I had never heard the term “chicken scratch embroidery,” until last week when I stopped into an antique store and stumbled across two aprons that I feel in love with.

chicken scratch embroidery

It just happened that the antique booth owner was in her booth and was able to explain to me what the fancy stitching on the front of the aprons were.  She explained that the chicken scratch emboridery was sometimes called Amish embroidery, depression lace or gingham tracks. It made the aprons even more special to think that someone took the extra time to add those finishing touches.  I was very excitied to add these to my apron collection!

Chicken Scratch Emboridery Aprons

What Is Chicken Scratch Embroidery?
Chicken scratch is an easy type of embroidery done on gingham (checkered) fabric, which gives the impression of appliquéd lace. With certain stitches, the thread or floss creates a lacelike design on the gingham fabric. Gingham fabric usually comes in 4, 8, or 16 squares to the square inch. If possible, you want to use gingham fabric with a true square check. Fabric with 1/8-inch or 1/4-inch checks is most often used for chicken scratch. The 1/8-inch gingham is used mainly for small projects – pincushions, jar lids, bookmarks, and sachets. The 1/4-inch is used for larger projects – pillows, quilts, clothing, place mats, and tablecloths.
Chicken Scratch Embroidery Aprons
Chicken Scratch Embroidery Aprons
double cross stitichThe embroidery on these aprons used the double cross-stitch.

Double Cross Stitch
Work a cross stitch from corner to corner in one square of the gingham. 

Then work a straight cross stitch over this. Remember to do your cross stitches in the same order so all your threads go in the same direction.