DIY Embroidery: Embroider Your Own Hanky

Embroidery Embroidery Kits Learning Embroidery

Embroidery is a great tool for adding details to clothing, creating unique gifts or artwork. You can use these instructions to upcycle an old hanky or use alongside this kit to create your own hand embroidered handkerchief.

Before you start, ensure that you have collected all the equipment that you will need. You can find more information on supplies in this guide to beginners embroidery.

You will need:

  • Hanky
  • Needle
  • Embroidery thread
  • Hoop
  • Erasable pen
  • Scissors

Place your chosen design behind the fabric. Using an erasable pen trace the design onto your fabric where you would like the embroidery to be. Please be aware that erasable ink can leave a ‘ghost’ line on fabric once erased, so double check your placement before tracing your design. I would advise only using erasable ink on areas that you will cover with embroidery.

Take your embroidery hoop and loosen the metal fastening on top to separate the two hoops. Place the inner hoop behind the fabric, directly beneath the design. Place the outer hoop on top of the fabric and gently press the outer hoop onto the inner hoop, then tighten the fastening so that the fabric is not slipping and sliding. Be careful not to stretch the fabric - loosen the fastening if necessary. Ideally you’d like the design to be centred within the hoop with the fabric pulled taut but not stretched. This is a tricky bit and requires a bit of trial and error, so if it doesn’t work first time, just try again!

Now you are ready to embroider! Pick an embroidery thread colour to use and cut off approx one arm’s length of thread. Look closely and you will see that the thread is made up of six strands. For this project we want just two strands - carefully separate the thread so that you have just two strands together. Thread onto your needle and knot one end. Try to knot three or four times in the same place to create a knot that will hold securely.

Embroidery is a little like drawing with thread! With that in mind, decide where you will begin ‘drawing’ your design and bring your needle up through the fabric from underneath the fabric. Make a single straight stitch approx 5mm long and bring your needle back through the fabric. You have your first stitch!

We will use back stitch for this design. Once you have created your first stitch (step 4), bring your needle back up through the fabric along the line you have drawn, approx 5mm from your last stitch, leaving space for your next stitch. Then push your needle back into the last hole of your last stitch. You should end up with two stitches and no gap between them. Continue until you have embroidered your entire design!

It is likely that you will need to use more than one length of thread for this project. Once you have finished the first length, you will need to knot it securely before beginning with the next length of thread. Flip your embroidery hoop over so that you are looking at the back of your design. Slip the needle under a stitch that is close to where you have finished stitching, loop the remaining thread around your needle a couple of times and then pull the needle all the way through until you have created a little knot. Repeat once to secure the embroidery. Snip off the remaining thread and continue with a new length of two strands (see step 3).

Once the embroidery is complete, knot one final time (see step 6) and snip off the remaining thread. Carefully remove your hoop and use an iron or hair dryer to remove the ink of the erasable pen. The ink will disappear when exposed to the heat.   

If you need any help following these instructions, please feel free to get in touch at any time - I am always happy to help! Make sure to share your finished projects on Instagram and tag @deliciousmonstertea.

Happy stitching!

Claire x

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