How to Make a 70’s Handkerchief Top

I love creating historically accurate doll clothes. Ivy and Julie are fun and easy to create for because it isn’t too hard to make sure I am using an accurate design. The 70s are recent enough that are plenty of photographs as well as plenty of people around who lived during that particular decade. My mom was a teenager in the 70s, so I always run my outfit ideas for Ivy and Julie past her before proceeding. I recently picked up some vintage handkerchiefs at a flea market for the purpose of doll clothes and accessories, and one in particular struck me as a good fit for Julie or Ivy. I knew that in the 70s there was a style of top that was literally called a “handkerchief top”, though obviously full-sized human beings would not have a top made out of an actual handkerchief. It just so happens that an actual handkerchief makes a perfect doll-sized handkerchief top, though! A Google search revealed a number of styles that seemed to be popular during the 70s, but I chose this simple, poncho-like style that I thought would work perfectly using just my single handkerchief.

It’s really easy to make, here’s how I did it:

Using a ruler and a fabric marker, measure to find the center of your handkerchief.

Draw a 3 1/4 inch square to be your neck opening. I conveniently had a nice square pattern in on the fabric to follow, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t.

Zig-zag stitch around your square, using a nice tight zig-zag.

Cut open your square carefully. I used my rotary cutter to get close to the edge of the stitching.

I eyeballed the sleeve placement and marked it with a pin, and then stitched a small seam in that spot.

I think Ivy looks groovy! Let me know if you try this!



7 Comments Add yours

  1. That’s so cute, and super easy!


  2. Flo says:

    That’s fantastic! I’ll have to keep my eyes open for vintage handkerchiefs at thrift stores. I wonder if bandanas would be too big?


  3. Sharry says:

    Super groovy!


  4. bennettv says:

    Adorable! She looks super groovy! 🙂 What a great idea!

    ginnie /


    1. Emily says:

      Looks like August was a great month! Thanks so much for the mention!


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