Class up some ordinary cloth dinner napkins with a charming chain of hearts for Valentine’s Day. Based on the chain stitch, this simple embroidery technique can be learned in a snap. Along with delicious food and a little candlelight, these eco-friendly reusable decorations are a sweet way to share some love. –
The full how-to is after the jump!
Select your embroidery thread; here I’ve chosen a range of corals and reds to complement the muted tomes of my napkins. Cut a piece about 2’ long, separate the 6 strands into two 3-strand lengths, and thread your needle with one of these. Tie a knot in the long tail.
All of the stitches in your chain of hearts will fall on three parallel lines- two outer points for the peaks of the heart and a center axis of symmetry. You can draw these three lines onto the napkin with a vanishing fabric marker, with the outer lines about 1/4” apart. I’ve labeled them A, B, and C in the images below.
The chain of hearts stitch:
1. Insert your needle at the beginning of chain through line B, drawing the thread from the back of the napkin to the front. About 3/16” up the line, insert the needle into line B and bring it out at line A at a 45 degree angle. With the tail of the thread underneath the point of the needle, draw the needle through. You have made the left lobe of the heart.
2. Reinsert the needle at the point on line A it just exited, with the thread wrapping over the peak of the heart’s left lobe to hold the arch in place. Come back through the napkin on line B where you began step 1, at the point of the heart.
3. Repeat step 1 for the right lobe of the heart: About 3/16” up the line, insert the needle into line B and bring it out at line C at a 45 degree angle. With the tail of the thread underneath the point of the needle, draw the needle through.
4. Reinsert the needle at the point on line C it just exited, with the thread wrapping over the peak of the heart’s right lobe. Come back through the napkin on line B between the peaks, at the start of the next heart in the chain.
To finish the chain, end on the back of the napkin at line C after completing a heart. Draw the needle under one of the stitches, make a knot around it, and cut the tail.