DIYdiy projects

diy project: amanda’s embroidered handkerchiefs

by Grace Bonney

this sweet diy project comes from d*s reader amanda gibson. amanda was feeling very crafty and wanted to make her husband a personal gift for his birthday. amanda explained, “he is a graphic designer and last summer started his own firm. he’s handkerchief kind of guy, so i hand embroidered a set of handkerchiefs with his logo as a gift!” i think this is such a thoughtful idea if you have someone on your life that uses or likes handkerchiefs. thank you so much to amanda for sharing this great project with us!

CLICK HERE for the full project after the jump!


Embroidered Handkerchiefs by Amanda Gibson

From Amanda: I wanted to celebrate my husband’s 28th birthday with a handmade gift that would be useful and also commemorate the one year anniversary of his design firm, 903 Creative. It had been years since I had last dabbled in embroidery, but with the help of some great instructional videos these hand-embroidered handkerchiefs were fun and easy to make. You can see more images of the project right here!


-handkerchief (vintage or new will work)
-embroidery hoop


Step 1: I purchased a pack of handkerchiefs at Target and spent a half-hour watching the easy-to-follow instructional videos on needlenthread.com.


Step 2: Because the hankies were a birthday present for my husband I couldn’t ask him for a printout of his logo to use as a pattern without him getting suspicious. So I pulled up his site on our iPod Touch. I used the stretch feature to perfectly size the logo, then traced over it on each handkerchief with a pencil.


Step 3: Using the stitches I learned on needlenthread.com I outlined each 903 with a backstitch and used a basic short stitch to fill in the inside. I used a different color thread for each hankie to mix things up.

And voila! Handmade love. Aaron was surprised and loved the finished product.

Suggested For You


  • Lovely hankies! But completely off the subject-where is September’s desktop wallpaper?

  • love this! i hope you dont mind, but i’m going to make these for my man’s upcoming birthday too. for someone who has to wear business 5 days a week, his poor face tends to bead sweat on a hot day. how lovely and classic to pull out a handkerchief instead of a napkin!

  • that is such a sweet idea. i think this would make the perfect gift for my dad because he always has a handkerchief on hand.

  • this is absolutely lovely. i’m with jwookie…i’d love to make these for my husband’s birthday.

    handmade is really special, and there’s just something about an embroidered handkerchief. makes me think of the scene in “you’ve got mail” where meg ryan explains what a handkerchief is to the little girl in her shop: “it’s a Kleenex you don’t throw away!”

  • Amanda’s work is beautiful and it perfectly captures Aaron’s clean aestetic and small town approach (super friendly guy).

    As aside, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Aaron quite a bit this summer – his work is unbelievable. If anyone is interested in solid design thinking and work – check him out.

  • Not only is she a crafty woman, she’s a wonderful person! These are beautiful – I hope Aaron had a wonderful birthday!

  • I remember always asking to borrow my dad’s handkerchiefs when i was younger but it seems no one carries them around nowadays – perhaps adding a little something special like this would help bring them back (and they are so much more eco-friendly than tissues!)

  • These are beautiful. I always carry kleenex around, but handkerchiefs are much more pleasant, since you don’t see quite as many.

  • these are great. one question: how’d you embroider them all yourself and still make them a “surprise?”

  • Thanks so much for this idea. It’s absolutely perfect for my hubby. He always has lovely handkerchiefs ( one of the reasons I fell in love with him – weird!) so this would be a super surprise!

  • Thanks guys! I made them when I was on business trips and while Aaron was napping. They weren’t very time consuming, and he was actually surprised!

  • i am interesting in embroidering handkerchiefs for my wedding. i am having a difficult time finding instructions for stitches. everything i find shows the cross-stitch stitches using the fabric with the defined squares on where to sew, so i am a little confused how to translate it on a handkerchief. and i’m not sure what the best stitch is for filling in the monogram is. anyone have any advice? thanks!

  • I love your idea. What I want to do is import router something for a couple that are going to be married onto a handkerchief that she can carry with her down the aisle. Do you have any designs or. Embroider pattern that I might use to go by to hand-embroidered this on and handkerchief I would buy?

  • I reread my comment and I see there was a mistake. I want to hand embroider a pattern on to a handkerchief

  • Great idea, I’m going to use this as a gift idea for my husband on our 4th wedding anniversary. our initial and the date!

  • So your hanky’s look great…but can you tell me what the backside looked like? Is it messy looking did you do anything special so that the stitches don’t show messy? Thanks..