Kantha Quilt Love + Running Stitch Tutorial

kantha quilts and running stitch.jpg

I have always loved a little touch of embroidery on bed linens, clothing (mine & Lola’s), pillows, curtains, etc – it makes it feel so special, a bit unique. Lately, I’ve been especially taken with the simple running stitch on vintage Kantha quilts made from upcycled sarees. I can’t get enough of them, but have yet to break down and buy one. I’m working on the poor man’s version with a thrift twin-size duvet [keep reading].

Kantha Quilts

Via Decor8 Blog

I think if I had to do a million stitches like in the quilt, I’d probably get it down. Maybe. Or I’d start to despise the running stitch. But I love the look of these quilts enough that I’m willing to take that chance.

Kanta Quilt

Kantha Quilt from Fab.com

I learned to embroider as a little girl – at Girl Scouts maybe? The running stitch is a very basic stitch that is perfect for beginner embroidery and for kids. It’s the stitch you probably think of when you think of hand sewing: up from the back and then down again.  I still struggle with getting my stitches completely even, but it’s getting better.

Running Stitch Embroidery

I found this video tutorial from Needle & Thread to be very helpful and totally down-to-earth if you need help or a refresher.

I have this thrifted twin sized duvet cover that is orange, white, and brown that I picked up with the intention of making pillowcase for my bedroom. BUT after coveting more Kantha quilts on Pinterest, I thought it would look fantastic as a throw in my bedroom with orange running stitches! So here goes nothing.

DIY Kantha Quilt

Twin Duvet Cover (mine snaps open on one end), or two pieces of fabric
Orange Embroidery Thread (Did not separate, used all 6 strands)
Long embroidery needle
Scissors, small embroidery are great, but not required
Some Patience (Helpful, not not necessary)
Season Two of House of Cards (Suggested, highly suggested)

This duvet had been waiting patiently in the linen closet to become something, anything. But first it needed to be ironed. I took care to really iron the seams flat so that I could stitch both sides together.

pressing before stitching

Usually you’ll separate the strands of your embroidery floss, but I wanted thick stitches so I used all six strands at once. Cut a length of embroidery floss, tying a knot at one end.

knotted embroidery thread.jpg

Because my duvet is stitched together, I just started from the “back” side and inserted my needle pulling the thread up from the back.

starting kantha quilt.

And if you gather your stitches it comes together pretty quickly. You can slide your needle through to grab extra stitches and then pull it through. You’ll feel like you’ve accomplished a lot quickly with this one!

gather stitches in running stitch

Then I continued stitching up a (sort of) straight line. I actually love when these lines are imperfect! I think it adds to the charm. And no that’s not me making excuses for my inexperience. Though it helps for sure! You’ll notice one line of particular crazy stitches when an Amber alert when off on my phone and I jumped mid-stitch! Yikes.

Make you own Kantha style quilt

I can’t wait to finish this Kantha-style quilt!! Loving the way it’s coming together, imperfect stitches and all!

Even Lola got in on the running stitch action. Run Lola Run! How long have I been waiting to use that one?! Ummm, a long time. She is making a pillow cover. I love this kid!

kids running stitch instructions

I hope to have the duvet cover finished by the weekend – we’ll see how it goes!

In the meantime, stay tuned for more embroidery fun and how to make your own bath bombs without citric acid this week!

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