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I recently tried out what was a new craft for me: hand embroidery! I have always loved the look of vintage embroidery, but wanted to put my...

New Year, New Craft

10:34 PM , , ,

I recently tried out what was a new craft for me: hand embroidery! I have always loved the look of vintage embroidery, but wanted to put my own twist on it. I decided to make some of those pretty hand stitched kitchen towels to give as Christmas gifts, and, well, I got hooked!

For those of you who haven't tried this craft before, here's a little blog post on how to throw some kitchen towels together - with some free patterns at the end! I had been intimidated by this craft for a while, as I'm not much of a seamstress; but I've since learned that this craft is fun & forgiving! I need more practice, though I'm still happy with how my first projects turned out.

To get started I picked up:

  • flour sack towels {After trial and error with several brands, my favorite were Aunt Martha's available at craft stores, and K-Mart's did okay as well. My lease favorite were from Walmart & Target.}
  • 6" embroidery hoop
  • embroidery needles {a good needle threader is a must, too!}
  • embroidery transfer pen {with water soluble ink}
  • scissors
  • embroidery floss {less than 40 cents a skein at craft stores}
  • ric-rac {optional}
  • a pattern to transfer! {see my own hand drawn ones below!}
First, I washed & then pressed the flour sack towels into the folded shape I desired so that the front panel centered the image on the towel.
There are other methods for transferring patterns, but since flour sack towels are easy to see a pattern through, I simply inserted my pattern under the top layer of the folded towel.
Take the transfer pen and gently trace the pattern onto the towel itself.
Now you're ready to start embroidering. Embroidery floss comes with 6 strands, so if you want a finer look to your stitching you can separate and use as many strands as you like. I typically use all 6 strands, but for fine details I would occasionally use 3 or 4 strands.

To learn the basic stitches, there are various websites that offer free tutorials. I used a lot of stitches from Sarah's Hand Embroidery Tutorials, with the stem stitch and the back stitch being my favorite.

I also picked up this book, Embroidered Effects by Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching. This book is amazing! It has a bunch of gorgeous iron on patterns and pretty much teaches you everything you need to know to get started with embroidery.
When I finished the pattern, I pulled out my sewing machine and added a quick ric-rac trim to the bottom. I think this part adds an adorable finishing touch!
And of course, you don't have to stick with just flour sack towels. Now that I have some experience under my needle I have started embroidering other items as well - such as these onesies for my new baby girl who is almost here!
The pattern on the left was hand drawn by myself, the adorable cupcake on the right is from Wild Olive.

I will also share my own patterns with you! Please DO NOT use these patterns commercially or sell them. Feel free to use all you like for yourself or gifting.

Click to enlarge, right click to save, and edit sizing as desired in your favorite image editor.


And Happy New Year!

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3 *´¯`* ℓσvεℓү cσммεηтs *´¯`*

  1. ummm these are amazing! I think I am going to have to do some of these. I love the patterns. I don't think I have ever seen such beautiful, right down my ally, tea towels. even at anthro. Amazing heather! You are so talented!

  2. Thanks, Kara! Have you ever done hand embroidery before?

    I LOVE Anthro's kitchen towels. I can't believe you just compared mine to theirs :::blushing:::

  3. great like it thanks for shearing nice way of swing the cloths



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