The best embroidery fonts for handkerchiefs

By on October 21st, 2020
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best fonts for embroidering on handkerchiefs
free machine embroidery designs

Machine embroidery on handkerchief is a common request for anyone providing embroidery services. But, embroidering on handkerchiefs can be tricky. They are small and delicate, and oftentimes the customer requests long words and phrases to be stitched out on the hankie. For optimal results, you need to choose a typeface that’s appropriate for the task. Choosing a typeface that is too heavy and dense will result in illegible writing and buckling of the fabric. Only certain very small and delicate fonts will stitch out nicely on these dainty fabrics. And, if you need to stitch out a paragraph of text, you’ll need the letters to be quite small. So, if you are faced with this tasks, it’s helpful to know some of best embroidery fonts for handkerchiefs.

Why embroider on a handkerchief?

There are a number of reasons why people want phrases, names and monograms embroidered on a handkerchief. I’ve seen embroidered handkerchiefs requested for a variety of events. For example, a consoling message about someone who has passed might be given out as a keepsake at funerals.

I’ve also seen embroidered handkerchiefs given to family and friends and at weddings to thank them for being part of the day. In either case, it’s a useful item for the recipient who may be shedding a tear.

best embroidery fonts for handkerchiefs for a wedding
Photo provided by Jessica Barrett and used with her permission Visit her Facebook page.

Another instance where embroidered handkerchiefs may be given is a special gift for a bride. Vera Patterson of Designs by Vera made this gorgeous, custom embroidered handkerchief from a piece of the bride’s dress.  She embroidered the date of the wedding and the name of the bride and groom on a piece of fabric from the wedding dress.

embroidered hankie for bride - best embroidery fonts for handkerchiefs
Photo provided by Vera Patterson of and used with her permission.

Where to buy handkerchiefs suitable for machine embroidery

Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby sells an embroidered handkerchief specifically for brides.  They also have a plain style with a pretty embroidered border.


Amazon has a few different handkerchief options with styles ranging from the absolutely plain to the elaborate.

Antique Shops

Antique shops can be a treasure trove for embroidered hankies.  Before the days of Kleenex, people used them a lot more than we do now.  You may be able to find a really unique embroidered hankie on which you can match a name, words or initials.

What to look for in a font that you will use to embroider on a handkerchief.

Choose a font with an appropriate character. Anything cute or whimsical will look highly inappropriate at a funeral.  Any font that looks too casual will look out of place at a formal wedding. Before you commit to a font (or advise a customer or a font) think about the vibe that the typeface projects, does it seems suitable for the occasion?

The best embroidery fonts for handkerchiefs are ones that can be stitched clearly at a very small size. Be sure to check the sizes that the font comes in before getting too excited about it.  If a bride has requested an entire paragraph to be stitched out a hanky – those letters are going to be small.  Some embroidery fonts come in sizes as small as 1/4″.

embroidered handkerchiefs for wedding
Photo provided by Sharon Nichols Pierce of Sew Southern Magnolia Embroidery and used with her permission.

Another trait that will make your job a bit easier is to download BX fonts. If you are setting up an embroidery file with a long message, it will be quite painful to merge in each letter one by one. Download the BX fonts and set up the embroidery design in the free version of Embrillance.  Check out my previous post on BX fonts to learn how.

Best embroidery fonts for handkerchiefs

The font you choose should be dependent on the amount of text you need to embroider as well as the occasion for which you are making the embroidered handkerchief.

Embroidery fonts suitable for a wedding handkerchief

Small Ballet Script
The Small Ballet Script from Rivermill Embroidery is a classic, elegant script that is available at a 1/2″ size. It’s perfect for weddings, or other formal events.

I love glitter
The I love glitter font has a more casual feel than some of the other scripts.  It’s super cute and dainty. And – it comes as small as 1/4″.

Buckingham Script
The Buckingham Script is another classic script font that is perfect for formal occasions.  It is more upright than the Ballet Script. It also comes in a 1/4″ size.

Penny Lane
I think Penny Lane is my favorite of all the script fonts that are available in small sizes.  It’s just very pretty and feminine.

Samantha Script 
The Samantha Script does not come in sizes as small as some of the other fonts, however, it would be lovely used to stitch out a bride’s name or a monogram.

If you are wanting a super dramatic looking script, check out Giullia. It is a highly italicized script and is quite lovely.

For a newborn

Little Lord
While Little Lord feels somewhat formal, it also has a classic, whimsical storybook feeling to it.  It would be perfect for stitching on a handkerchief for a little one.  And, yes, it comes in very small sizes.

Delicate Little Flower
Delicate Little Flower looks just like it sounds. The typeface is thin and simple and is a bit child like.  It’s definitely a less formal option than Little Lord.

For a somber occasion such as a funeral or memorial.

Angelo is a class serif typeface available in very small sizes.  It is very dignified looking which would make it perfect for a more somber occasion.

Narrow Block
If you are looking for a small font that is a bit more modern looking to embroider a lot of words on a handkerchief, check out Narrow Block.

Techniques for embroidering on handkerchiefs

Once you find the perfect font, you are ready to embroider your design on the handkerchief…. which can be SCARY. Handkerchiefs  are pretty thin and delicate. This is not the kind of fabric you could rip stitches out of.  If you mess it up, you mess it up.

Some of the processes that are recommended include:

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