flower is really pretty.  Unusual too.
The open cutwork making up the "D" is very nice.

Great quality.  The rosebuds are very unusual!

Floral Letter Hankies
This is a distinct category--there are alot of hankies where the letters are out of flowers.  Some of them are petitpoint, others crewel flowers.
I put this in the simple category--because it's just an A monogram--no extra embroidery.  It was a quality hanky with a wide drawnwork hem.  These tend to be Victorian.  This one is AWESOME!

Not as fine a quality as the previous hanky, but still a nicely done hanky on a beautiful linen lawn hanky with a ribbon border woven in the fabric.

This M is a shadowwork M, with embroidery on top.  It's one of my favorite in this category (ok, so I have lots of favorites)
Not sure what category to put this in, it is a simple E, but has petitpoint flowers around it.

A Frnch style script monogram, with petitpoint flowers around it.
Testing:  Can you tell that this is a machine-made  hanky?  I should have photographed the back for you--that's where you can really tell.  A hand-embroidered hanky will not have a second thread which comes from a bobbin--and it's usually white, by the way.  Notice how the stitching isn't exact on the flowers.  Looks a little sloppy even though the overall effect is pleasing.

Silk Embroidered Hankies
It seems like years ago these were super expensive.  Now you can find them on eBay for really reasonable prices.  I tend to sell them as wedding hankies.  They are nice because they tend to be a cream color rather than a stark white, matching cream wedding dresses.  I assume silk hankies are from Asia, either Japan or China.
I can't believe I sold this hanky.  It's the same design on both sides.  That is quite a feat if you're embroidering hankies. 

A monogram hanky.  I don't think this is a very high quality hanky, looks machine stitched,
except the edge has sloppy hand-stitching.  

Silk hanky, more typical design that you find vs. the first one shown.  Slightly higher quality than the last one, even has some drawnwork on it.

Silk monogrammed hanky.  It is a higher quality than the 2 previous.  
You find this type of hanky more often on  eBay.
It's a nice monogram, ranges in price depending on the dealer.
Men's Monogrammed Hankies
I don't really find that many men's hankies.  I suspect that is because they were used and worn out!  I get alot of requests for hankies for men's tux pockets in weddings.  Really tough to find appropriate ones though.
A very casual hanky with the color, but a nice large hanky with a triple monogram

Men's monograms tend to be plainer, more masculine.

A monogram in a square is pretty common in a man's hanky.

Almost the same as the previous hanky, but look closely, it is different.

Another monogram in a square "D"

A monogram in a square.
Men's hankies are great even for women--if you like to carry a hanky for use in your purse!

Personalized Name Hankies
Don't give up, you can find personalized hankies if you are looking for them.  Here is a selection...some are fun, definitely Grandma's old-fashioned names.

A wonderful punchwork hanky someone has personalized.

"Amanda".  This was probably done by an individual.  It is well done, but it's not the heavy French script .

"Anne"  is a really fine monogram.  It's got the heavy padded satin stitch and multiple
colors of embroidery.  The flowers are forget-me-nots, which are very common on Madeira hankies.
They are always well done.  The branches are pretty skimpy though.

"Elsie"   This is not a Madeira hanky.  I don't really know where it is made.  I have had hankies like this made in Switzerland,  Hong Kong, Ireland and China.
This was a wonderful Victorian hanky.  It is huge--I tend to see what you would call Victorian whitework on
larger hankies, I think they're from England or Ireland.

"Eleanor" - fabulous quality, superfine linen.  Madeira.

"Gertrude" had a wonderful hanky!

"Gladys" - Simple, with a flair at the bottom

Sort of unusual to see the last initial "Joan M."

"Katherine".  This went to someone with a new baby "Katherine".  It falls into my "Fabulous" category.

"Lillian"  Notice the extra L's worked into the design.  Wonderful.  It has some  grey pencil.  Japan?  The linen is great, and the L is a fine French script.  I wouldn't pass this up because of the grey pencil.  

Can you tell the superfine quality of this linen?  It isn't as heavy of a monogram as the "Katherine" hanky, but it's a fabulous hanky for "Margaret".

"Mary" has a wonderful hanky.   A hint of grey from the pattern.
Monogrammed Hankies with Lace or Cutwork
These hankies tend to be from Brussels if they have lace.  Cutwork is a Madeira trait often used.  Some others are from Ireland or England.

A small monogram with an extremely fine drawnwork lace edge.

Looks like this is a Madeira Hanky.  V's are hard to find even though I've shown quite a few.

This isn't cutwork, this is eyelit work, wanted to show you the difference.

This has cutwork scrolls

More cutwork scrolls, wonderful script B, with applique rosebuds.

Monogram F, a smaller monogram, with cutwork leaves in the forget-me-not flower embroidery.
I don't think this is a Madeira hanky.  Looks more like an Irish or Belgium hanky.

I usually think Swiss when I see this type of openwork on the basket.
You really don't see it much on Madeira hankies.

Very well done embroidery and cutwork.  It's a small monogram.

Original Brussels hanky in box.   Notice the openwork / lace bottom.  Look closely
at the embroidery.  Can you tell the difference between this one and the ones from Madeira?
This has the Burmel tag showing it is made in Madeira.

Another  hanky like the Burmel hanky above, Madeira.
The only "O" hanky I've ever seen!  Olivia?

Cutwork on the border.  Madeira.

Lace border hanky.  Shadowwork.  Madiera?  HMM.  Ma
kes me wonder if someone added the lace?  Very professionally done if they did.

Madiera hanky with cutwork on the bow.

Very unusual hanky!  Love it.  I've never seen a design similar to this.

Cutwork Letter

Cutwork Letter
OK, So we've viewed alot of hankies here.  I want to finish up sharing a few that didn't seem to fall in the other categories.

All the Rest!

I didn't put these in any of the previous categories, but want to give you lots to look at.   Enjoy.  Don't forget to click on a hanky to view the larger photo.

This hanky looks like it is on cotton. The fabric is thicker.  Can you tell by the photo?  It's important because alot of eBay sellers can't tell the difference. In fact, sometimes I can't.  A linen lawn fabric is very thin and delicate.
I really liked the colors in this one,  the French style monogram gets me every time.  

Great quality Madeira Hanky.  Very clean crisp design.

Desco tag says Linen Madeira.  Great cutwork.

You have to love those script monograms.  They're the same as the fancy French sheets, only a fraction of the price!

A wonderful Victorian Hanky.  This is probably an Appenzell hanky (Swiss).  It is stunning! 
Don't you love the way the "H" is part of the bow?  I don't think this is Madeira, could be Irish.
Has a double monogram, two colors, plus some shadowwork.
A Kimball label shows Madeira.  This is a very simple design with the bow and sprig.  A very elaborate script K

Very simple classic "C"
These wonderful nodding flowers got to me.  The label says ???? wish I could read it.  It has that grey pencil
underneath, but the flowers are so cute, who could resist?
Unusual Red Embroidery.  I save these for xmas.

Great M! surrounded by embroidery
Sort of modest embroidery, love the circular design.

Pink and Grey again, wonder who did this?

This is a Madeira hanky with a label showing Poly content.  Remember what I said about poly.  It's softer on your nose.  However,
it can ball up as it ages.  The quality of the embroidery is high.
Wow!  I totally love this hanky design and color!  Can you imagine the hours it took to make this?
A simple design.  Do I see some grey under those dots?
Gee, I wish I could read the writing.  The style indicates Madeira.  A great hanky.
Love the N with shadowwork and heavy embroidered satin stitch.

An interesting stylized C with intricate flowers in 3 colors.

Test:  This hanky says Made in Hong Kong.  When you look at it you realize it is machine made.
Another hard to find letter "I".  The design is a bit unusual.  Definitely Madeira.
Appenzell Hanky.  Design all around.  Wonderful.
This hanky embodies everything I love about a Madeira hanky.  The linen is wonderful, has sort of a translucent sheen to the fabric.  The monogram is super crisp, as is the embroidery.
Another M Madeira.  Great pink hanky!
Some greyness underneath, drawnwork.  I really love the design.

This design has the W at the top, with more design below.  Beautiful!

Another fantastic N.  I'm a sucker for a design with a bow.
I am not done.  There is more to write:  floral embroidered hankies, hankie holders, boxes, etc.

You can find me from time to time selling antique linens on Ebay: antique-monograms-- I need to share some of my fabulous finds, I don't have room for more!

Here are the links to all of my hanky articles:
Hanky Primer #1 Monogrammed Hankies
Hanky Primer #2 More Monogrammed Hankies
Hanky Primer #3 Embroidered & Petitpoint Hankies
Hanky Primer #4 Appenzell & Appenzell Style Hankies

Photos are copyrighted by myself and may not be used for your book without my permission!


  1. Hankys are a lost art. Why do we lose such beautiful things in our modern world? My dear Mother would never have gone out in public with out a beautiful, cleaned, pressed hanky, stuffed in her sleeve. Thanks for sharing so many beautiful examples. Richard from My Old Historic House.

  2. Richard, your mother was a class act. I love tucking a hanky in her sleeve!

    Awesome blog by the way. Love the article on your library.

  3. Hi dear I am longing to do the machine embroidery on hankies. I would love to purchase the designs. Thanks Daisy