I made this vintage hanky top about 10 years ago, after a friend gave me a pile of them her grandmother had collected. You’ll need 9 hankies or small square scarves, two buttons and thread to complete this project.
Select four hankies for your back panel.
Lay them, edges overlapping in a square and pin. Try to take advantage of any lace by pinning that to the outside.
Topstitch across the four overlap edges. You can select a plain straight stitch, a zig-zag, or a decorative stitch if you wish.
Select four hankies for the front.
For the lower bodice, overlap two edges, again, taking advantage of any lace.
For the upper bodice, turn two hankies diagonal so they are diamonds. Layer them under the two bodice panels with an overlap of about 2-3″. Mark approximately where the gathering stitches for the underbust seam will go. The triangle (bottom) of the hankie will be inside the top when you’re done. You can adjust the hankie up or down depending upon your bust size.
Remove the panels and sew a row of gathering stitches along this line. Gather and layer the hankies under the bodice panels. Topstitch the lower bodice to the upper panels. Now you have a basic halter style front.
Sew the back to the front at the side seams, from about 4″ above the bottom hem to the bodice / underbust seam. You’ll leave a slight open split side seam.
Using a button, overlap the front top shoulder point to the back on both sides and stitch a button on top to secure the shoulder on each side. The front hankies will naturally fold back to create a vee neckline. I added pieces of two other hankies to create a rosette in the center front, but lace rosette or even a fabric rosette, such as bias-cut silk duppioni would be lovely here.