Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lap Handkerchiefs and Lap Scarves

I'm usually the last person on the planet to find out new things.  At least, I feel that way.  It is not surprising that I just discovered lap handkerchiefs also known as lap scarves.  I received a convo from our Etsy Store from a lady who inquired about lap handkerchiefs.  I had never heard of such a thing.  She was concerned about her size because she felt she was a large woman.  She wanted a lap handkerchief that would cover her entire lap while she was at church.  We started off during the Mardi Gras season and I explained to her that I would be glad to do this but I wouldn't be able to begin this project until Feb. 25th.  She agreed.  In the meantime, we discussed fabric, size, and design.

She wanted something very elegant and lady-like but her main concern was that the handkerchief completely cover her lap and drape down the sides.  After perusing the internet for lap handkerchiefs, we found the normal size is about 22 inches square.  This customer wanted 30 inches square, plus 2 inch wide lace surrounding the 30 inch square fabric for a total of 34 inches square.  Yep, that is just 2 inches shy of a yard square.

I purchased some very nice handkerchief fabric.  It is not 100% cotton, but rather a cotton blend for the permanent press capabilities.  Then I searched for 2 inch wide flat lace.  She did not want the lace gathered.  Oddly enough, I could not find 2 inch wide lace anywhere.  What I did find was 4 inch wide lace, which I purchased. 

Once at home, I washed and dried the fabric to pre-shrink.  Then I took the lace to my serger.  The serger is such a remarkable mahine.  I serged right down the middle of the lace, creating two pieces of lace each 2 inches wide.

The next step was to cut out a 30 inch square of the fabric and serge all four sides.  

Then I serged the lace onto the fabric.  I did not just take the lace and serger around the fabric.  Instead, each side of the fabric had a separate piece of lace with tails dangling at either end.  The reason for this was to make the mitered corners with the lace.  Had I serged the lace around the fabric, the corners would not lay flat.

Moving to my sewing machine, I top stitched around the edge of the fabric and lace causing the little hem to lay flat and give a neat appearance.

Next each corner of lace was mitered.  It was simple enough.  I just laid the fabric flat on a table and folded the ends of the lace into a mitered edge, pinned, sewed and trimmed. 

Voila!  One lap handkerchief was made.

Next came the design to be embroidered.  The fabric is so delicate that any heavy embroidery pulled the fabric threads apart.  I lightened the density of the small design as much as I could without compromising the looks of the design.  The pretty gold cross and the word "Faith" were then embroidered hooping some water soluable stabilizer underneath the fabric.  Once that was done, the lap scarve was soaked in warm water to remove the stabilizer, dried and ironed.

It turned out beautiful.  We never did find a lap handkerchief online that was 34 inches square.

C'est tout, mes amis.