Cultural Objects, Textiles

Lady’s Handkerchief

Maker/Creator: Effie King Brown
Check (Locust Grove District)


  • Length: 11 inches
  • Width: 11 inches

The border design on this white cotton handkerchief was created by sewing strips with the cut design around all edges of the square, then turning and pressing them as one would press the edges of an applique piece. The hemstitching is done by running a threaded needle under several threads along the pattern’s outline in one corner of the handkerchief then tugging these threads to the right to form a tiny opening. The needle is then reinserted into the same spot picking up a few threads of the hem to lock the stitch in place.  Moving right to left, this stitch is repeated around the entire perimeter of the cut areas.

Handkerchief, hemstitching
Bio Sketch

Effie Byar King Brown (1910-2012) was learning to quilt by age five. Her mother Mattie Yates King and older sisters were accomplished in many types of needlework. Mrs. Effie learned how to sew, crochet, quilt, and knit from family members; more importantly, she learned to do everything to their high standards. To see other examples of her work go to


Mrs. Effie described this piece as a “Handmade Old Design Handkerchief” and it was a piece she’d preserved for many decades.