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When I was in first grade my mother used to send me to school with a folded fabric handkerchief safety pinned to my shirt for me to wipe a runny nose with. Why she did this, I can not tell you because this wasn't 1880 and disposable paper tissues had been invented well before I was born. But I know she did it because one is in my first grade class photo, hanging on my shirt.
These old fashioned fabric hankies were made of very thin cotton, typically with a watercolor style floral design.
The zig zag pink outlines, purple and pink bouquets and green leaves peeking out from the diamond enclosures the zig zags form in this design, are intended to being to mind the antique (and quite unsanitary) charm of the granny hankies of yore.