Handstitched Love Grams

I love Valentine's Day!  It is such a fun way to share a little love with friends, kiddos and sweethearts.  Maybe it's because it comes during winter and we seem to have more time to craft, but I like to hand make my Valentine's.  A handmade valentine takes me back to grade school.  These handstitched Love Grams are so easy to make.  They are simple and can be made by anyone whether you are new to embroidery or a seasoned stitcher.

Our Love Grams are what you would call a multi-medium craft project.  Multi-medium meaning you use lots of different types of arts to make one amazing piece!  The base for these love-notes is a very inexpensive painters canvas that you can pick up at any craft section or hobby store.  They come in all sizes, so you can make one littlie bitty or big.  The size I used was the 5" x 7".  I wanted it big enough to slide into a shipping envelope and wall or easel sized for display.

With the canvas paint boards, you can paint, glue or stitch through them.  Yes, I said stitch!  Needles go right through the canvas with no effort at all which makes it easy to embroidery on.

Love Gram Materials

Canvas Paint Boards
Scraps of Fabric
Large Crewel Needle
DMC Pearl Cotton Thread
Glue Stick
Pinking Shears
Buttons, Pins, Lace or Ribbon
Frixion Pen

Gather your supplies and put on a good movie and get ready to have some fun!  With your canvas in front of you, measure the height of you want your base heart.  Use a Frixion heat sensitive pen to trace out the shape of a heart.  I like to do this by folding a piece of fabric in half and trace the half shape of the heart.  I use Pinking Shears (zig zag scissors) to cut the heart shape out.  I like to use the Pinking Shears because the zig zag edge gives a raw look and keeps your edges from fraying.

Turn the heart over and use a glue stick to adhere the fabric heart to the canvas.  The glue dries and holds the fabric scraps in place fairly quickly while you stitch it down.  I try to glue about 1/4" from the edge.  

Layer other strips of fabric, fussy cut flowers or other designs on top of each other with the glue stick.  Let set for an hour or so.  

The stitching is so simple!  I use a long crewel needle with a large eye.  This allows me to use thicker threads that stand up on top of the stitching and have a more vintage look.  For these Love Grams I used Pearl Cotton 5 from DMC.  This is a twisted thread that looks thick and so pretty on hand stitched projects.  You can find Pearl Cotton at most craft stores.

To begin stitching, cut a length about 3 feet long.  Thread one end through the needle and pull through so one foot is through the needle.  Tie a simple knot in the long end of the string.  To start stitching, hold the canvas in one hand and with the other hold the needle and come from underneath through to the top (under to the top).

The stitches that I used for these Love Grams is inspired by the Sachiko stitching that is very visible and  meant to be boldly seen.  Rough, imperfect stitching with x's and tack stitching.  Uneven rows of simple dashes.  These simple stitching look vintage and are so beautiful on layered fabrics.  Have fun with the tacking down of edges, make a few x's in random spots.  If you are unsure, use your Frixion pen to draw on where you want to stitch.  (Frixion pen removes with heat.)  

You can see up close how imperfect the stitches are on the above heart.   I love them together to make something that looks patched and well loved, which every heart should be!

On the envelope Love Gram I drew the straight lines on with my Frixion pen and did a straight stitch to make a continuous line.  For the lettering, I also used the Frixion pen and stitched the letters on.  If you are unsure about this, you an substitute handstitched lettering with button letter tiles or buttons.  As well, you could hand letter on cardstock and stitch the paper to the fabric and canvas just as you stitched on the fabric hearts and patches.  Remember, this is a multi-medium project so be creative!

On the return label heart I wanted to stitch a couple of roses to match the rose fabric on the stamp.  I used the wagon wheel rose stitch that can be found on the Tweetle Dee Design YouTube channel.  I stitched down some buttons for embellishment and tacked down some little jewelry pieces for fun.   

When you are finished with the stitching and embellishment, tie off your threads on the back and print off a message for your Valentine, and tuck it onto the back under the wood.  You can print the lyrics to a favorite song or a poem, whatever you print or write will be a gift as well as your hand stitched heart.  

I even made some little minis with small glued and tacked fabric hearts and one with a iron on patch from the fabric store.  I added a strip of ribbon across them and slid a darling hair pin across as an extra gift.  On the back I glued a little love message.  The total cost including the hair pin was under 4$.  

To watch my KUTV Fresh Living interview on these darling handstitched Love Grams tune in on Friday, January 22.  I'll be sharing how to add little gifts to your Love Gram and make it something unforgettable.  

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