How to Embroider Handkerchiefs

Updated April 17, 2017

You can find vintage handkerchiefs at antique stores with beautiful edging and embroidery. But maybe you can't find the right initial or perfect design for a gift. Embroider your own handkerchiefs with these simple steps. The available patterns for embroidery are endless, such as initials and floral designs, or you can design your own patterns. An embroidered handkerchief is a meaningful gift that doesn't take long or cost much to make.

Choose a transfer pattern for your design. Cut out the pattern leaving plenty of white space around the pattern to hold while you iron. Turn off the steam and preheat the fabric. Place the pattern face down on the handkerchief, and hold the iron over the pattern for 10 seconds. Remove the paper.

Place your handkerchief in a hoop. Lay the handkerchief over the bottom hoop, and secure the adjustable hoop over the top. Tighten the bolt. Pull on the handkerchief gently until it is tight like a drum.

Thread your needle and knot the end of the embroidery thread.

Pull the needle through the starting point in your pattern. To make a back stitch, first make a single stitch. Then, follow the pattern line but skip a stitch and come up through the fabric one stitch ahead. Bring the needle down through the hole at the end of your last stitch. Repeating these steps will create a straight or curving line.


Hold the iron still while transferring your pattern to prevent a permanently ghosted image on your handkerchief.

Things You'll Need

  • Handkerchief
  • Hoop
  • Transfer pattern
  • Iron
  • Embroidery thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Kim Nentrup has been writing professionally since 2006 as a staff writer for not-for-profit organizations, specializing in writing arts-related content. She has written for,, and Nentrup holds a B.S. in visual art with an emphasis in education from Indiana Wesleyan University.