Ok, I was going to keep this antique Martha Washington bandana (who wouldn’t?) but my scarf, bandana and handkerchief collection is getting outta control so I’m finally adding it to my store. I purchased this late 1800s to early 1900s turkey red & white floral handkerchief with a stack of vintage bandanas at an estate sale several years ago. I’ve held onto it because it’s damaged. How did it get damaged? I’m embarrassed to admit that I caused the damage in one of those laundry “learning moments” that happen.
The lot of bandanas were beauties… red & blue elephant bandanas etc but they definitely needed to be cleaned. (Of course I always wash pre-owned bandanas before offering them for sale for hygenic reasons but these were decades-in-a-drawer dirty and especially desperate for a tubbing).
I carefully washed them by hand in the sink. Since it was a beautiful sunny Spring day I hung them on our clothesline to dry while I ran errands. BUT. The wind came up while I was out. When I got home they were whipping in the “breeze” or twisted around the clothesline & pins. I screamed and ran to bring them in but it was too late… the damage was done. Many of the ends of the older cotton bandanas had torn or shredded at the corners. This one sustained a rip along the side…It might have got caught on a clothespin. NOW I use my phone to check the local weather forecast before hanging fragile laundry, scarves & bandanas outside to dry. If there’s more than a gentle breeze in the forecast; the laundry will drip-dry on a drying rack in the bathtub.
To mend or not to mend? I’m learning how to darn woolens but mending a cotton bandana is different. I used my sewing machine set to a wide zigzag stitch and cotton thread to mend a different bandana and it worked ok but I”m leaving this antique beauty as-is. Sometimes it’s better to leave a vintage textile alone and let the collector/buyer decide how to handle damage.