Children’s Hankies

UPDATE–see update at the end of this post.childrens hankies L all 10-14-2011 12-32-00 AM
“He had no little handkerchief to wipe his little nose.”  Rev. R.H. Barham

And I surely don’t want that to be said of my granddaughter, Laurel.  The poor child has allergies and without warning, her  little freckled nose can run amuk. Having a handkerchief in her pocket gives a measure of confidence, now that she is, in fact, seven years old.  She does NOT like to be embarrassed.

This week, Laurel sang the national anthem with the Orlando Symphony, along with several other children.  Each represented a school or group and was invited to sing at a special performance for children.

And what does this have to do with handkerchiefs? She choose to wear her smocked Liberty of London sundress.  The handkerchief above was tucked in the smocked pocket and coordinated nicely.




This plain white 8″ linen square was lying idle in my handkerchief collection.  With its sweet variegated purple crocheted edge, it seemed to fill the bill, though I like to add a monogram whenever possible.

I’ve always been intrigued by children’s handkerchiefs.  How did any survive the rough and tumble life in a child’s pocket?  How many were just lost? And all  that heavy laundering!  In an earlier post about handkerchiefs, I recalled a childhood friend with whom I rode my bike to school each morning.  Daily, his mother’s parting words were “Curtis, do you have a clean handkerchief?”  Daily, his parting words were, “Yes, Mama,” and off to school we rode.

Handkerchiefs have fallen out of favor with today’s children and I wonder why.  No matter that the need for a nose wipe can arise at any moment–no child carries a box of Kleenex around.


ballet hankie


Some time ago, I made this hanky for Laurel to keep in her ballet bag.  Like the playful kitties below, it, too, is the standard 8″ square.  The cats are printed on this sturdy, machine hemmed fabric.  I can just imagine a little girl smiling as she slipped this in her pocket


childrens hankies kitty


Given the run of her nose, I hope to make more.  With less than a yard of edging and an 8-9″ scrap of linen or batiste, the little project is quick, useful and so much prettier than a purse pack of tissue.

I’d really like to see pictures of any children’s handkerchiefs you have collected or made.

Don’t you just love this quote?  I’ve always appreciated Ambrose Pierce’s wit.

“Handkerchief,” n. A small square of silk or linen, used in various ignoble offices about the face and especially serviceable at funerals to conceal the lack of tears. The handkerchief is of recent invention; our ancestors knew nothing of it and entrusted its duties to the sleeve.” Ambrose Pierce

This just came in from Jenny:
I also love hankies for children.  Especially when in bed because they don’t shred to bits.  A few years ago, when I went looking for hankies, all  could find were plain white ones at Wal-Mart.


childrens hankies jj

 Since then, I’ve bought nearly every hankie that I’ve come across in thrift stores and such! 😉 But I haven’t accumulated many  that are specifically geared for children (and none are embroidered).  The clown balloons and the hearts are the only ones.

The second picture is of a hankie that my Mother (or maybe Grandmother?) gave me when I was very young and I have carried it with me more or less ever since.  I thought I had lost it when I was pregnant with my last child, and I was DEVASTATED.  But then I found it in my winter coat pocket again the next cold season.


childrens hankies jj day with


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