Tom was getting rid of some shirts. This one was very old and worn. But I loved the fabric — a soft, light weight cotton shirting with a very high thread count, a bit like Tana Lawn. I just couldn’t let it go to the charity shop. A while ago, Felix sent me some lovely vintage handkerchiefs, to which I’ve become quite attached. I particularly like them because they are old. A hanky seems at its best when the fabric is well worn, softened, weathered — just like the fabric of this shirt. They are useful things to have about one’s person in this grim, grey January weather — I at least find I can’t make the transition from a brisk, chilly outdoor walk to an overheated institutional interior without scrabbling around for a hanky, and noisily blowing me nose (ahem). So I washed and dried and pressed the old shirt and then. . .
I cut out two 12 inch squares from the back of the shirt; pressed the top and bottom edges in by 1/4 inch; did the same with the two side edges; then repeated (so that no raw edges showed). Then I pressed the whole thing again, and sewed round the handkerchief edge twice (with two allowances of about 1/2 and a 1/8 inch) to create a secure folded hem. This was the easiest kind of sewing (some simple cuts in the fabric; a press with the iron; no need for pins; a couple of straight seams) and it took me less than 30 minutes in a break between one set of exam scripts and another. I now have a couple of serviceable and satisfying recycled shirt hankies. There’s enough fabric in the shirt back for a few more, and I could probably get a couple out of the fronts as well.
I don’t know how to phonetically convey the sound of a blowing nose . . .but I’m sure you can imagine it.