Embroidering words or letters to convey something dear to you on your clothes makes them all the more personal to you. It is you expressing yourself beautifully. What could be more beautiful than embroidery. I have used embroidered letters on my handkerchiefs , t-shirts and they all bring about lots of positive comments and are great conversation starters.
Embroidering letters and initials also serve as a sort of identification mark for things that have a tendency of disappearing like the pencil pouch of your kid or gym towel segregation
Checkout the post on Monograms and their placement rules for more details. Embroidering letters is not the same as monogramming. Embroidery Monogramming involves just the initials of the name but both are esentially the same
If you have an embroidery machine you have your job easy. Single needle embroidery machine, multi needle embroidery machines (there are even 10 needle machines-gasp) – they do their work excellently well. But what about those who do not have these machines (like me) . There are many simple and easy ways to embroider the initials and monograms on to your clothes or embroidered handkerchiefs – By hand embroidery as well as by using your ordinary zig zag machine.Let us checkout the options
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
How to design the embroidery letters / monograms
1.Draw free hand – draw the design directly on to the fabric in your handwriting ; letting your kid write down their own initials is a great way for their personal things like a cute little purse or a hanky. They will not displace their things hopefully.
2. Use stencils to draw the letters on to the fabric
Check out the tutorial to make your own stencils
3. Use powerpoint to make your own simple fonts
Go to the format option in a powerpoint blank page and make your own words under the option ‘Text effects’- even curved letters are possible in powerpoint. You will have to design them suitable for your fabric. Make a stencil out of this or cut it out and trace it on to your fabric.
Individual letters can also be printed out and laid out in a layout of your choice – Just make sure that it is a cohesive unit rather than some jumbled letters
Roman letters can easily be embroidered; the gothic letters with lots of swirls and flourishes, though they look beautiful, are somewhat difficult to embroider for a beginner.
Checkout this post for details for making Monograms (4 easy ways to add them to fabric) and also the post on more details on how to design letters for embroidering.
How to Transfer the letters or fonts on to your fabric
Use dress maker’s carbon paper to trace the design on to your fabric.Checkout 9 ways to transfer the designs .
How to Hand Embroider the letters on to the fabric
2 Heavy braided chain stitch worked over the stitching line is ideal for a projected embroidered letter
3 Padded satin stitch can be used to give a dimensional look to the letters
To do this work you have to do back stitch on the letter and then do closely packed small straight stitches ( satin) over the back stitch line . This will give the letters a padded dimensional look which will make the letter stand out
If you have a thicker letter make an outline with backstitch and then fill the design with chain stitches. After that do the satin stitch over this. Remember not to make the initial filling ( back stitch and chain stitch) with too thick thread; you will not be able to make the details finely. When you reach the corners make very small back stitches.
4 Herringbone stitch
Use herringbone stitch to fill the letters . Checkout the tutorial to work the herringbone stitch and its 2 variations. Or you can work the herringbone stitch on the reverse side of the cloth to make a shadow work which is beautiful as well.
5 Stem Sitch or outline stitch or Back stitch or split stitch
Use any of the Outline stitches in a single or double row to define ( outline) the fonts or fill the outline. Checkout the post on 6 of my favourite filling stitches
Project – Embroidered knit top / t-shirt – using Back stitch
The knit fabric is very stretchy. For embroidering, this is a pain. What I do is to baste a piece of cotton cloth ( a muslin cloth would do) to the back of the t-shirt where I have drawn the design. The cloth should measure at least 2 inches all around the design.
Place the t-shirt on to a embroidery hoop. It will be nice if you have a big enough hoop – bigger than your design but it is also ok to have a small hoop. After you have hand stitched a portion you can shift the position of the hoop and start again. Write the letters.
Do a back stitch (even small stitches) all along the letters. A contrasting coloured thread would be beautiful and striking.
6 Machine Embroidering letters with a zig zag sewing machine
Place a piece of sew-in-interfacing on the back of the cloth and baste it with hand stitches or machine embroidery stitches with a stitch length of 4. Place the cloth on a hoop to keep it nicely stretched.We have to insert the fabric exactly the opposite way on the hoop to what we do when embroidering by hand. Checkout this post on hoops for more details
Set the sewing machine to zig zag stitch. This post – beginner’s guide to free motion sewing machine embroidery will give you details on how to embroider the inside of big letters
Do the zig zag stitch closely packed. Practice this several times in a spare fabric before testing this on a garment.
7 Using beads, rhinestones and sequins to decorate letters
8 Reverse applique on fabric
Print out the letters you want to reverse applique
You need atleast 1″ width all along the letters, more if you want a turned under edge
Place them on the fabric you are going to reverse applique on . Find the proper position . Trace all around them. Remove the printout
With a small sharp scissors cut out the design
Find the fabric you will be using under the main fabric. Place the letter on it and mark 2.5 inch all around the letter. Cut it out and finish the edges with a zig zag stitch or use pinking shears
Keep it underneath and pin. Pin every 2 inch so the it doesnot shift
Change the stitch length in your sewing machine to 2.5 – 3 . From the top of the fabric stitch around the edges of the letter ( 1/6 inch from inside)
– that is if you donot mind the fraying of fabric inside the stitching line around the letters much. If you do, you can turn under the edges carefully and stitch by machine or use a blanket stitch by hand.