Cheap 'n' Quirky Wedding

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Something Old Becomes New: The Recycled Hanky August 14, 2010

I was reading a book in which the author had an epiphany. I, in turn, had my own epiphany. Spoiler alert: I will reveal something that happens in the book Sleeping Naked Is Green, but it’s more of a great idea than a plot twist. While I’m getting warnings out of the way, here’s my full disclosure. I used to work for the publisher of the book. Now back to the fun stuff.

In Sleeping Naked Is Green, author Vanessa Farquharson tries to make one green change each day for a year. One of her changes is not to use disposable facial tissues; she switches to reusable cloth hankies instead. Needing more hankies while suffering from a cold, Farquharson takes a pair of scissors to an old set of bed sheets that were too worn for use and creates many hankies. Brilliant, no?

This is where my epiphany came about. I’d been trying to figure out what my something old would be and was having some trouble. Most brides carry some sort of hanky with them and I had the perfect set of sheets for this. My hoarding mother kept my childhood bed sheets with tiny pink and green flowers, my favorite colors when I was young. They’re nearly threadbare in the middle of the fitted sheet and the pillowcase is discolored so they haven’t been used in years. Here’s their chance to have new life! These sheets have great sentimental value since I slept on them nearly every night for my entire childhood; one’s bed is a place of comfort and security, things people look for when feeling stressed (uh, wedding planning) or overcome with emotion. Plus it’s eco-friendly! I’m recycling the material, it saves all of the packaging on buying a new hanky, and I even hand-sewed it so I didn’t use any electricity from a sewing machine. The top sheet was still the original color and was suitable for using (as the fitted sheet looked like it could rip if you breathed on it.)

My recycled bed sheet hanky.

The hems are differing widths because I used a corner piece (so I wouldn’t have to hem as much) and the side hem and bottom hem of the top sheet were different, so I tried to match those.

This project is simple: cut a square of material and hem it. I suggest folding the edges twice before hemming so that the raw edge is never exposed. You don’t necessarily have to use a sheet, you could use an old dress, curtains, a blouse, a baby blanket, or even new fabric. If it’s a fabric that you can cut, sew, and dab your tears of joy with, it’ll work. If you’ve got the gift of embroidery skills, you could embroidered your wedding date, your names, or a little message onto it or even make a nice little edging for it. Since we’re all busy brides, planning our brains out, just a quick hem might be the extent. That’s just fine; it’s cute, ridiculously quick, and can be done in front of the television.

So thank you, Vanessa Farquharson. You unknowingly gave me my something old and you gave my old bed sheets a new life.