For as long as I can remember, my dad has never been without a handkerchief in his pocket. And I can’t tell you how many times he’s come to my rescue with one – even to this day, when I far too often find myself without a tissue in the most vulnerable situations. Surprisingly enough, I’ve never purchased one until recently, when I came across a lot of adorable handkerchief squares at my local fabric store. They were just begging to be embroidered, so of course I bought 10. Today, I’ll show you how to make a stem stitch, a more versatile cousin to the chain stitch, so that you, too, can be inspired to make and gift you or a friend a chic handkerchief!

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You’ll need:

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Start by cutting the desired pattern, design or letters from the embroidery transfer pack. Lay the designs face down onto the handkerchief, which should be ironed flat.

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With the iron on high and dry, press the transfer onto the handkerchief. You can move it back and forth gently, just be sure not to shift the pattern. You also pin the pattern down first before ironing to ensure it says in place. Carefully lift one of the corners to make sure the design transferred onto the fabric.

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Separate the embroidery hoop. Lay the handkerchief over the inner hoop and lay the outer hoop over it. Tighten hoop until the fabric is taut.

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Thread the needle with embroidery floss, tie the end into a double knot and bring it up from the far left corner of the design. Bring it back down a stitch length away but don’t pull it all the way through.

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Put the needle back up between the first and second hole and pull tight. Each time you should make sure the working thread – the thread that already on the surface – is BELOW the needle. You’ll notice in the photo below that the looped floss is below the needle. This will ensure that the stitches all face the same direction. I like to rotate the hoop so that the lines I’m embroidering are always parallel to myself so I know to always keep the working thread downwards. Next, push the needle down through another stitch length away . . .

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Don’t pull the floss all the way through. Leave a loop and now pull the needle back up – but this time, right below the first stitch. Remember, keep the working thread below the needle!

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Bring the needle back down a stitch length. Keep a loop, not pulling the floss all the way down and bring the needle up at the bottom of the last stitch. Working thread facing down? Good!

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Keep going until you’ve reached the end of a line. I like to just tie it off into a double knot in the back and start fresh with a new line.

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When you begin a new line, you’ll need to start again the starter stitch – pulling the needle up, down a stitch length and up again halfway between the first and second holes. And then continue as normal.

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With it comes to curves, just follow the lines.

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Once you’re done, remove the embroidery hoop and iron flat!

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Store in your purse, or pocket . . . and wipe those tears with grace!

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(images by HonestlyWTF)