DIY Swear word embroidered hankies

What could be sweeter than cuss words sewn into a vintage floral hanky?

First of all I have to say that this Swear Word Embroidered Hanky is not an original idea and I found several versions of this hanky on Etsy and other websites. So if this is not your type of craft but you want one please support any one of the small business that do a version of this. 🙂

Swear word hanky

Do you picture yourself years from now, surrounded by your great grandchildren, one of them with the sniffles and out from your giant old purse or the pocket of your well worn coat comes one of one of these beauties? The kids ask “Hey what does that say?” You respond in a gravely voice “It says “Oh Shit,” doesn’t your mother teach you anything? Here wipe your nose. Where’s your father, I need a nap!” Or something like that. You will definitely need to have a bunch of these on hand and I will show you how you can make your own.

These are easy enough to embroider but if this is your first time I would plan on doing at least one practice version. I did one and learned a lot from it. (Scroll to the end for the “Boogers” practice version.)

Swear word hanky


Vintage hankies – washed and ironed
Embroidery thread
Sewing needle (eye should be large enough for 3 strands of thread)
Washable pencil
Embroidery hoop
Hem ripper – optional
Lined Paper
Wide marker

Swear word hanky

I am reusing vintage hankies for this project which are washed and ironed. First decide on what phrases or words you want to add to your hanky. On your lined paper write out the words in a simple way keeping in mind that the fancier you make it the more detailed the stitching will need to be. Also keep in mind the area of your hanky that will have the words – don’t make the words too giant or too small unless that is your intention.

Swear word hanky

Center your words in the middle of the hanky by placing your written paper under your hanky. Trace the words onto your hanky using a water soluble pencil or marker.

Swear word hanky

Place the hanky in the embroidery hoop so that the fabric is slightly stretched and it will be easier to stitch than if it was loose. Embroidery thread comes with six strands. I found it best to work with only three strands so cut your length of thread you want to work with and separate it into two threads containing three strands each.

Swear word hanky

I am using a “Stem” or “Outline” stitch. You begin by knotting your thread and bringing it though to the right side of the fabric at one end of the line you are embroidering (top photo). Take a stitch 1/4 inch away down into the fabric (bottom photo).

Swear word hanky

Point the needle back a little way before drawing it though the right side of the fabric again (top photo). You are bringing the first stitch up halfway between the two points. Then Make another stitch the same way but the length of the stitch can be shorter for a more consistent look (bottom photo).

Swear word hanky

The second stitch and all following stitches will come up through the same space that the last stich went down through as shown in this top photo. When you bring your needle up keep it on the same side of the loop of thread for neater looking stitches.

Continue stitching until you get to the end of the line. Bring your needle back down to the wrong side of the fabric, knot it, stitch it through a couple of threads on the underside and clip off the thread neatly.

Swear word hanky

Start the next portion of stitching and continue until your words are complete.

Swear word hanky

Once you are done with your stitching rinse out the washable marker or pencil and iron your hanky.

Swear word hanky
Swear word hanky
Swear word hanky

I think these would make great gifts!

Here is the practice hanky I did to try the stitching and see how many threads I should use. This vintage hanky had more age spots so it was a good one to practice on. You can see that after doing this one I decided that the larger lettering would look better. Have fun with this!

Swear word hanky

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Meet Jane

Welcome! I’m Jane, and I am obsessed with crafting, cooking, decorating, gardening, repurposing castoffs and general DIYing.

This blog focuses on creating on a budget, creative and fun projects that will add a bit of amusement to everyday life, cause lets face it, sometimes life isn’t so easy. My projects aim to be simple while also being Eco and budget friendly with a sense of humor or a sarcastic twist.
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