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Project

Handkerchief Nursery Pillow

Introduction

Use one hankie and a piece of cotton fabric to sew a decorative cover for a baby's room.

Materials

  • Two 7-inch-square pieces of white cotton broadcloth
  • 7-inch square of polyester fill
  • One 10-inch-square plain hankie or cotton broadcloth
  • One 8-inch-square hankie

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Stitch the two 7-inch cotton squares together on three sides, and turn inside out. Slip polyester fill into pouch, then tuck raw edges of opening under, and stitch to close.

  2. Step 2

    For the cover, cut the 10-inch-square hankie in half, pin a 1/2-inch hem on each rectangle, and sew. To make an envelope opening on the back, pin one rectangle on the hankie, right sides facing with the hem in the center. Sew around outer edges. Lay the second rectangle on the other half of the hankie, and stitch in place. (The rectangles will overlap a bit in the center.) Turn inside out, and slip pillow in through opening in the back.

Source
Martha Stewart Baby, Volume 7 2003

Reviews (44)

  • bamababe162 3 Jun, 2013

    I do have pillows made from a crocheted table cloth my grandmother made. It was sacrificed for pillows because it had deteriorated over time, leaving more holes than table cloth. The pillows were made & the remnants of the tablecloth were sewn to the top. A little more embellishment was added & they are currently stored carefully away. The shame is that the table cloth ever was allowed to deteriorate to that sad condition.

  • bamababe162 3 Jun, 2013

    Hi, angeltea9, if you plan on using so many hankies, you really should check out Ebay. They have large lots of the reproductions (40 or more) priced very reasonably. They are usually listed as "vintage style" hankies. To preserve heirlooms & for cost effectiveness, this is likely your best bet. I have seen a gorgeous table cloth made from these reproductions. If it had fit my table, it would have gone home with me.

  • bamababe162 3 Jun, 2013

    Hi, angeltea9, if you plan on using so many hankies, you really should check out Ebay. They have large lots of the reproductions (40 or more) priced very reasonably. They are usually listed as "vintage style" hankies. To preserve heirlooms & for cost effectiveness, this is likely your best bet. I have seen a gorgeous table cloth made from these reproductions. If it had fit my table, it would have gone home with me.

  • bamababe162 31 May, 2013

    I am very upset that you'd use these heirlooms in this way. Children's hankies rarely survived as they were lost or roughly treated by the kids using them. I saw another comment about framing them that makes more sense. If you must use hankies, there are Chinese reproductions you can buy in large lots off internet auction sites. Please leave the vintage ones as you find them. Some of us love them as they are & have a respect for the era when ladies carried them.

  • lotsokittycats 20 May, 2013

    I also agree with jilliedillie and not only have I stopped counting how many times I have complained about how vague, & sometimes incomplete, Martha's instructions are, but I've literally stopped complaining at all as it appears NO ONE IS LISTENING OR CARES WHATSOEVER ABOUT WHAT WE THINK! To be fair, however, it is extremely unlikely that Martha herself is writing these instructions (much less reading the reviews. That being said, she remains the editor of these tips and should be more involved

  • Angeltea9 13 May, 2011

    Love these.Gonna make Pillows,Quilt & Bed Skirt!They make great Curtains & Table runners & Doilies too.

  • carlamarieweir 4 Jun, 2008

    Basically use the hankie size to make a simple pillow, then tack or sew on the hankie on top of the pillow. That way you are not using the more fragile (possibly) hankie as the fabric, it's just embellishment. I have some hankies that were my grandma's, these will make great baby pillows SOME day

  • Antiragweed 3 Jun, 2008

    Yes, I have to agree with jilliedillie, the instructions are too vague for beginners. I also wanted to comment that her helpful hints are wondeful, but don't forget to add 1/4 inch seam allowances to your 7'' square base so that it fits over the pillow. Also, if you like this idea, look up better instructions online - and just take the idea and run with it!

    MARTHA: You need clear, precise instructions for your projects!

  • sandrahenson 3 Jun, 2008

    Why call them "nursery" pillows? I'm sure they would look nice wherever you'd care to put them!

  • jilliedillie 1 Jun, 2008

    ... that you can put on like a pillow sham. "Envelope fold" is not a good description. You are creating a backing that has a right side and a left side that OVERLAP in the center of the back. Then, like a pillow sham, you insert your pillow into your hankie cover, and because the back pieces overlap, it covers up the [filtered word] in the back. Good Luck all!

  • jilliedillie 1 Jun, 2008

    Then Step #2 is about creating a separate cover with the hankie that you can put on

  • jilliedillie 1 Jun, 2008

    Shame on Martha for these poorly worded instructions! Here's how: The Pillow How-To Step #1 is about making a basic pillow to use as the base for your hankie. The "7-inch square of polyester fill" is a ready-made pillow form you can buy at JoAnn's. So use 2 pieces of 7" square fabric of fabric (a certain color might look nice showing behind your hankie) and sew them together around 3 sides, insert your pillow form and then sew up the last side. (See my next comment)

  • roseinmiami 1 Jun, 2008

    I agree it would be nice to enlarge the photo. nevertheless, if i am using internet explorer, i find a magnifying glass bottm right of the screen, that i can use to enlarge the whole page. You loose resolution, but it is better than nothing.

  • sewingmom4 1 Jun, 2008

    I would love to be able to enlarge this picture! I love this idea but really need to see a closer view.

  • bkings123 31 May, 2008

    I agree about the picture enlarging. Some of us do by seeing. I am that type of person. I can read directions all day long and it's gets lost in translation.

  • lilysnana55 31 May, 2008

    What lovely ideas for vintage linens. As a girl, a frequent question was, "do you have a hankie?" My Nana always had one in her pocket or up her sleeve. Beautiful ones, usually seasonal. I have a couple of them and will either make the pillow sham idea for my guest bedroom or frame them for above the bed. Embroidered cases can be made into bed dolls with the open embroidered opening as the doll's skirt hem. Sweet.

  • lilysnana55 31 May, 2008

    What lovely ideas for vintage linens. As a girl, a frequent question was, "do you have a hankie?" My Nana always had one in her pocket or up her sleeve. Beautiful ones, usually seasonal. I have a couple of them and will either make the pillow sham idea for my guest bedroom or frame them for above the bed. Embroidered cases can be made into bed dolls with the open embroidered opening as the doll's skirt hem. Sweet.

  • MarjorieDade 31 May, 2008

    We need to be able to Click on the PHOTO and ENLARGE the image, and that should help with some confusion on the directions. We need to be able to actually see the image CLOSE UP. Can you add the enlargement capability please?

  • ccbolton 31 May, 2008

    Beautiful idea. Just make sure not to put it in the babies bed. Most pillow shams have this kind of closure so a quick look at the store should answer anyone's questions. It is fairly easy. The pieces overlap in the back to cover the opening without any type of button or zipper.

  • Mommakat 31 May, 2008

    I believe an "envelope opening" is just an opening in the back of the pillow case that is finished in which you can slip a pillow into, the envelope opening overlaps so it covers the pillow. Much like you would have when you buy a full set of sheets with matching pillow cases- two of those pillow cases will have an envelope opening. That way the pillow is inserted into the back of the case instead of the end.
    Do a web search and I think you will understand better what is meant.

  • gingerellie 31 May, 2008

    I'm not very experienced at sewing. I am having a terrible time trying to envision the envelope opening. I'm sorry, but I just don't understand it. Love the idea, though.

  • janice1029 31 May, 2008

    I'll try one more time, don't know what's happening here. Mom has Grams's hand emroidered and tatted pillowcases, which have outlived their useful life for a bed pillow. I think they could be incorporated nicely with this idea, either as a decorative pillow or in a frame.

  • janice1029 31 May, 2008

    (Part 2) Mom also has Gram's hand embroidered

  • janice1029 31 May, 2008

    Wonderful idea! I'm not exactly a novice, but also not a pro and I think the instructions are fine, as long as you think it through. I can't wait to try this with my Gram's handmade tatted hankies. My Mom also has some embroidered

  • jendutten 31 May, 2008

    There was also the great idea (I think I saw it on the Martha Stewart website) for using an old hankie on a ring-bearer's pillow, which would adapt well to this. It just entailed laying the hankie over a pre-made pillow and carefully stitching it in a few places so that it would be held in place, but the stitches wouldn't hurt the hankie and could be snipped for easy removal later on.

  • nightowl 31 May, 2008

    I have my Grandmothers hankies stuck in a box. What a great idea to give my grand daughters who are older now.

  • Gramma57 31 May, 2008

    I think this is a great idea. Putting them in frames even sounds better because it would preserve them and make a delightful Victorian setting. Love the pillow idea even for preteen or teen girls who like frilly things. Thanks! Gramma57

  • Gramma57 31 May, 2008

    I think this is a great idea. Putting them in frames even sounds better because it would preserve them and make a delightful Victorian setting. Love the pillow idea even for preteen or teen girls who like frilly things. Thanks! Gramma57

  • PhotoGal 31 May, 2008

    Agree....Photos are way too small for viewing detail.
    Love this website though,crafts are great. I've been making paper roses from one of Martha's projects, turned out great. I may try hankie project since I have some my mother-in-law left me. Best to make something to display them, or give as gifts to kids or grandkids as keepsakes, than storing them in a drawer. I agree with KATHC that sewing the hankie on broadcloth would preserve them better.

  • dottikins 31 May, 2008

    Casperboy, great idea! Framed hankies would also protect them from the wear of being in a pillow. Thanks!

  • casperboy 31 May, 2008

    I also have some old hankies from my mother. Saw some hankies put into frames just like beautiful prints, looked beautiful in groups.

  • dottikins 31 May, 2008

    Sometimes, I, too wonder about those reading these ideas. It seems that you don't read it through before making your comments about how unclear. It seems very clear to me. Thanks Martha, for a great idea to pass grandmother's hankies on to the next generation.

  • ztreeters 31 May, 2008

    Yes fizkid. More ideas for hankies would be appreciated. I have many with lovely crochette edging. All tucked away in a drawer. Would love to put them ti use.

  • kathc 31 May, 2008

    I don't think I would make the hankie pillow cover separately from the pillow. Old handkerchiefs are kind of flimsy and would tear easily. Personally, I would lay the hankies on top of the broadcloth pieces and sew them together, following the broadcloth pillow instructions rather than making an envelope out of the hankies. I think it would hold up better that way.

  • andiktener 31 May, 2008

    I love these craft ideas but the pictures are all WAY too small. Also, step by step pictures to go with the instructions would be appreciated.

  • zilrellim 31 May, 2008

    You don't cut the HANKIE in half, you cut the broadcloth in half. You pin the rectangles on opposite sides of the hankie, and then sew.

  • Anna_Marie 31 May, 2008

    We could all take a lesson from viewer "null" in the correct way to ask for more information. I do sew, and the instructions seem very clear to me. Sometimes if the instructions seem unclear to me, until I have the pieces in my hands, and take them one step at a time.

  • deealison 31 May, 2008

    For a sewing amateur like me, I would take this idea and just hand-sew a false front on a pillow. My Grandmother left me a lot of linen pieces and they would look beautiful on pillows. Hadn't thought of that before. I can always take them off in the future. What about snaps and snapping material on, or buttoning?

  • pelican66 31 May, 2008

    seems clear to me; and this would make a lovely keepsake for a bride using bridal hankies as well.
    there's instructions for turning bridal hankies into baby christening caps; why not into baby pillows?

  • KLR 31 May, 2008

    The instructions are not clear! Please include more pics and steps. Thank you.

  • fizkid 31 May, 2008

    i agree that a video would help. also i have tons of my mother and grandmothers hankies after they passed away - found one in every pocket of everything they owned plus the others in drawers. i was wondering if you could come up with other ideas as i would love to have these with me or around me for the wonderful memories and also to see my mother and grandmothers homemad crocheting and is it called tatting? (a form of "lace" making).

  • baronsbrat 31 May, 2008

    instructions are as clear as mud. if you sew you should ignore these instructions.
    carole

  • ulihelisdi 31 May, 2008

    Beautiful Martha, gives me something else to look for at Vintage stores, or 2nd hand stores. I already collect the odd piece of china, and use them for something else, like candle holders etc.

  • inthenewhouse 31 May, 2008

    Would you consider showing this as a video?
    Sewing instruction (for me ) is so much easier to understand with the visual.
    Thanks!