How to monogram

Monogramming is quite the lost art for lady's, along with other needlework skills once taught in school. Unless you have a grandmother skilled in monogramming, you'll have to go to an embroidery shop and have someone stick it under a machine to stitch your initials perfectly and unlovingly. Or. You could do it yourself. And at first it will be terribly uneven and you will have knots and loose stitches and tight stitches, and you may poke your finger. But when you are finished you will feel so accomplished. Because you have created something so uniquely you. Made by you, designed by you, and with your very own initials. And you will look at it and it will be your quirky, terrible, awesome monogram.
Weeks ago I did my first monogram on a pair of gloves. I did a cursive "S" one one, and and "R" on the other. This time I decided to try the art deco approach and do a three letter monogram in a circular shape. The sharp straight lettering was much easier to accomplish than the curves of the glove lettering, and can start out by simply tracing a jar lid, or box lid if you want it the also popular diamond shape. However I will provide lettering for cursive:

Click to enlarge.

Traditionally the order of lettering is set as follows: Your last initial is the largest and in the middle. First initial is smaller and on the left, and middle initial also smaller and on the right. I decided to get a little ahead of myself and use Sam's last name instead of my own, so that would be "Solanah Raquel Cornell" and makes the monogram "sCr". So there's the two letter approach I used on my gloves, three letters on my jacket lapel, or go the Lavern way and have a little mystery with one letter.

You will need: Something to monogram. I wouldn't recommend gloves if you are not familiar with a needle and thread, but a shirt, cotton scarf, or anything with an open back and no stretch will do fine. Small sewing needle. Embroidery floss. Pencil (not pen, no pens around clothes!). Paper. Tracing paper. A couple of pins.

1. Draw out your initials. Practice until you get the correct size you want and how you want it to look. 1-1.5" tall works well for the middle letter, and about 3/4 of that for the outer ones.

2. Place the tracing paper on the main letter and trace. Do the same with the two outer initials making sure you trace them where you want, slightly overlapping.

3. Place the paper on the object you intend to embroider and pin down.

4. Cut a length of embroidery floss about 15" (38 cm) long, and split two threads from the floss. You will use only two threads at a time.

5. Pin the tracing paper to the area you intend to monogram. Stitch through the fabric and the paper on the outline using a back stitch

6. Once you have stitched the entire outline, carefully tear away all of the paper.

7. Using a satin stitch, start to embroider the middle letter, stitching just outside of the outline.

7. Once you have finished the big letter, move on to the smaller ones if you have them.

8. You are done! Congratulations! Pretty please send me pictures :)

The back is cool too.


hanne said...

Brilliant! I can't wait to begin on this project. It might take a while, but I'm definitely up for the challenge. "How to's" are my favorite!

Kim Caro said...

darn i thought i was solanah corinne rodriguez lol

Rhiannon said...

Wow! Whenever I see something monogramed in a thrift store I get sad that it isn't in my initials . . . I've never thought of embroidering my own . . .

Thanks for all the photos and tips!

LF said...

whoa! so cool. I just discovered your lovely blog & and wanted to drop by a Hello. Have a great evening!

sulu-design said...

Awesome! I found your blog on a post of Casey's and am so glad I did. This is a great tutorial, and I'm enjoying scrolling through older posts. I'll definitely be back.

Anonymous said...

It looks really good :) On another note, there's on Antique Pattern Library (http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/) several vintage books to download for free , and there's some about embroidery.

teppichkind said...

i didn't do a monogram, but i embroidered a swallow on a black shirt, using tracing paper and stitching through it, like you said. i also really found that an embroidery hoop helps a lot (i guess you don't need it for a thick fabric like a coat)


britbraskie said...

Love it!! What is the name of the cursive font above? It's so pretty:)

Tilly said...

I love doing Monograms I did hankies for my Grandad this year :) heres a link to some pretty mongram alphabets :D http://www.needlenthread.com/patterns#patmonograms

enjoy :)

Solanah said...

Tilly, thank you so much for the link!

Becca McCallum said...

You are so right about how accomplished this makes one feel! I've wanted to do this ever since I read your tutorial, and now that I've got a bit of time on my hands I actually sat down and did it. It was more of a pre-practice one than anything else, as I couldn't wait to get started until I had my proper embroidery thread and some decent cotton, so I made do with a scrap of fabric and some mending thread. Even my awful, wonky, not-quite-right-yet design makes me grin every time I look at it. Thank-you!

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! I never realized this was such an easy thing to do...got to try it myself sometime.

:) Hope

Jenna said...

This is so cool! I had never thought about doing it by hand! Pinned! Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof