Hand-Embroidering Napkins

When it comes to dinner parties and events, personal touches make the experience that much more special; for both host and guest. Bespoke details are a go-to when wanting to add a truly unique element. In our latest “At-Home” series, we employed the recent trend in customized and hand-embroidered, everything. After all, our mission at L’entramise, is dilute any lines existing between personal style and tabletop. Put it this way – if you’ll wear it on a t-shirt, consider having your table wear it as well.  Case and point: why not bring the stitch-craze du’jour to the table? Here’s how we did it . . .
The Setup
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  • napkin(s)
  • lined paper
  • pencil
  • fine-tipped marker
  • vanishing ink or water-soluble marker
  • embroidery hoop
  • embroidery needle (we used size 5)
  • embroidery floss
  • scissors

The Design
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To come up with text for our bespoke napkin project, we first brainstormed some sayings that directly related to the subject matter – that being, dinner. We came up with several options and decided to execute our favorites – “where’s the caviar?” and “wine and dine me, baby”. For our specific purposes, a playful flair was just what we were going for. But, if you’re not feeling so creative, or if you are looking to set a more serious tone – your guest’s names or an event-specific monogram will do the trick. Using a pencil, write your saying or sketch your design onto lined paper (draft as many as needed until you are happy, in this step), then sketch right over your final pencil selection with a pen or a marker – so that it will be more legible in the next step.
The Transfer
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Place your lined paper with your final markered-in saying or design on a window or lightbox, and position the napkin on top. Carefully trace your design onto the fabric using your water-soluble marker. (note: our transfer is not super visible in photos due to the fact that both napkin and soluble marker were blue)
The Hoop
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Stretch your napkin over the smaller ring of your embroidery hoop, so that your design lays flat over top. Then keeping the napkin taught, fit the larger ring around the napkin and tighten so that it fits snugly.
The Stitch
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There are many ways to stitch – but for this project we recommend the “backstitch”. A few tips will keep your project flowing smoothly . . .  When embroidering your napkin, stitch your design in the same sequence as you would wrote/drew it. Cut your embroidery thread about 20-24 inches long (you may or may not have to feed more thread later to complete your design). Depending on desired thickness – you can decide how many threads you want to embroider with; standard embroidery thread contains 6 threads – so, for a daintier design, you might consider using just 3 or 4 a (we used 4). Tie a knot at one end of the thread, and with the other side, thread the needle (leaving a tail a few inches long for security). When you’re ready to start sewing, select your starting point and thread through (starting from the back of the napkin and moving the needle through to the front of the napkin). For your first stitch, you will want to be sure to pull your thread all the way through so that the knot hits the back of the fabric (avoid pulling too tightly). Trace the thread along your design, using the backstitch technique, until complete. Last noteworthy tip – when you have an inch or two of thread left, be sure to tie and secure at back.
The End
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Drumroll please . . . might we admit that our table looks pretty cool in this fashion-driven trend? For this table, we decided to use identical napkins – with different sayings and colors of thread, at each setting. When setting your table or taking on an at-home project, like this one, there is no way to do it. Its up to you entirely – match or mismatch, light-hearted or sophisticated – the option are endless, and that is what’s fun about table setting. It is an opportunity in itself to express your own personal style.

Show us your take on this At-Home tabletop embroidery project. Tag us @lentramise and use the hashtag #lentramiseathome

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