How Embroidering a Handkerchief Changed My Life

When I first started MT Needleworks, I wasn’t sure just how much my passion for embroidering and sewing would translate to a business. Little did I know, a traditional southern bride would show me that not only was I in the right business, but I was doing so much more than just stitching fabric.

I met this particular customer at a Business Women of Prince William County meeting, the very first one that I went to. We spoke during the meeting about my budding business, and I gave her my card. I didn't even have a website at the time, so she gave me a call.

She told me about her upcoming traditional southern wedding and asked for ideas for some of the elderly people who would be attending for both sides of the family, like grandmothers, aunts, etc. I racked my brain and thought, “What does everyone do at a wedding ceremony?” The answer is cry, of course! And this being a traditional southern wedding, we wanted something with an old-fashioned flair. I suggested embroidered handkerchiefs.

She really liked my idea and gave me some words to embroider, and for the design she said that she wanted a tree. At the time, she did not specify what kind of tree or why she chose that particular design. I went to work researching her design. I came up with 2 beautiful tree variations and did a stitch sample for her. I hand delivered them to her (and boy, have times changed, because now I can email stitch designs).

When she saw one of her recommended designs, I thought she might need her own handkerchief! She began to cry, which worried me at first because I was new in my business and afraid she was disappointed. But they were happy tears! She said the tree design I chose looked almost identical to the tree where her fiancée had proposed. The shape and the colors reminded her so much of that day they got engaged, it was uncanny.

That was an ah-ha moment. I hadn’t been sure if this sewing thing was going to be right for me as a business. I loved it so much, but wasn't convinced people would buy into my passion. Seeing that bride moved to tears over my design gave me confidence in myself and in my business.

I went home and made about a dozen handkerchiefs for her and the relatives attending the wedding. I only spoke to her briefly after the wedding, but she said that everyone loved and would cherish the handkerchiefs. I felt so privileged to be a small part of her special day and to create a memento her family could treasure for life.

I pour my heart and soul into all my embroidery and sewing, and I’m so glad I found this customer. I realized that what I’m doing is so much more than stitching together fabric and adding colorful threads. In many instances, I’m creating keepsakes that families can treasure for generations, whether it’s embroidered handkerchiefs, personalized baby blankets, quilts — quality, hand-crafted and personalized items mean a lot to my customers. And that brings me quite a bit of joy.

-Teresa Giltner, Owner, MT Needleworks

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