It's actually quite easy to turn your hand lettering (or cursive) into hand embroidery! All you need is a stitch that can follow a curve well, and an understanding of how to letter your chosen word or phrase.
Which stitches work best for following the curves in hand lettering?
There are so many options for you to choose from, including, but not limited to:
Which is the best option? That's totally up to you! You can start by looking through the photos and/or videos in the blog posts linked above, or make a sampler of the stitches to help you determine which stitch will give you the effect you desire.
How do I letter my chosen word or phrase?
In the example below, I simply wrote out the word "hello" in my normal, cursive handwriting. Once I wrote out my word, I followed the lines I had drawn in the same direction as I had drawn them - it took me about two seconds to write out my word, and about 16 minutes to slowly "write out" the word with embroidery floss, using split back stitch (again, you have many options - this is just the stitch I chose for this example).
Earlier, I mentioned that you need an "understanding" of how to letter your chosen word or phrase - what did I mean by this? Imagine you're a kid trying to forge your guardian's signature (which I'm sure you never did, this is just a thought experiment!). Simply tracing their signature is one thing, but that natural flow of the lettering itself is something that would take more practice. When I wrote out the letter "h" in the example below, and later stitched it, I knew where my lines should overlap because I wasn't simply following the lines I had drawn; rather, I was "writing out" the words as I stitched, according to the natural flow of my actual handwriting.
How long should my stitches be when I'm embroidering lettering?
In general, as is the case with any sort of embroidery where you're following a curve, you'll want to try to keep your stitches shorter when your curve is tighter. In the example below, you'll notice that my stitches get shorter as I reach the top of my lowercase "h," versus when I'm stitching the bottom of that same letter.
Can you show me an example of turning hand lettering into hand embroidery?
Absolutely! In the video tutorial below, I demonstrate how to turn hand lettering into hand embroidery (using split back stitch). In this tutorial, you'll notice that I'm stitching in the same direction that I wrote (i.e., if I overlapped two lines when I wrote, I overlap the stitches, too), and that my stitches are shorter when I'm following tighter curves.
Top 3 Tips for Turning Hand Lettering Into Hand Embroidery
Before you go, let's review my top 3 tips for turning your hand lettering, or cursive, into hand embroidery:
Choose a stitch that follows a curve well. There are so many options for you to choose from, including back, stem, outline, chain, and split back stitches (I’m using split back stitch here).
Adjust the length of your stitches depending on how tight your curves are - it’s easier to follow a tighter curve with shorter stitches.
Stitch like you write - if, when you’re writing, you overlap a line, that means you’ll do the same thing while you’re stitching. This is the best way to ensure your final product looks like actual writing.
I hope that was helpful! If you're looking for more, you can check out my other blog posts; I also sell kits that are meant to be just right for beginners!