For this tutorial, I embroidered my mom’s initial on a canvas envelope template (you can see the tutorial for my felt gift envelopes here on Rock N Roll Bride) to fill with some of her favorite goodies and tie on top of a gift. You could embroider an initial on anything–a patch to sew on a bag, a pillowcase, towels, a wine gift bag…it’s a really versatile technique, and once you have a few staple supplies on hand it’s easy to whip one up for any gift throughout the whole year.
With just two different simple stitches, I can finish one of these monograms in about 20 minutes if I focus. It’s just a little bit of time for a nice personalized touch.
â™¥ a set of alphabet stamps (or just buy the letter stamp you want individually)
â™¥ a stamp pad (fabric-safe is better, like Staz-On, but if you don’t have fabric ink you can just be careful and it’ll work fine)
â™¥ something to embroider (a napkin, a pillowcase, a towel, your underwear, whatever)
â™¥ embroidery thread
â™¥ iron-on stabilizer (if the thing you are embroidering is a little bit loosely woven or thin)
â™¥ embroidery hoop (it’s optional, but it helps)
Step 1: Lightly ink your letter stamp–less is more, here–and press it down firmly onto the surface where you want to embroider your letter. The idea is just to get the outline visible so you can see where to trace the letter with your thread.
Step 2: If your fabric is thinner or with a looser weave and you want to stabilize it for stitching, iron on a little bit of interfacing to the back of your fabric where you will be sewing. This step isn’t necessary if you stitch carefully (or if you’re just impatient), but it can help make the finished product look a bit neater.
Step 3: Put the fabric in an embroidery hoop, if you want. Thread a needle and sew long backstitches around the outline of the letter. If you’ve never done a backstitch before, PurlBee.com has a great little how-to. Once you master this stitch, I’m sure you will use it all the time–it’s great to have in your arsenal of skills!
Step 4: Next, fill in the letter with a satin stitch. The best way to describe a satin stitch is that it’s analogous to scribbling back and forth with a marker, but with thread. You’re creating a solid field of thread by running single long stitches back and forth just outside the letter outline. Bring your needle up through the fabric just outside of an outline stitch and put the needle back down through the fabric across the letter outside the other side of the outline. Make a parallel stitch as close to the first stitch as possible, just going back and forth across the letter until it is all filled in. Depending on the size of the letter, this can take a lot of thread, but luckily it’s quite an easy process once you get the hang of it. Just the same stitch over and over, filling in the letter.
Step 4: Tie a knot in the thread, give it a snip, and you’re done! If you lightly press the thread with an iron, it can help “set” it on the fabric a bit.
Tips and other suggestions:
â™¥ Fill in your letter with a different stitch–the chain stitch is a great filler stitch, I love filling outlines with french knots, and you can even backstitch the inside of each letter.
â™¥ Many craft stores have letter stamps and small alphabet stamp packs in the dollar bins, or near the checkout.
â™¥ Instead of using a stamp, try hand-drawing a block letter to embroider.
â™¥ Make an embroidered pillow case with the initials of your child to send on sleepovers.
â™¥ Upload finished pictures of your embroidery projects to Princess Lasertronâ€™s Flickr stream, Make it Pretty!