Upcycle Vintage Hankerchiefs into Tutus

Posted by on Oct 25, 2014

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Upcycling is taking something of little or no value and making it into something of more value without negatively impacting the environment. It's a way for crafter to express their inner creativity in a practical, yet whimsical way. 

So stop throwing away old clothes! Refashion them to give them a second chance as practical, stylish, and usable items. Your family will love upcycling, too. Select a project then take the kids as you search garage sales and thrift stores for the cast-off components. Give kids a budget of a dollar or two and watch them shop. They will go ape learning to shop thrifty and be upcycling champions in no time! 

upcycled fashions for kids book
Vintage handkerchiefs are perfect for upcycling into toddler blankies, girl's tops and skirts, and too-cute tutus! If your great aunt or grandma doesn't have a collection to pull from, you can usually find vintage hankies with irresistible prints at flea markets and garage sales for a low price. 

Hankie tutus are so fun for little girls to play dress-up and they make the best baby shower gifts, too. Paired with a matching onesie and tucked into a glory of tissue paper, they are shower show-stoppers. Try this project and bright a girl's day!

- 5 hankies, plus one for an optional apron
- Elastic (waistband)
- Ribbon (bow)
- Safety pin
- Bias tape or lace for waistband casing 

Choose five hankies that, when placed together, make your heart sing! Hand-wash and air-dry them. The bottom hem of the tutu may not be even since all hankies are not the same size. Decide which of the five hankies you want to be the center feature of your tutu. Choose the most smashing one, or try a plain, solid-colored hankie, and use a smaller hankie over it as an apron if you like. Decide on the placement of the other four hankies. A seam of two hankies will be the center back of your tutu. Two others will flank the center panel. 

Pin then sew the center panel to the hankies on either side. Overlap the edges of the hankies, and top stitch those three panels together. Pin and stitch the last two panels. To add a smaller hankie as an apron, center the apron hankie on top of the center hankie, with the top edges lined up. Pin the apron hankie down, and then sew it in place along the top edge. 

For the waistband, pin the bias tape to the wrong side of the top edge of the skirt, ½” (1.3 cm) below the edge. Sew the bias tape down along both edges, leaving an opening to thread the elastic through. Cut the elastic an inch smaller than the girl’s waist. For shower gifts and newborns, cut 16” (41 cm) waists. Using a safety pin, thread the elastic through the casing. Overlap the ends about 1” (2.5 cm) then sew the overlapping ends of the elastic together. Sew the casing closed. 

Tie a pretty ribbon in a perky bow. Pin it with a safety pin to the center front of the waistband so that it can be removed before washing.

If you want more ideas, check out my new book, Upcycled Fashions for Kids, from Stackpole Publishing.

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