Embroidered Wedding Hankies &
a Brush with Martha Stewart Magazine

When I first bought my home embroidery machine more than a decade ago, I remember my husband suggesting I would never get much use out of it.

Boy, was he ever wrong.

After all this time, I’m still amazed at the beautiful stitches and projects that can be created.

In fact, you can see more of my embroidery projects HERE.

While I’ve embroidered dozens of items over the years, my latest embroidered wedding hankie set is among my favorite.

These pretty hankies also have something my other embroidery projects do not… a Martha Stewart magazine backstory.

embroidery stitching

Last year, one of my readers contacted me to see if I would be willing to create an embroidered wedding hankie for her big day.

The bride-to-be used to be an assistant to Martha Stewart and she mentioned that she expected pictures from her wedding to appear in a wedding issue of Martha Stewart magazine.

I thought the hankie project would be fun but I was also excited about the possibility that my embroidery work might appear in the pages of Martha Stewart Weddings.

Very cool, right?

Martha Stewart Real Weddings magazine

The special Martha Stewart Real Weddings issue finally hit newsstands last week.

I knew ahead of time what day it was going to be available and I darted over to Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy.

Look at all the pretty dress shades on the cover.

This is such a great look with the bridesmaids wearing different dress styles but all staying within the same color palette.

Kate and Nick Beardsley

Anyway, I raced to the magazine pages that featured Kate and her new husband, Nick.

The pictures were lovely and really captured the beauty of their outdoor ceremony.

I turned to the last page in the spread and then I saw it…

Oh, before I finish this story, allow me to give you a closer look at the detail in the embroidered hankies.

I snapped these pictures before I shipped them off to Kate.

Monogrammed embroidery

My bouquet wraps were stitched onto 100% linen, which is among my favorite fabrics to work with.

I added a full backing to each one so that when either is flipped over, the “unsightly” backside stitching would not be visible.

That always makes for a much cleaner and elegant finish and allows the detailed embroidery shine even more.

wedding hankie embroidery

For added effect on the smaller hankie, I also included a box stitch border just under the main embroidery.

This delicate, heirloom stitch is actually quite easy to create using a wing needle.

I wrote a post on heirloom stitching and I think you’ll be surprised at how simple it is to create (even if you’re a novice in front of the sewing machine).

You can read that previous post HERE.

monogrammed hankies

Here’s a look at both finished hankies.

I wasn’t sure about the grip of the bouquet stems so, that’s why I ended up making two hankies so, Kate could choose which one worked best.

Heavy spray starch helped to ensure the hankies were nice and crisp before I tied them together with ivory, twill ribbon and a small name tag.

I also wrapped the hankies in white tissue paper to add to the elegant presentation.

My goal was to create and package-up everything so it looked as if it had come from an upscale boutique.

bridal bouquet

OK, getting back to Martha Stewart magazine.

I had already grabbed a seat in Barnes and Noble bookstore so that I could comfortably savor the big reveal.

I spotted the full page featuring the wedding bouquet which was wildly-styled but still stunning with its variety of flowers.

Oh, I thought to myself… “one of my embroidered hankies is wrapped around that bouquet“.  I couldn’t wait to see it.

Then… I saw it. No not my hankies… but the last page in the spread with no embroidered hankies in sight.

Oh, no. Did I miss the picture?

I thumbed through the article again, scrutinizing every photo to be sure I eyed everything on the page.

Nope. No hankies. Gorgeous wedding photos… but no embroidered hankies.

Somehow they ended up on the cutting room floor. Oh, well. It happens.

I’m certainly not taking it personally because I totally understand the editing process.

It’s all good.

Meanwhile, all the best to the newlyweds, Kate and Nick.

Martha Stewart Guide

Hey, I did get a shout-out in The Guide section in the back of this wedding issue as the source of the hankies (that’s very cool).

So, even though Martha Stewart wedding magazine readers may not get a glimpse of my embroidered handiwork, I’m still happy that I can share it with you here.

It was a fun prospect while it lasted but as the French say, “C’est la vie“.

Maybe next time, Martha.

Maybe next time.

handcrafted wedding hankie

Thanks for stopping by.

See  you back here next time. 


  • Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    You leave me speechless. I can’t stop gaping at your gorgeous design, although I’m not surprised because you are one talented, beautiful lady!! I don’t think I’ll be getting an embroidery machine anytime soon, I have two old sewing machines and one baby-lock machine I don’t use and need to get rid of. I really enjoy seeing what you’re up to — cakes, sewing, photography. I end up reading every last word and pinning to my heart’s content. Have a wonderful day. Sending hugs!!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Marisa, you’re so sweet. Thanks so much.
      I hope you decide to keep at least one of your sewing machines.
      I’d love to read about you dusting it off one day and putting it to good use.
      Don’t forget, all you need is a wing needle to create that heirloom stitching across the bottom of a napkin-lol.
      That could get you back in the sewing mood.
      Happy day and thanks again for all your support and sharing.

  • Martha Bilski

    Your beautiful work never dissapoints. So elegant.

  • Marsha Jones

    Lisa, beautiful work here. I love that you used linen fabric, they look vintage and hand embroidered. Congrats on having your work featured. Did you tea die the fabric?

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Hi Marsha, thanks so much.
      No, I didn’t dye the fabric at all.
      It’s just ivory-colored linen from my local fabric store.
      I haven’t done any tea dyeing yet but I have been researching that process.
      Do you have any tips for that?

  • Vicki

    “I turned to the last page in the spread and then I saw it…”
    And you leave us hang’n? That is sooo wrong but I laughed out loud!! Your artistry is stunning as usual.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      That’s called a classic “tease”, Vicki.
      It worked too-lol.
      Thanks for popping by. You know I appreciate you.
      Hope you have a wonderful week.

  • Rebecca

    I’m so disappointed for you because your wedding hankies are exquisite! Certainly worthy of Martha’s magazine, and just the sort of project that she is apt to feature. Any bride would be thrilled to receive such a gift. Thank you for sharing your talents and pictures with us!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks, Rebecca.
      Yes, the bride did email me after she received the hankies and they were exactly what she had in mind. I think she used the smaller one (with heirloom stitching) for her bouquet and the other one for her guest sign-in table.
      Fun project and this was a fun post to write too.
      Have a great week.

  • Carolyn Brown

    Beautiful Lisa! I look at the Source page when I Like to research things.A very good place to be.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks, Carolyn.
      Oh, that’s good to know. I always thought people only looked at the source list if they actually saw something they liked.
      I am happy to be listed and while it would have been nice to see my hankies in the mag… all is right with the world-lol.

  • Peggy Zortman

    Oh how exciting! Their loss. The handkerchiefs are just gorgeous? My Mom had an embroidery machine and made beautiful artwork. I had an Aunt who embroidered pillowcases for me all in white. I love embroidery and yours is exquisite.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Peggy, sounds like lots of embroidery-enthusiasts in your family.
      Do you do embroidery too?
      I’m glad you like mine and I appreciate you taking the time to let me know.
      Happy week.

  • jae

    Your embroidery work is exquisite. Crazy not to have it appear in the magazine! I am cerain the bride treasures your beautiful hankies.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      I appreciate that, Jae.
      You know I’m totally cool with the outcome and the hankies were fun to make.
      Thanks for your sweet comment.

  • [email protected] Designs

    Oh how so exciting to have made that exquisite hankie for the beautiful bride and have a mention in the magazine….yes, it would have been awesome to have it portrayed in the feature. 🙁 I have so loved all of your embroidery projects. I think I may need to think about getting that machine! Congrats Lisa!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks Shirley!
      It’s all good. I’m happy my blog even got mentioned and I know the bride loved the hankies too.
      Let me know if you decide to look into getting an embroidery machine. I have tons of tips for you.
      Have a wonderful week.

  • Davina

    Those are just beautiful. I love the linen, the color of the embroidery and the designs are just so elegant. Well done!

  • Sue Glass

    Love this article. I have one question that I didn’t find the answer to in your How to buy an embroidery machine article. Do some machines let you create your own designs or are you limited to what is programmed into the machine?
    Sue Glass

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks, Sue.
      Most upper-price range home embroidery machines will allow you to create your own designs. However, it does require separate software to “digitize” the designs. Within the software, you can design your own images, assign thread colors and thread thickness and a whole lot more.
      Digitizing can be a little complicated and some shops that sell the embroidery machines offer digitizing classes to help customers understand how to use the software. You can also download embroidery designs from the web and upload them to your embroidery machine to be stitched out.
      I believe there are several tutorials online that help illustrate how this is done.
      There are tons of stunning individual designs online in addition to collections that can be purchased which feature multiple images.
      One of my favorite online embroidery design sources is the Embroidery Library.
      I’ve made quite a few lovely projects featuring those designs which you can see in the embroidery category in my navigation bar.
      Hope that helps.

  • dana

    you and your creations are so amazing Lisa. truly. my mother in law got me a very basic sewing machine for my birthday last year. i have NO idea how to use it (well… between being a novice and having a 2 yr old) but I want to make the heirloom napkins you featured a while back. your work is so stunning and inspiring.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Oh, Dana the heirloom napkins are super simple.
      If you have a sewing machine, you can make these. All it takes is that wing needle.
      Don’t forget, if you don’t have time to actual make the napkins, just pick up a few from your favorite shop and add the stitching across the bottom using the wing needle. Very easy, I promise but if you get stuck on anything, just drop me a line and I’ll walk you through it.

  • Patti

    Absolutely beautiful! You are talented in so many ways!

  • Sherry

    Even if they were not on a magazine page, they take my breath away. I savored the first post you did on embroidery again and again. Your work is impeccable as always. Lucky, lucky bride. Your packaging was also exquisite. I love your blog! Wait, I think I have said that before! Thank you for sharing your creative flare!!

  • Donna

    How very exciting that was for you. So sorry they cut that. But like you, we understand it happens. But it was beautiful work. You really shined on that beauty. I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t get many more orders for pieces of work like that. Truly deserving of applause. Many people do machine embroidery, but not so many get this request. I think your husband should retract that statement and take you out for a nice dinner to celebrate this with you!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Donna, I’m going to be sure to share your comment with my husband. I agree-lol.
      Glad you like the hankies and you’re so sweet to take the time to let me know.
      Thanks and have a great week.

  • Lynn Spencer

    Wow…first of all, those hankies are drop dead gorgeous! I have never considered an embroidery machine, but my mind is whirring with the possibilities. I love embroidered pillow cases and sheets and I would imagine this machine would make that so do-able! Hmmm….

    And props to you for even being approached by Martha! That’s huge in and of itself!

    Have a great day Lisa!

    Hugs, Lynn

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks so much Lynn.
      Actually, it was the bride-to-be who contacted me, not Martha herself (smile).
      Also, if you think you might be interested in a home embroidery machine, I have a great post that may give you some guidance on how to find the best one for you.
      Here’s the link:
      How to Buy an Embroidery Machine
      I bought mine years ago and it’s still one of the best investments I’ve ever made. It revolutionized my gift-giving.
      Happy weekend to you.

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