The Art of Embroidering a Handkerchief: A Step-by-Step Guide

Embroidering a handkerchief is not just an art; it’s a craft. From the selection of the fabric and thread to the completed design, each step is part of an intricate process. This guide shows you how to apply different stitches and create a beautiful design that will be cherished for years to come.

TL;DR – Here are the Key Takeaways

1. Gather the necessary supplies for embroidery, such as fabric, thread, needles, and a hoop or frame.

2. Choose a thread that is suitable for the fabric you are using.

3. Select a design for your handkerchief and transfer it onto the fabric.

4. Work the design with a backstitch.

5. Create a French knot for texture and dimension.

6. Understand the chain stitch for creating curved lines.

7. Make a satin stitch for filling in areas of the design.

8. Add ribbon, yarn, or appliqué to add texture and color to the design.

9. Add a monogram or a chenille stitch to make the handkerchief extra special.

10. Enjoy the finished product!

Do you already have a design or pattern?

Many people already have a pattern or design they want to start with. But if you don’t, then you might want to consider doing a search on for embroidery designs. There are a lot of stores that offer a massive selection of flowers, leaves, geometric shapes, abstract patterns — and for the most part of very inexpensive. You may also want to choose something unique like an inspirational phrase or personal monogram

Although this guide discusses embroidering a handkerchief by hand, you might also consider patterns available in your embroidery machine (if you have one) or on other creative marketplaces that offer patterns.

So you’ve now got your handkerchief ready and you’ve decided what type of pattern or design you want to embroider!

Gathering the Right Supplies

You’ll next want to make sure you have your thread, needles, embroidery frame available.

Thread comes in a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, wool, and linen. And, choosing the right thread and needle is essential if you are embroidering a handkerchief. The thread should match the fabric and the embroidery you are doing. For example, use a white thread for stitching on a white fabric and vice versa.

And, if you are a newbie then you might find its easier to buy an embroidery kit online (or at your favorite craft store) that comes equipped with all the tools you use for embroidery; including hoops, frames, and different needle sizes.

The needle you choose also needs to be sharp, of course, and the right size for the thread you are using. If you are a newbie then you might find that having a kit just makes more sense than trying to cobble everything together at first.

Types of Stitches

In this guide we’ll discuss four different types of stitches that you can use when embroidering a handkerchief.

Working the Design with a Backstitch

The backstitch is the most common stitch used in embroidery. This stitch creates a strong line that is easy to follow and is also used for outlining and filling in small areas.

To create a backstitch, bring your needle up through the fabric at point A.
Then, take the needle down through the fabric at point B.

Pull gently on both ends of the thread to secure the stitch.

Creating a French Knot

You can add both texture and dimension to your design with a French Knot. To create it, wrap the thread around the needle twice and pull it through the fabric. To make the knot smaller, just wrap the thread around the needle less times.

Understanding the Chain Stitch

Large areas can be filled in and curving lines can be made with the chain stitch. This stitch is made by dragging the thread through the fabric after looping it around the needle. The fabric is then carefully dragged to one side, and the loops are closed with a little straight stitch. You can repeat this until your design is finished.

Making the Satin Stitch

The satin stitch is a decorative stitch used to fill in areas of a design. This stitch is created by making short, consecutive stitches in a row.

When its finished, the stitches will resemble the threads in a piece of satin. Satin stitching is used for filling in areas of a design. We work it from right to left and can be used to fill in shapes or outline areas with a satiny thread.

Finishing Touches to Perfect the Handkerchief

Once you’ve finished embroidering a handkerchief with you design, there are a few finishing touches you can add. You can add ribbon, yarn, or appliqué to add texture and color to your design.

You can also add a monogram or a chenille stitch to make the handkerchief extra special.

Although this rendering is very ornate, it show some of the fascinating work you can when embroidering a handkerchief!