DIY Wedding: Turn a Love Note Into a Keepsake

AUG 29, 2017 updated May 28, 2021

When a Spoonflower team member gets ready to say ‘I do,’ you can guarantee custom fabric will be making an appearance. For DIY bride and Marketing team member Meredith, she knew fabric would play a big role on her big day. From customized bridesmaids’ tote bags to a handmade ring pillow, her guests got the full Spoonflower experience. When it came to the gift she’d give her husband-to-be, Meredith knew exactly where she’d find her inspiration. Using a twist on the always popular recipe tea towel project, see how this crafty bride created a handmade handkerchief to commemorate the special occasion for under $22! 

A surprise note on the inside of a handkerchief makes for a lasting memory.

Meredith: In the three years I’ve worked at Spoonflower, I’ve learned that the possibilities for a one-of-a-kind gift are truley endless thanks to a little help from the magic of custom fabric. For my wedding, I knew I wanted to create a gift for my husband that would be something he used during the wedding but also create a timeless keepsake. I was planning on writing Kenny a note to give him before we walked down the aisle, so I thought, what better way to incorporate fabric than to print my note on it!

On our first date, Kenny said we’d be dining at a nearby Italian restaurant. When we walked into the restaurant, we quickly realized it was a Chinese restaurant and to this day, I always joke about where we ate on our first date. Incorporating this memory into our wedding through the back fabric design of the handkerchief felt like a perfect fit. Luckily, with the help of talented Spoonflower designer, Theresa Rizzuto, you may recognize her as Trizzuto in the Marketplace, she helped turn my vision into a reality with a custom fortune cookie design! Did you know you can contact designers directly through the Marketplace to request custom designs? For someone like myself who lacks design skills. this is really just the greatest!

I think it’s time I show you how I created this DIY handkerchief! We’re going to start with some beginner design work in Photoshop.

Part 1: Digitize your Letter

First, scan a high resolution JPG or PNG version of your note. If you don’t have access to a scanner, your local copy shop is a great place to go.

Once you’ve scanned your note, open Photoshop and create a new file that is 13″ x 13″ set at 150 dpi. I want my finished handkerchief to be 12″ x 12″ with a 1/2″ seam allowance so 13″ will be my final file size. You can certainly go smaller or larger if you’d like a different size!

Next, place your scanned note onto your canvas by selecting File > Place Embedded and select the file from your computer. Select Place to add the file.

You may notice a dark border or shadow around your note from the scanning process. We’ll want to clean these up or they’ll be printed on your fabric… yikes! After rasterizing your image, select the Rectangular Marquee Tool and trace over one dark side of the image. Once you’ve highlighted the dark area, select the delete key on your keyboard to remove what you’ve selected. Repeat on the three remaining sides of your note.

Next, I increased the brightness and contrast of my text so it would be more legible once printed. To do this, select the Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and adjust until you find your happy place!

Before we enlarge the text, I recommend adding a guide for your seam allowance. There’s nothing worse than sewing into your words! Well, maybe it’s second to running out of bobbin thread without knowing it! Using your rulers as a guide, pull four guidelines from the side to mark the 1/2″ seam allowance around the entire file.

To enlarge your note, select the note layer and while holding the Shift key, pull the right corner tab until you’ve reached your final size. By holding the Shift key, you lock the proportions of your file which means you’re safe from a distorted message! Center your message on your file.

Once you’re happy with the size and brightness of your note, rename your file and save it as a JPG or PNG.

Upload your design to your Spoonflower account and place your order! For my handkerchief, I ordered two Cotton Poplin Ultra Fat Quarters: one for the handwritten note and one for the fortune cookie fabric on the back. Remember to choose the center repeat option to ensure your note only prints once! For the fabric on the back side, I ordered a fat quarter of All Your Wildest Dreams Will Come True by trizzuto. Thanks again for the design help, Theresa! With over 500,000 designs in the Marketplace, I bet you could find a design that matches a special memory you and your partner share.

Designer tip: Since I was using a Marketplace design, I needed two separate fat quarters but if you’re creating a 13″ handkerchief, you actually have enough space to fit the front and back designs on one fat quarter!  For all you designers out there, take note because this project could be completed with one fat quarter…that’s just $10.80!

Turn your handwritten note into a keepsake by printing it on fabric!

Part 2: Sewing your Handkerchief

Materials
1 Cotton Poplin Ultra fat quarter with printed letter
1 Cotton Poplin Ultra fat quarter with coordinating design
Sewing Machine
Fabric Shears or rotary blade
Thread

Once your fat quarters arrive, it’s time to start sewing! Cut your fat quarters so you have two 13″ squares. With right sides facing, pin the two pieces together.

Stitch together the front and back pieces using a 1/2″ seam allowance, making sure to leave a 3″ gap in the center of one side so you can flip the fabric right side out.

Once you’ve stitched the fabric together, clip the corners, being mindful to not cut into your stitches. Flip the fabric rightside out and use a point turner or other pointed object (I use chopsticks!) to push out the corners of your hankie.

Clip the corners of your handkerchief

Guess what, you’re almost done! Fold the raw edges of the fabric opening toward the inside. Press the fabric and pin.

Pin the opening of your fabric | Spoonflower Blog

There are two ways to finish your handkerchief. For an invisible seam, hand finish with a blind stitch. For a more beginner option, topstitch along the edge of your handkerchief, making sure to close the hole.

Topstitch around the entire edge of your handkerchief | Spoonflower Blog

And there you have it! A handwritten note that will withstand the test of time. This could also be a great gift for the MOB or anyone else who might shed some happy tears on your wedding day. On second thought, you might need to make one for everyone attending so how about just the wedding party!

DIY Wedding: Turn a Love Note Into a Keepsake | Spoonflower Blog

DIY Wedding: Turn a Love Note Into a Keepsake | Spoonflower Blog

If you’re thinking about adding DIY elements to your wedding or next big celebration, I encourage you to read Heather Cook’s 8 Tips for Planning a DIY Wedding. It is seriously a game changer!

Meredith

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  • what a beautiful gift! thanks for sharing. any reason why you chose the cotton poplin ultra? would the kona or basic cotton ultra work just as well? or even satin? wouldn\’t satin make sense, especially since it\’s for a handkerchief!

    and can you help me understand how i can fit the front (13\”) and back (13\”) on one fat quarter? isn\’t one fat quarter 21\”x18\”? maybe i\’m missing something. : )

    thanks so much!

    • Hi Daphne,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the wedding gift tutorial for my husband! I prefer to work with our cotton fabrics and didn’t want the shine that Satin has. However, if you prefer the shine, Satin would work great for this project.

      Before stitching the two fat quarters together, you’ll want to cut them both down to 13″ squares. You can find more details about this in the first step of Part 2: Sewing your Handkerchief.

      Please let me know if you have any more questions!

      -Meredith from Spoonflower

  • This would be a great thing to put in Sprout Patterns where you could pick a fabric design from the market place and upload your love note so that you only have to get one fat quarter!

  • Congratulations to you and yours! I love how you hand-wrote your first marriage memory- one that you’ll cherish forever (trust me- I’m 40 years into mine and I kept all my keepsakes from my hubby!) Thank you for sharing!

  • What a lovely idea. I often make coffee mugs with personalised handwritten notes to family and this fabric idea has given me more ideas. And I love your projects ideas. Creative and so well documented and photographed. Keep the inspiration coming – I’m loving it! (San Diego, CA) And PS Congratulations on your wedding day!

    • Hi Chris,
      That’s such a great idea too! With this tutorial and your handmade mugs, you’ll be sure to win the hearts of your family and friends (although I’m sure you already have!) Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • Meredith — I was beaming the entire time I read this post! I could not be happier for you and Kenny, and was truly honored to be a part of your special day. You are so creative and thoughtful to think of this gift. Cheers to many more Chinese take-out nights, “italian” dinners, and lots of love and support for you and K. <3 Let's collab again on your first anniversary!

    • Theresa! This gift could not have been possible without you! Even though your miles and miles away, it was like you were with us celebrating on our special day. This DIY gift will be one I remember forever.