Embroidered Hankie

It's part 2 of Retro Week here at Larkspur Company! When we decided that Retro Week must happen, we knew we had to include a fun and crafty tutorial. My grandma taught me how to embroider when I was a kid, so this project has a warm fuzzy place in my heart. With my total disinterest in math and poor patience, I find most seamstress skills tedious. But not embroidery! It's just like coloring in the lines in a coloring book. Monogramming your own handkerchief is a great project for beginners. And believe it or not, handkerchiefs are good for a lot more than just yucky nose-blowing! I use mine on planes when I don't want to put food down straight on a grimy tray table or to touch up a stray streak of mascara or lipstick on my face.

What you'll Need:  

  • One handkerchief. I like these Irish linen ones I found on Etsy, but any mid-weight fabric will work.  
  • One embroidery needle
  • 1-2 shades of thread, depending on your design. I picked a grayish mauve and a metallic gold thread as an accent. FYI, if you're a beginner, steer clear of the metallic thread. It snags easily and can be a pain. But it's so shiny!
  • One embroidery hoop
  • A pencil

Step 1: Gather together everything you'll need for the project. Wash and press your hankie as necessary.  

Step 2: Secure the portion of the hankie you want to embroider in the hoop, and tighten until the fabric is held taught by the hoop. Then, draw your design lightly in pencil on the fabric. You will not be able to see the pencil once you embroider over it.  

Step 3: Thread your needle with 3-4 pieces of thread, depending on how thick you want your stitching. Tie a knot at the end, and pull the thread through the fabric at your starting point.  

Step 4: Here's the tricky part. You are going to use an outline stitch. Insert your needle a small distance from your first hole. Then, feed the needle under the fabric (without pulling through) and feed the needle back up through the cloth as close as possible to your first hole or stitch. It's sort of a shallow diving motion with the needle. If you'd like a more in-depth tutorial, this Youtube video gives a great example of how to do an outline stitch.

Steps 5 & 6: Repeat the outline stitch along your entire letter outline. Remember to keep your stitches small and tight to create a polished look.  

Step 7: Once you have come to the end of your letter, thread the needle to the backside of the fabric and tie a tight knot at the base of the thread. Trim off excess.  If you have a letter (like A, H, or T) that is not made up of one continuous line, it may be a good idea to knot off after you've completed the first part, and start the process again for the cross-section of the letter, to maintain a clean look.

Step 8: If you are using an accent color, repeat steps 1-7 along the inside or outside of the letter. I used my gold thread just as a shadow accent on the outside of the left side, and inside of the right.  

Voila, a customized hankie! Don't you want to monogram everything now!?


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