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Handkerchief Valance




The tailored look of men's handkerchiefs can add punch to more than just pockets. Turn a set of new hankies or pristine vintage ones into a valance. With the zigzag stitch, sew handkerchiefs into two strips of seven; place strips side by side along long edges, and sew together. (The valance should be 50 percent wider than the window, so add or subtract hankies accordingly.) Fold resulting rectangle in half lengthwise; stitch horizontally 1 inch down from fold for a curtain-rod channel.

Enlarge the Image

Martha Stewart Living, May 2004



Reviews (39)

  • Tiffany_Sun 16 Dec, 2009

    Humbledaisy, you can now enlarge the image -- simply click the "Enlarge this Image" link under the directions. Good luck.

  • Humbledaisy 23 Apr, 2009

    I'd like to be able to see this photograph larger - it's hard to imagine what it will look like.

  • gaylagal2 27 Mar, 2009

    Thank you so much for typing out the instructions. I'm sure you helped a lot of people with this valance!
    Thanks again for being so nice :)
    Las Vegas

  • MountainberryButterfly 6 Feb, 2009

    The directions are fine. You sew 2 strips of 7 handkerchiefs each. Then sew the 2 strips together on one of the long sides. Then fold it in half along the long seam, making sure all of your seams are on the inside. Sew another seam (on the long side) i inch down from the fold. The last seam makes the rod channel. I hope that helps, gflah.

  • gflah 5 Feb, 2009

    These directions are horrible. Can someone post some clearer, easier to follow directions? Thanks

  • gflah 5 Feb, 2009

    These directions are horrible. Can someone post some clearer, easier to follow directions? Thanks

  • kathiguam 8 Jun, 2008

    I didn't bother sewing my vintage napkin valance; just used white curtain clips, slightly overlapping each top edge. Looks lovely - you can do a quick change of different napkins or hankies. If you want a bit of weight, add removable shells or buttons etc, to the bottom edge. Adhere these items to clips, mini-clothespins...

  • debbieingermany 11 May, 2008

    another easy idea for making a window treatment is to use vintage pillow cases (they come in a large square size). Many are hand embroidered or have cut out appliques... check out flea markets to find some really beautiful cases. they already have a flap along the top where you would close the case and button it. just run your curtain rod through the flap, and hang the pillow case. if your window is larger than the pillow case, use two! its a great idea for a powder room window!

  • maitai326 2 May, 2008

    i agree, poor directions. After reading kelly's interpretation, the directions made more sense.

  • gardengirls 23 Apr, 2008

    Nice idea... but poor directions.

  • KellyFredericks 17 Apr, 2008

    I don't think it is 14 in one row, but rather, 2 rows of seven, one on top of the other. Then it is folded along the long edge, and the rod pocket is made on the long edge. Sounds like it hangs doubled over itself.

  • tobolac 15 Apr, 2008

    Get 14 hankies- 1 ft. sq. Butt 1 next to another

  • nanapatti 14 Apr, 2008

    I would love to try it, but don't quite understand the directions, why not just sew 14 together in a row? isn't that the same?

  • drruth 14 Apr, 2008

    What a great idea. I have many beautiful women's handkerchiefs that I will stitch together to make a valance. As such they can be enjoyed instead of being buried in a box.

  • delinep 14 Apr, 2008

    I understand the directions. It clearly states how to make the valance.

  • Wishing 13 Apr, 2008

    The valance looks like a fun project, but I agree, the instructions are not very clear.

  • nanz5cats 12 Apr, 2008

    For those that are frustrated with ads and the like when printing out Martha's instructions: I usually bring up a blank work document and copy and paste the instructions and pictures onto it so that I get NO ads or information I don't want. I just get the picture and instructions, and can enlarge the picture a bit.
    This looks like a wonderful idea, and I just may try it!!! A seamstress I ain't!

  • e-d-gormet 12 Apr, 2008

    Looks interesting but I agree with so many others, how do you really do it? I get the feeling that if this project had a Martha Stewart price tag it might be more complete. But right now even the picture isn't big enough to see. It's just sad. Better directions please it couldn't cost that much.

  • bonnieneville 12 Apr, 2008

    Instructions are OK. Sounds like it looks the same from either side. All of the seams are inside.

  • castleqween 12 Apr, 2008

    These are very vauge. Another thought I will try is the same idea but with dinner napkins. Iv'e made a closet covering with a table cloth I'm quite impressed with and now with this idea I will work magic with napkins on the windows.

  • Curlgirl13 12 Apr, 2008

    Put more clearly, these directions were written by someone who knew what they were doing -- but did not explain it at all to those of us who have no idea where they even started. Worst directions ever. Sew where to start with?!
    Tell how you've laid out the hankys and where you started might have been a big hint.

  • geggie 12 Apr, 2008

    I don't think you are dense at all. I have been sewing for years, and these instructions are unclear to me too. I might be able to figure it out, but not without some work.

  • ladijain 12 Apr, 2008

    I may be dense, but could we have a visual of what the construction of this looks like?

  • Autsom 11 Apr, 2008

    this looks like a great idea. Thank you Martha, Your the best!!

  • AuntieBoo 11 Apr, 2008

    Hobby Lobby stores have a variety of handkerchiefs to pick from. It is amazing the beautiful prints they come in. I am so glad to get this idea. Thank you Martha Stewart and staff for this wonderful idea. Keep up the great ideas. Have a great day. Auntie Boo

  • Quanah 11 Apr, 2008

    I found some handerchiefs at Wal-Mart. Then I went to a fabric store and they sold it by the yard.

  • suzette13210 11 Apr, 2008

    This is a cute way to dress up a casual room's window! The best place I've found for things like vintage fabrics and linens is, believe it or not, church rummage sales. Parishners donate a lot of those kinds of things, a lot of times helping elderly parents or grandparents clean out closets and attics, and you find old hankies, table cloths, napkins, sheets, blankets and so on. Fortunately we are coming up on garage/rummage sale season. Yea!

  • stephanie623 11 Apr, 2008

    I agree, that ad is very annoying. It covered up half the page!

    I like the project though!

  • greenknitcat 11 Apr, 2008

    That pop-up IS a pain.

    Where can men's handkerchiefs (other than plain white) be purchased?

  • MeLucero 11 Apr, 2008

    This would be enjoyable except for the darn Swiffer ad that keeps popping up and blocking everything. Martha, are you aware of this?

  • Tamsjim 11 Apr, 2008

    How cute and airy. I love the idea and we be using it on my back service pourch.
    Thank you.

  • LuvMaerz 11 Apr, 2008

    Great idea! Inexpensive, too.

  • luvrecipes 11 Apr, 2008

    Thanks for the suggestions -- I guess it is because I have not looked for them that I was not aware they were still so widely available. I will start my search.

  • MaureenClark 11 Apr, 2008

    I buy handkerchiefs for my husband all the time. I have found them at K-Mart and other major department stores.

  • nancyalameda 11 Apr, 2008

    The instructions DO say MEN's hankies. They are abundantly available everywhere and come in boxed sets.

  • clucktwo 11 Apr, 2008

    Any antique store that sells vintage linen will probably have vintage hankies for sale or check ebay

  • luvrecipes 11 Apr, 2008

    Without going to a pricey department store - where can you still find handkerchiefs? I like this idea for the kitchen window in our cottage but haven't see handkerchiefs for years -- of course I haven't really been looking for them. Martha -- does K-mart carry them?

  • whit5 11 Apr, 2008

    Same here--- not all of us are crafters but we would like to try. We just need more help more direction.

  • loislane 11 Apr, 2008

    I love it! But I need to have just ONE link to a page with pictorial directions please! These are great crafts but without a little more help, I'm going to have to remain a "Martha Wanna-be"...! And I really want to make this Valance!
    love you anyway, Loislane >^..^<