Recently I was asked the following about my hankies: " I have a question for you about them and maybe even your bonnet....Do you tat the edging and sew it on or do you tat it to the edges as you go? Or, do you do it both ways and if so, which do you like best?"
My preference is to buy the hankies fron handy hands that have the holes around the edges and attach the lace as I tat. This also works for linens that I hemstitch by hand. I like the feeling of being finished when the tatting's done, and I can adjust the length or pattern if it's not fitting right.
I do sometimes complete lace and sew it on. This is usually when I have store-bought hankies, pillow cases, table tunners, hand towels, etc. In the case of the bonnet, I had tatted the lace for a store-bought hanky; then it didn't fit, so I hemmed a piece of linen to the right size, sewed on the lace, and made up the bonnet.
All roads lead to Rome!