DYI: How to Make Embroidered Monogrammed Hankies

Christian just fell asleep. He has just set a record for the most hours he has ever stayed awake consecutively – where has that second morning nap gone? I’ve taken to wearing him in a Moby wrap, which seems to be easier on my back than the sling (peanut shell), but that means I can only do walking around things: cleaning house, putting away dishes, taking out trash and I was seriously hankering for some computer time.

Ahhhhhh. I am very tempted to go make myself a cup of tea and heat up a spanakopita (spinach and feta in phyllo that I made last night)… wait, can’t resist at least a cup of buddha’s tears.

The living room is a mess because I am in the middle of making Christmas gifts. Gifts that I am excited about, but I CAN’T POST ABOUT – for obvious reasons. Darn. So, I’ve decided to post about a gift I’ve frequently made in the past. I will add pictures soon.

This post is also dedicated to all the wonderful bloggers who take the time to post DYI’s. I have been thrilled to find clearly-written, well-photographed directions for just about anything I could possible imagine making on a sewing machine.

I started by just randomly trying to monogram a hankie for Chad for Valentine’s Day one year. It came out terribly (although Chad still uses it). My friend Anna Merritt, who is an extraordinary quilt-maker and overall crafty person, clucked over my first attempt and verbally gave me the following directions that I have now used to make at least a couple dozen sets of monogrammed hankies.

White cotton handkerchiefs that you have monogrammed by hand make a terrific gift any time of the year. Not only do they promote sustainability (no more tissue boxes!), but each hankie is a pocket-sized project that is easy to carry around. I normally make a set of three, and I have been asked more than once to make a second set.

You will need:

White Cotton Handkerchiefs  (widely available)

Embroidery Floss

Embroidery Hoop


Washable Sewing Marker/Pen

Computer Printouts of the Monograms You Want To Sew (this may take some trial and error to figure which font and size you want – I used a different font with almost every set)

1. Cut out the computer print-out of the monogram you want to use – just so that the piece of paper is about the size of an index card. Tape it to a window or sliding glass door where it is sunny. The window will be your “lightbox.”

2. Tape the fabric over the monogram, making sure to line up the fabric over the monogram where you want the monogram to go. You should be able to see through the handkerchief easily. I usually put the monogram in the corner.

3. Use the washable sewing pen to trace the outline of the letters.

4. Untape all. I usually save the monogram template by taping it to an index card along with with a strand of the color floss I used.

5. Stretch the hankie in the small embroidery hoop, centering the letters.

6. Use back stitch and outline the first letter. Then go back and use satin stitch to fill the letter in, stitching over the back stitch outline. The back stitch gives volume.

7. Repeat for each letter.

8. Wash and iron.

9. Done!

Tip: Hide knots under the satin stitch.

Believe me, this is an easy project. The only other time I did embroidery was when I was a Pioneer Girl ( like Girls Scouts – but we didn’t sell cookies) in elementary school!

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