Tutorial: Heirloom Bloomers from Vintage Hankies

One of my favorite things to make out of vintage handkerchiefs is baby bloomers. Paired with a simple onesie, they make a wonderful and unique baby gift and if you happen to have a grandmother who collected hankies, you can create a beautiful and usable heirloom. (for personal use only)

Download Heirloom Bloomer Pattern Here

(size 0-3 months)

For me, the most time consuming part of this project is picking the handkerchiefs.

You will need four hankies to make one pair of bloomers. The hankies can be different sizes, but all the edges should be straight or have small scallop. Hankies with large scalloped edges don’t work as well for this project. Check for stains and tears, remembering you might be able to cut around them.

With Easter on it’s way, I finally decided on four blue-themed traditional floral hankies.

You will also need 1/8″ soft stretch baby elastic (for the legs) and 1/2″ knit elastic (for the waist).

Step 1: Cut out 2 front & 2 back bloomer panels, one piece from each handkerchief, lining up hem edge of pattern to hemmed edge of hankie.

If you cut each hankie piece with the right side facing up, make sure to flip the pattern piece to cut second panel of front & back. I like to cut each piece separately so I can place the panel exactly how I want it on each hankie.

Once you have two fronts and two backs cut out, sew right front to right back and left front to left back at outseam. Finish seam edge with serger or zig-zag. Open pieces up and press.

(seam allowances are 1/4″)

With a removable marking pencil, mark 3/4″ up from hem edges on right and left leg for elastic placement.

With a small zig-zag stitch, sew an 8″ long piece of elastic 3/4″ up from hemmed edge along your mark, stretching as you sew, matching halfway point of elastic to halfway point of bloomer to ensure even gathering. (if you have a particularly chunky or slim baby, adjust elastic measurement as needed)

Lightly steam the leg elastic on each piece to even out ruffles.

Place two leg pieces, right sides together, matching fronts and backs, and sew front and back crotch seams. Finish seams with serger or zig-zag.

Open bloomers up, putting seams you just sewed at center front and center back. Press. Match short, little inseam and sew. Finish seam with serger or zig-zag.

Turn bloomers right side out. Press where needed.

Press in casing, folding over raw edge 1/4″ and folding again 5/8″

Edge stitch folded casing around waist, leacing a 1″ opening at center back. Thread a 14″ piece of 1/2″ wide elastic through waist casing (if you have a particularly chunky or slim baby, adjust elastic measurement as needed).

Sew elastic together by overlapping 3/4″. This causes less bulk than closing the elastic with a traditional seam.

Sew waist opening closed.

You’ve now finished your first pair of heirloom bloomers!


{ 2 trackbacks }

Tutorial: Heirloom Handkerchief Bloomers | This Mama Makes Stuff
May 8, 2010 at 8:11 pm
Breezy Blue Heirloom Bloomers | This Mama Makes Stuff
July 1, 2010 at 2:19 pm

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

leeloo May 10, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Love it! Very cute.
Love the idea of 4 different fabric pieces.

Thanks for sharing


Erin May 15, 2010 at 6:03 pm

How cute!!! I found this pattern the other day, and just finished making a pair of these to go along with the dress I made. I actually just used regular fabric, though, and did a casing around the legs as well. Still turned out cute and was exactly what I was looking for! Thanks so much!


Janelle June 6, 2010 at 9:58 am

Love this! However, I have a 4 year old that wears bloomers under her dresses and need a pattern for larger sizes! We have a local Amish general store where we buy hankies for use as hankies for about .35 each and could easily be made into bloomers! Any ideas how to use more and accomodate a larger girl? I’m think maybe cutting additional hankies in half and sewing on to make each of the 4 for this pattern 50% larger?


Kim July 1, 2010 at 9:14 pm

I love this pattern. I made this for my girlfriend’s baby shower. Everyone was going crazy for them. :)


wing tattoo designs July 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Very interesting article. Keep writing dude !!


Vicky August 7, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Hi Carrie. I’ve been wanting to make these for a while and just finished a pair. Thanks for the easy tutorial! The only problem I have is that I need a bigger size and I’m not sure how to accurately enlarge the pattern for a bigger baby. Any tips?


poetgranny October 17, 2010 at 7:49 pm

I just stumbled upon your lovely site. These baby bloomers are precious! I love vintage and babies. Whenever I use something old for a project I always ask myself if the original artist/owner would approve of the new creation. I can picture lots of handkerchief artists, little grannies and exquisite ladies smiling over these cute bloomers. Wonderful work!


GrANNEma February 13, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Just had my first grandbaby come into this world 2/3/11. I went to the stores looking for bloomers…and there weren’t any!! None at Target or BabiesRUs…saw them online for $20-30…no way…found your site and will get busy making these for my little baby girl and for others! Thank you SO much!


Kristen February 26, 2011 at 6:38 pm

These are absolutely beautiful!! I am new to this blogging thing, but I just gave you the “Stylish Blogger” Award on my blog. I hope you can pass it on.


Suzanna March 9, 2011 at 6:06 pm

The best tutorial I’ve seen yet. Can’t wait to see what I can whip up! Thanks!!!!


judie Robertson March 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this idea. I got a whole box of hankies on ebay and now I know what to do with them. Thanks,,,Judie


Brooke April 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Hi! Did you ever suggest how to make a larger design?



Cass July 24, 2011 at 10:04 am

Great tutorial!
Is there any other place where I can download the pattern? For some reason, nothing happens when I try at Scribd :(


This is Carrie
Twitter: thisiscarrie

I just changed the link in the post so you should be able to download the pattern directly from the site now.


Meghan August 16, 2011 at 11:16 am

Hi Carrie. This may be a novice question, but what setting/tension do you use to sew such thin material? I seem to have an issue with my machine eating fabric that doesn’t have much structure. It either gets pushed down into the needle hole and gummed up with thread AND/OR the feed dogs don’t grip the fabric and I have to manually feed the fabric through the machine, creating uneven and ugly stitches. Help!!!


AMELIA February 21, 2012 at 8:28 am

Great job on the tutorial! Going to try to make one:) SOON


Kate March 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm

These are adorable! Thank you so much for the pattern and idea.


Pilar Ureña July 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Precioso. Muchas gracias


C Max August 27, 2012 at 11:40 am

I want to make these in a larger size (24 month). How much larger do I need to make the pattern?


Debbie Thom June 3, 2013 at 9:46 am

Where do you find your hankies. Especially the pattern ones. Deb


This is Carrie
Twitter: thisiscarrie

I find them at garage sales, estate sales and thrift stores. good luck!


Stephanie Jones August 10, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Hello I was wondering to you have a pattern for a 3-4 year old?


Paloma Alexandra October 17, 2013 at 3:16 am

Hello, ! this is beautiful, do you still have the PDF ?


eriko July 22, 2014 at 7:52 am

素敵( ´∀`)yes!


Ema November 17, 2014 at 6:07 am

These look gorgeous. How big should I print the pattern?
Can you tell me the height size of piece A, for example?
Or any point of reference?


megan February 26, 2015 at 7:40 am

I love them! do you mind telling me where you got the tags with your name on them that you sewed on the inside?


rozalle October 29, 2016 at 10:55 pm

I love this pattern! Can’t wait to start. I can’t stand the small panties that our small ones wear! than you!


Jude July 1, 2017 at 1:05 pm

These are Gorgeous and how clever the handkerchiefs. I have been searching for a bloomer pattern and this is exactly what I wanted. Thank you so much!


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