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How to Do Monogramming With Sewing Machine

Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9850 Embroidery and Sewing Machine
Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9850 Embroidery and Sewing Machine

A monogram is a design or motif that consists of two or more alphabetic letters, usually, initials, which are laid out either on stationery through printing or clothing through embroidering.

Even though most people use embroidery and monogramming interchangeably to refer to the same thing, these two terms are very different, with embroidery being defined as the art of stitching that is used to create decorative designs, which includes monogramming.

That said, monogramming is best done using embroidery machines, but if you do not have one available, there is a way that you can use a regular sewing machine to achieve the same result. However, there are some things that you need to do, and to learn this skill, use the following steps.

What you will need

Before even getting down to the actual task of monogramming, there are a couple of things that you will need to have beforehand. These include a monogramming thread in the required color for the project, an embroidery hoop, a pair of scissors, monogramming design, and the fabric for monogramming.

An important thing to note is that you should prewash the fabric to avoid shrinking or puckering after monogramming. However, if the fabric is for dry cleaning only, prewashing is not necessary.

Trace the monogram

Using your embroidery hoop, center it over the fabric where you want to create the monogram then sketch the monogram design on the fabric using a pencil or marker pen.

Alternatively, you can use a paper template with the monogram writing written on it, and stitch over it directly. This will leave some traces of paper behind at the end, but getting rid of them will be easy.

To come up with this design, you can search for different types of fonts on the internet, then come up with a certain combination or use your creativity to come up with something totally unique.

Thread the machine and adjust the needle

Instead of using the regular stitching thread, replace this with the monogramming thread that works best for the project, and this means getting the correctly colored thread and at the thickness that looks and fits best.

With these at hand, thread the machine, then adjust the feed dogs for easier advancement of the fabric and needle position to the middle. Finish this off by installing a monogramming foot as the presser foot.

Note that if you are pretty confident about yourself, you can do freehand embroidery but at a slow pace so that you do not make any mistakes.

Use a zigzag or straight stitch

After setting up the thread and needle, set the machine to either a straight or zigzag stitch because these are the most commonly used type for this job.

However, a zigzag stitch is recommended, but whichever you choose, set the stitch width and length to the most minimal so that the resulting pattern has thick, solid lines.

For this calibration, you can use some scrap fabric first and see which stitch settings bring out the best results.

Reduce the thread tensioning settings

This is a very important step, and it involves setting the upper thread tensioning to be as light as possible. The light tension will enable the monogram to have slightly loose threads that look bulkier and, thus, will result in a solid piece that is densely packed with thread.

Making the thread too tight might create some slots through which the underlying fabric becomes visible, and this will ruin the embroidery design or require too much thread to completely cover the fabric below.

Place the fabric in position

With the machine ready, place the fabric in position so that you can get down to sewing. In an actual sense, you will be setting the embroidery hoop in place with the monogramming design’s starting point under the needle.

Ensure you place the front side of the design to face the needle so that you can have a better view as you sew.

Begin sewing

Lower the needle and presser foot to begin stitching. If you are monogramming a free hand, then be very keen and move the fabric in sync with the needle.

Ensure that you fill the entire outline of the letters in a tightly knit manner so that the resulting design is solid with thick lines. Also, ensure that the lower thread is not pulled to the surface as you stitch through the monogram template. This will lower the quality of your work.

Detach the hoop and polish the end result

After the stitching is complete, raise the needle and cut the thread using a pair of scissors. Remove the fabric from the sewing machine’s work area and detach the embroidery hoop.

The first thing that you will notice is a lot of thread ends, with some being at the back. Some people deal with these via backstitching, but this might result in extra thick monograms, which will negatively impact the appearance of the finished work.

The best thing to do is to pull these threads to the back of the fabric then tie a knot with the corresponding thread at the back. Once this is done, snip off the ends. This might be a lot of work, but it will result in a neat finish.

Another thing to finish on is the paper template that you had used as a guide for laying the monogram. A lot of excess paper might be hanging out of the design, and you need to get rid of this. The good thing, though, is that paper can easily wash off after 2-3 wash cycles.


As you can see, the process is quite simple, and you don’t need to invest in an embroidery machine just yet; it can come later. A few tips to consider, though is that you should keep practicing this craft on scrap fabric, especially because most of the time, you will be hand guiding the stitching process.

Also, you have to be extra patient before the monogramming design materializes because a lot of stitching is required to create a solid piece from the slim size of the thread used. 

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