Saturday, December 1, 2012

Little Hanky Dresses

Since Ms A (Now Ms Z) and her fiancé (Mr Z) planned their October wedding long distance from NYC, the customary preliminaries of showers, bachelor/ette parties took place in the East before the wedding week.  I thought it would be nice to have a get together here for her out of town friends, cousins, aunts etc., so i hosted a luncheon at a tea room that has been a special lunch spot for us her whole life. 

It was a nice opportunity to meet the groom's mother, grandmother, and two of his aunts and catch up with folks who have not been all in one place, for quite awhile.  

I wanted to have a little favor for the guests and I saw a tutorial here for some hanky crafts and decided to make tiny wedding dresses.  

After gathering up all my hankies from the various boxes, drawers, totes and tubs, I sorted through them to see if I had hankies with the appropriate monograms for the invited guests. 

I was a couple of letters short, but after the RSVP's came back, i had enough!  (As it turned out, I could have invited lots of folks with names that started with M or W!)

A few of the hankies were not as special, or maybe had a slight flaw so I decided to pair them with a  fancy edged hanky as a 'slip' so everyone would have something special.  In the end,  I liked that look so much that I paired all the hankies with an edged one underneath.  (I followed the folding instructions in the tutorial, except I laid the monogrammed hanky 'face down' and put the edged hanky on top of it, extending about an inch or so beyond the edge of the monogrammed one.)

The tutorial features very cute hangars, which can be ordered, but since I had so many to make, I thought I could make them and save a bit. (they also sell hankies and the template for the bodice in a kit, but I have a gazillion hankies, so I decided to wing it on the bodice, too)

I used aluminum wire (sold in the jewelry dept at JoAnn).  I used two different gauges, and decided that the 14 gauge worked best.  It is very easy to bend and cut with needle nosed pliers.  I made a template out of very thin wire so I could get the shape and size the way I wanted it, then used it for a pattern as I made the others.  A sharpie marker was the perfect size to make the bends, but after doing a few, I just used my fingers.

I started with about ten inches of wire and made a bend at about 2.5" from the left end.

Then I made another bend about 3" from the first one.

I bent the left side about 1/2" from the end and hooked both sides together.

I twisted the left end around the neck and bent the other side to make the hook. 

The ends of the wire may be sharp where they are cut, but since it is aluminum, it is very easy to just crimp it with needle nose pliers to make sure they aren't a hazard.  The aluminum is very forgiving of mistakes and 're-bends', too.  And most of the hangar is covered up, so I didn't worry too much about perfection and uniformity!

I made the dress top by drawing on card stock and trimming it until I liked the look, then I traced it several times on another sheet and copied it on my scanner to make multiples. 

The tutorial illustrates how to fold the hankies, but you simply iron the hanky flat and fold diagonally to form a triangle (like a scarf).  Then fold the two ends down to the point, which forms a square, then fold the sides in again to make it a more slender diamond shape.  I used a tiny safety pin* to secure the hanky after I folded it over the hangar and  a couple of small pieces of tape to kept the bodice from slipping on the shoulders of the hangars.  The baby rick-rack belt kept the skirt centered and finished off the dress.

I loved the way they turned out and I think the guests enjoyed getting a personalized gift.  The dresses look equally great with floral hankies tied with a silk ribbon!
Even though I pulled more than 40 hankies out of my stash,   it barely made a dent!  I do feel good about the sorting and organizing, though.  Seeing all my hankies together in one place has made me realize that i really do have enough! (Some might think more than enough...)  In the last few months, I have been able to pass up all the hankies that I have since seen at estate sales, etc.

Well, almost all...

*I tried to just catch a couple of layers of hanky with the pin, since it will create tiny pin holes.  The tutorial recommended double stick tape, but tape can damage the fabric, if left for very long.


Martha said...

Such a clever idea, and your hanky dresses are adorable. I love it that you even made your own hanger. What a lovely gift for your luncheon guests.

Gaynell said...

They were much admired and appreciated!

Iron Needles said...

They really were awesome, being personalized and all. I know I appreciated mine!

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Anonymous said...

What cute money makers for a crafts faire or a school fair. I have a large stack of these (over a hundred) that I am using for another purpose. I lost my wind on the project, so I shall make some into these. Great 1st dolls. THX!!