Hand-Stitched Valentine Tutorial

i love you!

I love hand written notes. I recently found a birthday card from my Pop from back during the high school years. It wasn't long or full of Pop wisdom. It just simply had my name and his and a wish for a great birthday, but since my Pop passed away when I was in college, seeing his handwriting made me stop a minute. And even though I came across it on a cleaning and purging mission, I stuck it back in the Keep pile...of course!

That's the great thing about handwriting. It's a piece of that person, completely them. You recognize it, even years after the fact, even without their signature. No matter what you think of your own handwriting, your loved ones love seeing it, trust me. Why not take an hour or so and make something completely you to give to them - perfect for Valentine's Day or any occasion. This one I'll tuck into my daughter's lunchbox, long after Feb 14. She's still into this mushy Mommy stuff.

What you'll need:
-one piece of muslin, any size. I cut mine 7" tall and 6" wide
-one piece of flannel, same size as the muslin.
-one piece of quilt batting, slightly smaller than the other two pieces. Mine is 6" tall and 5" wide.
(if you don't have quilt batting, you can use a double piece of flannel, just cut the second piece slightly smaller)
-Some DMC embroidery floss in the colors of your choice. I used a charcoal gray and a red.
-A disappearing ink pen. But if you don't have one of those, a pencil is just fine too.
- A piece of notebook paper.

You do not need a sewing machine for this project!

First fold your notebook paper to about the size of your piece of muslin. A close approximation is fine. Doesn't have to be perfect. Then write your note out in pencil, however you'd like it to look. I just chose "i love you", but you could make it personal, an inside joke, a sweet sentiment, whatever. This just helps you to visualize where your words will go on the muslin, work out any kinks, etc.

Next, fold the muslin into quarters to find the center point. Using the folds as a guide, write your first word. I chose to work from the center out. As you'd probably suspect the disappearing ink disappears as it dries, so one word at a time is best. Once you have your first word written, place the muslin on top of the batting, so that the batting is centered behind the muslin. You can pin the two pieces together.

Cut a piece of floss. The DMC floss is 6-ply. You can use all 6 layers, or you can untwist it to use 3 layers at a time. I used 3. 6-ply would create a thicker stitch. Put a knot in one end and thread a hand-stitch needle. Poke the needle from back to front at the start of your word. Make about a 1/4" stitch.

Pick a point about 1/4" from your first stitch and come up for the second stitch. You'll try to go back into the work right where the last stitch left off.

Continue on, following your written line. When you come to the curves, make your stitches a little shorter. That will help make the curves as even as possible.

When you come to the end of the thread (about 6" left), or if you are at the end of the word, you'll have to make a knot to hold the stitches. Turn to the back of the work. poke your needle through the back of the work, making sure it doesn't come through to the muslin layer.

Let's take a minute to talk about my hands in the next few pictures. Either you weren't ever going to notice and now I'm drawing attention to them, (wishful thinking) or you were going to sit there and be totally distracted by them - Bingo! Let's just say that I'm totally aware of how dry and beat up they are. Yes, I use lotion. No, it doesn't make a difference.

Back to your thread...As you pull the thread through, you'll have a shrinking loop. Before the loop is pulled snug, poke your needle through the loop, making a little knot. Then pull it taut. Repeat one more time. Then cut the thread, leaving a bit of a tail.

Continue working until all your words are traced on and stitched, ending and restarting thread as needed, changing colors where you like.  When you're done, lay your stitched piece onto the flannel piece. Again, you can pin all the layers together.

Thread the needle once again with thread for the border. Separate the layers a bit so that you can catch the knot in the end of the needle in between the layers. Poke the needle from the middle to the front of the work.

From this point, you'll work through all 3 layers of the fabric sandwich.

If you push the needle from the front to the back and back to the front before pulling the needle all the way through, it makes making straight stitches a bit easier...if you're into that sort of thing.

Work all the way around, finishing with the poke, loop, knot technique - again, between the layers.
Cut your thread and you are done!

Ta-da! A little love note for your little loves! You can trim up the sides if you need to, and then it's ready to go.

If you make one, will you let me know? I'd love to see it! Tag @daisylanedesign on Instagram or use #DLDvalentine

:) xo allison


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