Monday, 14 June 2010

Embroidered Napkins Using Stamps - Tutorial

I have no patience for cross-stitch or other counted types of embroidery, but I love to do freehand embroidery.  I wanted to make a gift for my friend who is a super-talented stamper.  I made her some embroidered cloth napkins using a Stampin'Up stamp set.

Cloth napkins to be embroidered (or whatever other fabric you want to embroider.)  Prewashed.
Embroidery thread
Embroidery hoop.  Not essential, but it does make things easier and smoother
Embroidery needle.
Stamps.  Simple line-drawings will be the easiest to follow, but other types could work.
Water-soluable ink.  I used Stampin'Up's colour spots, because that's what I had, and it washed out beautifully.
A fun drink (optional, but so tasty!)

Step 1: Stamp your image.  If you mess up, just stamp again in a different corner.  Water-soluable ink is very important ;-)  (sorry for the blurry pictures.  Next time I do this, I'll try to get clearer pictures to post).

Step 2: Thread your needle with two strands of embroidery thread in your chosen colour.  (separated from the usual 6 strands that the thread comes in).  Place your napkin in the embroidery hoop.  Poke your needle through the back of your fabric and pull the thread through, leaving a tail at the back about an inch long.  Be sure to catch the tail in the back of your first few stitches to secure it.  You can trim off the excess when you're done.

Step 3:  Use a backstitch to follow the lines of your stamp.  This video tutorial shows how to do a backstitch way better than I could explain.

I started from the simplest part of my stamp to get the hang of the embroidery before getting to the more complicated part.  I used a pretty small stitch.  The tighter your curve the smaller the stitch needed to make a smooth line.  So I just started with fairly small stitches. 

I skipped a few spots as I was stitching, and filled them in later.  I tried to keep the back as neat as possible, since in a napkin it wouldn't be covered.

Step 4:  When you've finished stitching your design, and your needle is on the back of your fabric, run the needle under the back of a few stitches and pull the thread through to secure it.  I did that 2 or 3 times, and I'm fairly certain it will hold up well.



Step 5:  Remove the embroidery hoop and wash the napkins however you normally wash table linens.  I just throw them in with the laundry.

Step 6:  Press the napkins, use starch if you want a really crisp look.  Fold nicely or dress them up with some pretty napkin rings.

If I was unclear about anything in this tutorial, or you have other questions, feel free to ask in the comments or email me.  Let me know if you give it a try.  I'd love to see pictures.

The Girl Creative


  1. ooooh, these are gorgeous! your embroidery is so lovely...
    I have half of an unused painter drop cloth that is linen-y in color- I wonder if I could make it into napkins to try this on?
    we have a linky party on fridays- we'd love it if you'd link to this! :)

  2. wow these are beautiful! If you told me you got them at pottery barn i would believe you!
    stopping by from sits!

  3. It ´s a great idea! I love hand embroidery.
    Hugs from Spain


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