Friday, September 21, 2012

Handkerchief Dress Tutorial

Hey folks!  My name is Becca, and I blog over at BeccaMarie Designs.

Recently for a Young Women's activity we took our little group of young women to the Brigham City Temple Open House.  We wanted the girls to be able to walk through the temple and feel the Spirit there.  

Afterwards we walked across the street and sat down on the grass.  We then talked to them about how important the temple is, and how special it is to keep ourselves morally clean and sexually pure so that we can have the opportunity to be sealed in marriage there.  

In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, prophets of God have said:  "We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed."  "We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."

As part of our lesson we handed out several 'tokens' to remind the girls to keep themselves clean and white from the sins of the world.  One of the things we handed out was a white handkerchief disguised as a wedding dress.  A handkerchief they could take with them to the temple one day.  

Before making these I searched the internet for a tutorial on how to make them.  I was unable to find one with very much detail, so once I figured out how to make them I made my own tutorial.  And that is what I am sharing with you today:

~ Supplies ~

white handkerchief (it would be pretty if it had a lace trim, but these plain white ones worked fine)
small doll clothes hanger (these were found in the doll-making section at Michaels)
white paper (my paper had small floral designs pressed into it, makes it a bit more fancy)
white ribbon

First we will be folding the handkerchief into the skirt of the dress.  Begin by ironing your handkerchief so it is pretty and smooth.  Lay it on a flat surface and fold one corner over to it's opposite corner.  You will now have a triangle.  Press your fold.

Fold down both tips of your triangle so you once again have a square.  Press your folds.

Once again fold both sides of the square towards the center, as shown below.  Press your folds.

This is what your finished skirt should look like.  You'll see the front of the skirt on the left and on the right is what the back looks like.

The bodice of the dress is made from stiff white paper.  I do not know the size of everyone's handkerchief, so I am not able to make a pattern for you to print out, but I've traced mine and here is what it looks like. It is basically the front and back of the bodice joined and folded over at the shoulders.  I determined the size by laying the hanger and skirt in their respective places on a piece of paper and drawing the bodice to what I thought would be an appropriate size.  Make sure that the bottom of the bodice meets up with the width of the skirt.

Lay your bodice on a flat surface.

Set in the hanger with the hook through the neck hole.  Now take a piece of tape and roll it up with the sticky side rolled outward.  Place it on the inside of the bodice.

Place the handkerchief on the piece of tape so that the tip of the handkerchief is just under the neckline.  Place another piece of rolled tape on top of your handkerchief.

Now fold over the front side of the bodice and press down onto the tape.  Next tie a length of white ribbon around the waist to secure the bodice.

I saw an example of one of these handkerchief dresses and it was wrapped in a cellophane baggie that fit it just so.  I'm guessing this is how it was sold.  We, however, are making our own, and so will make do with what we have.  I had these cellophane baggies in my cupboard from an activity last year.  They are candy bags, I believe, and they can be found in the cake decorating isle at Joanns.  Just snip a tiny hole into the top there and pull the hook of your hanger through it.  Nice and protected :)

I love the young women I've had the opportunity to work with, and I truly want them to be happy.  

The day I was married in the temple to my husband was so special, I can't even begin to describe it.  I don't know that I can call it the best day of my life, because I feel like every day since then has gotten better and better.  I hope these little handkerchief dresses can remind my girls of how important they are to the Lord, and of His desire for their personal purity.

Thank you for letting me come and visit with you in the Family Proclamation Celebration today!!  


Be sure to check out today's other insightful posts about the Family Proclamation on the following blogs:

  Middle-agedMormonMan  diapersanddivinity


  1. What a sweet activity! We are one of the fortunate who get to attend the Brigham City Temple dedication (via satellite), and we are so excited. I would love to learn more details about your yw activity. Thanks

  2. what a lovely idea, reminds me of the pioneer handkerchief dolls. see one on my blog link below. I'm a grandmother who married in the temple and appreciate all that YW leaders are doing and moms...

  3. These are beautiful and such a good visual reminder for the girls! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Totally adorable and GREAT reminder!!! Oh I LOVE these!!! Thank you soo much for sharing!!

  5. exquisite. thanx for sharing the pattern. I personally love keepsakes that remind me of special times...and I'm not even a YW just a very OW

  6. This is so cute! What a great idea, especially with the temple dedication coming up, for girls who go to the dedication but don't have anything else to do with their handkerchief. Perfect!

  7. These are so sweet. I love the embossed paper. What an elegant touch.

  8. Super cute! It would even be good for little girls getting baptized.

  9. The temple dress idea is awesome! I can't wait to use your tutorial and make these dress with my girls on FHE :) thank you!

  10. Thank you so much for these. This is one that I will be saving for that day when I know I will be serving the young women. Thank you.

  11. I want to thank you for sharing your wonderful hankie dress ... I live in Calgary, Alberta, and our Temple is bring dedicated on the 28th october 2012. I serve in activity day girls, and two weeks ago we made a Temple box, this week we are making the dress to go inside it. So we thank you for your inspiration and help with this idea.

  12. I want to thank you so much for your wonderful tutorial on the hankie wedding dress. I serve in activity day girls, and two weeks ago we made a temple box for special things to go in. This week we are making the Temple dress to go inside. We are doing a lot of activities dedicated to temples as we live in Calgary, Alberta and our Temple is being dedicated on 28th October 2012. Thank you so much.

  13. Im not very artistic and wanted to do these dresses for a handout for my lesson this week. I'm glad I googled a template for the dress. I just used tracing paper on my computer and copied yours. Its the perfect size and now I don't have to waste tons of paper trying to get it right.
    Thanks so much

  14. Thank you so much. I bought 12 hankies from the church's distribution center for only 1.50 each. They have a nice crochet trim. The hangers I found at JoAnns were 5.99 for 4 which was to much for me, so I made white hangers out of pipe cleaner that turned out great. I am giving the dresses to my young women this Sunday to go with the lesson on chastity and temple marriage. They are sooo cute! Thank you thank you ! From the Northridge ward in Carmicheal CA

  15. A friend gave me an example of these when she heard I was serving in YW. My husband made hangers out of paper clips. . .they turned out great! I was wondering what to put them in--thanks for your idea of the plastic bag. . it's perfect.