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Monograms

Monogram of the Month – February

Recently my son took me on a holiday outing to the Dallas Museum of Art. We spent a delightful afternoon gazing at beautiful works of art. No matter what the media, I always seem to focus on all things embroidered. And if it an item isn’t actually embroidered, I often envision it in thread. For instance, this 1925 geometric coffee and tea service designed by silversmith Jean Puiforcat looks very modern with its rosewood handles and sharp angles.

Upon closer inspection, a beautiful monogram is engraved on each piece. The three-letter monogram mimics the angles of each vessel and looks both modern and masculine.

To pull off this same look in thread, you’ll have to size the letters individually to achieve the stacked and centered layout. It made me think of a classic font that’s built into many Baby Lock and Brother embroidery machines.

In the past, built-in designs have been scalable to about 20% but with today’s machine upgrades, a full 200% change in size is possible. The mega-sized font is feminine when stitched with all colors of the design but eliminate the flowers and you have a very modern monogram.

Now, let’s add a first initial. Shrink and center it inside the last name initial. Granted, this won’t work for every letter combination but it’s amazing what does work when you take 10 minutes to explore the possibilities.

FM3Or eliminate all of the flowers for a monogram that would complement a geometric coffee and tea service.

FM4

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us the last place you found inspiration for a monogram. One comment will be chosen to receive a copy of Deborah Jones’ Beautiful Lettering Made Easy. Good luck!

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The winner of last week’s assignment:

What’s the biggest trouble area in your sewing studio? Post your comment and one random winner will be selected to receive an autographed copy of Embroidery Studio Organization in 6 Easy Steps!

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And the winner is…Susie – “We moved to a new home several months ago, and even though my new sewing room is much larger than my previous one, I have tried to make this into a combination office, sewing room, scrapbooking room, library, etc. I could really use the information in your new book to help me decide how to better arrange this room and make it very functional even if that means limiting it’s use by maybe moving the scrapbooking things or the library to another room. Thanks so much for writing the book and for this opportunity :)”

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113 COMMENTS

  • Donna F

    I was browsing an antique shop and I love the old embossing stamps that companies used to use on their stationary and documents. The shop had one that was from someone’s personal stationary. I couldn’t afford to buy it but I did take a picture of the embossed image it made on paper. I used it to hand embroider a monogram on some linen napkins for a wedding present.

  • Alisha S.

    I always find inspiration when I watch old 1930 or 1940 movies. They were so elegant and decadent with their clothing, decor, fonts used and music. I draw my inspiration from that time and it especially makes me want to sew clothes from that time.

  • Jane Holleran

    Wow, I look for monograms everywhere. My two favorite places are Vintage cards you can see online and catalogs. Vintage Cards can be found online or in museums. I go through catalogs to see what they are using for type fonts, that gives you hints on what works in very small sizes. Phones with cameras are great for getting a quick photo of what you like and want to use.

  • Nina Stewart

    I love vintage holiday cards & postcards! They are such works of art & inspire me to bring their beaut into my designs & monograms! Vintage movie sets are also an inspiration!

  • TErry Pitcock

    My daughter received an oval monogramed necklace for xmas and I thought it would be pretty on a Hoodie. It is.

  • Karin

    Cool – I didn’t know the letters UNDER the flowers would be solid – I never looked!! (see what happens when you assume??!!)

    In all honesty, your blog is where I get my monogram inspirations!! 🙂

    • eileenroche
      AUTHOR

      Ohhh,that’s so sweet! Thank you for the kind words.

  • Marichu Magana

    I often find the graphics/fonts and colors on product packaging to be interesting. I have a package of baseball cards on my desk and I can see how fun it would be to use that design on the back of a jacket.

  • Sherrie Lilly

    I look everywhere for inspirations to monogram. It also depends on the initials.

  • Marilyn Weiss

    I’ve been seeing some great ideas in bedding and linen catalogs that I recently received.

  • bkp

    Sometimes shapes in fabric I’m using for quilting gives me ideas. Also greeting cards and advertisements sometimes have interesting word layouts that give ideas for names and monograms.

  • Brigitte Davis Cowan

    I find inspiration in old magazines and also in clip art books. Some of the ideas from the magazines would never occur to me but yet have beautiful results.

  • Heidi

    I look at Pinterest for my inspirations and also to the various blogs that I’m subscribed to. I have made monograms for my DIL and I did present her with a few Print Types for her to choose from for the monograms. This way I knew she would like the end result.

  • janice

    I find inspiration in catalogs. So many wonderful ideas to try. This is a good place to find ideas also!!!!

  • Tracy Payne

    I take the easy way out, and search Pinterest.

  • Carmen Wilson

    I find inspiration in western brands and tack…so many scrolling patterns that are entwined around the initials!

  • Susan Novak

    I actually get my monogram inspirations from you. The one you are showing today is awesome.

  • Brenda Sutton

    I like to look at vintage clip art for inspiration. Thank you

  • Nancy

    The book looks really helpful Love the layering idea. I find inspiration for monograms and lettering in book type faces. There are quite a few if you read both old and new books which I do. thanks.

  • Merron Kay Skramstad

    Pinterest and the photo galleries of my favorite embroidery sites are the basis for much of my inspiration .

  • Madeline Lester

    Over Christmas break my children and I were
    in Santa Fe NM. We went to the town square
    and looked at many of the Pueblo Indians wares
    The soft curves of their animals and designs
    gave me many ideas of how to soften the curves
    of monograms and inter lay them among each
    of the curves.

  • Lisa Roberts

    I get inspiration from jewelry and jewelry websites.

  • maureen mcgraw

    While in India I saw a beautiful embroidered monogramed silk blanket on an elephant. The elephant’s name was Sasha and a beautiful monogrammed S was on her cape. It was stitched in gold on purple background. I took a picture of the monogram and then used my 5D to duplicate the style.

  • Mary Craig

    I have a fascination with nostalgia and anywhere there are vintage designs, i can picture a fo
    nt to monogram.

  • Shelly Christensen

    I like to see what new styles that show up on the facebook pages of the embroidery sites I frequent. It always inspires me when I see what others have done

  • Pam

    I get inspiration from looking at old family pictures, family heirloom pieces and books.

    Your blog is always an inspiration!

  • Josox

    Luv the way you did the VM. I usually get ideas online on all kinds of sites. Thanks for this great idea.

    • Josotx

      Hit post before I told you my last inspiration was from a tablecloth my grandmother had made. Soooo unique.

  • Lynn Lawrence

    I look all thru the internet. I am always looking thru magazines at the different monograms for ideas. I am totally addicted. Is there any help for me?

  • Pat

    Had a new look at my initials. PAP and ACP for the hubby. I can do the miniaturisation. Large P with a small P in the circle and a small A under the circle. Looks nice and works for hubby but son has two middle initials.. Hmm. His girlfriend with JG looks really lovely. Now to try to stitch them out.
    Doing this on my machine will really give me a workout with the positioning tools of yours as my Brother 780D doesn’t ‘do’ that sort of editing for me. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Nancy

    I found inspiration in L L Bean and Pottery Barn Catalogs. They have a fair amount of items that are monogrammed, pillows, tote bags, robes, sleeping bags and more.

  • ann

    too cool! Very unique Why didn’t I think of that!

  • Patti Jones

    I get my inspiration from Steampunk and Victorian feminine fashions. I’m into femininity for my fashions (working on it) as denim and casual attire is sooo tired.

  • Cynthia Dooley

    I love looking at vintage bed linens and trying to recreate the look. Also have found inspiration in scrapbooking and printed projects online that feature family monograms.

  • Jane Anderson

    I love looking at the various font sites for inspiration. The range of lettering is beyond my imagination. It is an alphabet supermarket for embroridery.
    Jane in KS

  • donna altieri

    I love looking at antique linens for inspiration. also, websites with embroidery designs from the 40’s.

    • Roxanna

      Thanks guys, I just about lost it lonokig for this.

    • Okay finally found a video that grossed me out. When the big chunk came out of his ear in the tray. That was icky. I can eat food watching any of the other videos on here. No matter how much puss blood or bugs they show. This ear one made my tummy flip.

    • Oh. My. Goodness! Only you could make a boring old school bus look THIS fantastic! Love it Kara! I always love peeking into your world!

  • Frances Powell

    My last inspiration was from a shirt that a friend’s son got a at car show. It is funny how you can get inspiration from the most unusual places.

  • Nancy G

    My niece is getting married soon, and her initials will be BLT. I must embroider / monogram something for her, maybe a shirt with a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich with her initials on the bun 🙂

  • Debbie

    I like simplicity in monogramming, and what I’ve done for DD has been like that. This post is great, because the monogram is simple but beautiful!

  • Cathy

    I love looking at bedding and linens. Motivates me to figure more places to use them in the master and guest bedrooms.

  • Pam

    I haven’t but you have opened my mind and eyes to look. For an elective I took a painting course ( have no talent in that field) even thou I was a business major. Learned to look at the negative space. Now I will look at the possible monogram. Thanks.

  • TRACY

    I’m new at embroidery, so I look everywhere I can, Blogs, Pinterest,magazines. I’ll take any suggestion!

  • Shirley Clark

    Monograms are popping up everywhere these days. I saw some on the tongue of some high top tennis shoes the other day. I think I’d rather do a patch and glue it on.
    I monogrammed some black socks as a joke for a friend of my husband’s that he plays cards with, and he loved them LOL

  • Terry

    I can’t say that I’ve had any monogram inspirations. With working I don’t have a lot of time to be creative. I could use all the inspiration I can get. 🙂

  • Mary Ann Genre

    My latest inspiration came right here from you actually. I am so anxious to try out the lowercase monograms you spoke of. After seeing that I am thinking that I should be finding all sorts of
    inspirations in magazine ads and billboards!

  • Gayle Ward

    I find that most of my inspiration comes from the magazines that I read. Mixing things together always challenges my abilities at embroidery

  • Barb

    It’s funny you have asked this question. I’m always inspired by what I see. Just today while shopping I saw a very large monogram on a designer (very expensive) pillowcase. I thought, wow, I can do that even better!

  • Jeanne R

    My best inspiration I have for the recently (and first) wedding gift of monogrammed towels was from yours and Marie’s book “Monograms for the Home”. They turned out beautiful.

    • eileenroche
      AUTHOR

      Yeah! It’s a go-to resource for both Marie and I.

  • SewCalGal

    While taking a machine embroidery class at the Road to California Conference and Quilt Show I was inspired to see an interesting monogram technique shared in a class. So happy to see machine embroidery classes offered during such an amazing quilt show. Would definitely like to see more such classes offered at ALL quilt shows.

    SewCalGal
    http://www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

  • Janny

    Old letters, greeting cards, people’s signatures. My hand writing is not so good, but I’m so impressed with people who have pretty lettering abilities. They are inspirational and personal.

  • Joyce

    I am always getting catalogs and I keep a notebook of garments and ideas for inspiration.I also have a Babylock with that built in lettering and and will be sure to try this Great idea..

  • Shirl R

    I have to say, over the years since you began this blog, my favorite inspirations have come from you, not only for monograms but for other projects! I just went back and reviewed your blog on Monograms for Marriages because my granddaughter’s wedding is coming up in October. That being said, would appreciate your input on a place to buy reasonably-priced napkin blanks or your recommendation for the type of fabrics that work best for napkins other than pure linen, which can be pretty spendy.

    • eileenroche
      AUTHOR

      Hi Shirl, Thank you for being such a long-time reader! I find 20″ cotton napkins at Home Goods, the TJ Max home store. They are very reasonably priced – about $15.00 for a pack of 12. Since Home Goods is a discount house, I can’t always count on finding a huge selection so I stock up when I see them. Congrats to your daughter!

  • Rena

    I’m fascinated by spirographs. I have been creating spirographs in my digitizing software with letters for monograms.

  • obimom

    I find a lot of ispiration for all types of designs in my garden. I recently saw a beautiful idea for a monogram as a shadow on the sidewalk from some just trimmed rose bushes.

  • Lindae

    I always check the stores and internet for ideas.

  • Linda Jerome

    I love your idea of enlarging and shrinking letters, I have a Brother and have used the floral letters but never thought of doing it differently-love it and will try it. Also I love monograms and looks at anything with letters on it.

  • Nancy N

    I was cleaning closets this Jan and found some serving pieces that I used to monogram the inside pocket of a shrug I was making for a friend.

  • Elaine

    I get my inspirations from blogs, photo galleries, catalogs, websites, television anything visible. Since I also quilt, this monogram would look great in a quilt block. I think I’m going to work this in a baby quilt soon.

  • Laurene Shewan

    VINTAGE LINENS – FAMILY HEIRLOOMS. I bought a box full at an estate sale, each carefully wrapped in tissue paper. They were from a wealthy CA family, who traveled the world so it’s interesting to see and feel the different textures, shapes, sizes, colors, etc. I feel like the curator of a museum!

    • JoanJ

      Pics would make an awesome Pinterest board!

  • Jennifer P

    My inspiration comes from the greek community in the university where I work. These groups are always “branding” something with the initials of their fraternity or sorority and they are really pretty creative. It makes me try to match their unique outlook on fashion.

  • Carole D

    I get inspiration from looking through the many fonts available and trying to connect the letters with swirls and doodles.

  • Sharon M

    I have been asked by travel ball teams to make logos for their teams. They want fresh and hip so I look at graphics for t-shirts and find inspiration through these. Tribal designs especially lend well to having monograms embedded into them.

  • judy Williamson

    Everywhere I look, I try to see how I might be able to the design. I love vintage monograms. They are so beautiful.

  • Valerie Brown

    The last place I found inspiration for a monogram was right here on your blog. I really like the way you bring us different ideas and inspiration for trying new things. Thanks bunches for inspiring me!

  • JudiC

    My mother in law has a tablecloth that was signed by everyone who was ever a dinner guest at their home. She hand embroidered each signature. I was so inspired we did the same in lieu of a guest book at our wedding and she then hand embroidered each signature. She is 94 now and has not embrroidered in years but she loves evverything I create. I take pictures of everything on my ipad mini & share them with her each time we visit. Just seeing her smile insprires me.

    • eileenroche
      AUTHOR

      Judi – what a lovely idea! My first mother-in-law did the same with her ‘special occasion’ tablecloth. It is a family heirloom. I remember when my children were old enough to sign their name in cursive. It was such right of passage for each grandchild.

      Love the thought of doing it in lieu of a guest book at your wedding!

  • Elizabeth P

    I saw some very small monograms on a man’s tailored shirt and was impressed of how clear it was. It was so tiny, yet readable. I need more training in monograms and your DVD is the answer.

  • Denice Weys

    I love the look of Old English texts, they start each page and or paragraph with a beautifullly decorated monagram letter. I eould love to see an embroidery alphabet or 2 or three based on this art work.

  • Anne

    I found an adorable monogram on a teenagers vest I thought how cute and it’s hard to find things to make for the teenager group so I’ve been playing around with the idea in my head!

  • Maureen Felton

    I love old books. The printing is often very decorative and beautiful. Often an inspiration to me.

  • Donna G.

    In an ad for monogram software! They had many lovely ideas!

  • Gwynn McKenzie

    Being a newbie to machine embroidery i’ve come to love your blog for inspiration. You have expanded my vision of where to look for monograms and now I find them all over. A neighbor’s mailbox, tree branches, old texts. I’m getting move adventurous thanks to your blog.

  • Bonnie Gray

    I love the monograms in the Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn catalogs and often copy them to use on towels.

  • Paula Watson

    Many of my monogramming and font ideas come from my wonderful daughter-in-love. She is always searching for the newest and cutest designs. As she doesn’t sew, she sends all her ideas to me! Thank you Amanda!!

  • Betsy

    I usually go online to search for new ideas. I steer clear of monograms for myself since mine is BLT. Thanks to Nancy G’s comments above, I now have a funny alternative!

  • CarolKE

    I have been letting our grandchildren design their monograms. I then let them help with the sewing. They love it.

  • Karen

    I was embroidering a bathtub on a bathmat it was lots of white. I decided that a monogram on the side of the tub would add some color looks great.

  • donna altieri

    i have alot of vintage pillow cases and i love the fancy embroidery on those. i also agree with bonnie gray – the ones at pottery barn and w.s. are lovely. thanks for the giveaway – i’m just starting to learn machine embroidery so i don’t have any software yet.

    • Pat

      I have been embroidering for 2 years now with no purchased software. I have 3 lots of free software which allows you limited things. But I only wanted to look at designs that I had downloaded for free and didn’t know what they were and to print off templates. Just google “free machine embroidery software downloads” – the choice is amazing.
      You must purchase the positioning book with tools by Eileen.

  • Patty

    I look online and I really like to use Pinterest!

  • Mary Parker

    Hi Eileen,
    I am fascinated by letters, I buy letters of all kimds and have them all over my sewing room. The last Monogram I did was for my sisters birthday, I put her initial in lime green on a black knit top, it turned out so nice and she loved it! Deborah Jones’ Beautiful Lettering Made Easy will help me do even better on my next project! Thanks,
    Mary

  • Tonja

    I’ve seen pages photocopied from very old family bibles on genealogy websites, and some of the family history pages include very ornate capital letters for the names recorded there, letters made with extra flourishes and artistic touches. With the right software, it would be easy to incorporate such design elements with existing fonts. I don’t have that sort of software, but it’s something I hope to change eventually. 🙂

  • Phyllis Pope

    I am fairly new to machine embroidery so have not learned digitizing yet. I use catalogs, embroidery magazines and websites that display projects for inspiration for monograms along with other projects. When I see something I would like to do I then go to the fonts I have purchased and try to match the font as closely as I can. Thanks for all the information in your blog from a beginner.

  • Catherine Wilson

    Inspiration is everywhere! Catalogs, websites (yours, for ex !), shopping excursions, the mail, vacations, ……. If you keep your eyes and mind open, almost anything can inspire you. I’ve gotten an inspiration in the grocery store! Go figure!

  • Vicky Isliefson

    It’s difficult to do a decent monogram when your last name starts with I — so boring!

    • Pat

      Vicky, I think you just haven’t seen the right Font as yet. Be thankful it is not a name of something like PAP Smear!! But I can live with pPa. 🙂

  • RUTH HAMPSON

    My grands are learning to read and write and some of their letter placements are mind blowing!!!

  • Brenda Shelton

    I am inspired by the things you do – in all the media types. I also find many lovely monogram ideas in sales catalogs!

    I am so excited about trying this new idea on some baby things for my first great-grandson!

    Thank you for all you do and share with us!

  • Joanne Roth

    Hi,
    I love the breadth of the comments I’ve read through. I agree inspiration is everywhere but my favorite source is antique silver. The range of designs and styles are amazing- from Gothiv to Victorian to Art Deco or modern but my favorites in any style are intertwined letters.

    Thank you for your posts.

  • Denyse Rose

    My daughter left last week for school in Scotland for a year. She has been taking pictures and puts them on her Facebook page for us to follow her site-seeing adventures. I miss her more than I can say but I’m happy she is having an amazing adventure. We are in California and there is quite a climate difference. On one of her shots, I saw some letters carved in the side of the building. I used the letters in a monogram with her name on a jacket and I’ve sent it off. I think she will love it – and especially the fact that it is warm and cozy. PS I love your blog and learn from you every time I take a look!

  • Becky

    There’s a used car lot in town that advertises as being the “big M”. Since that is the monogram of my last name, I’m always looking at the “M” used on their sign. I want to imitate it. It’s very elegant, yet dignified.

  • Judy Wentz

    Capital letters in fonts in magazines, billboards and advertising are good inspiration for monograms.

  • Maggy

    Years ago I was a fontaholic, I collected all these nice script fonts and from that moment I started to love the ancient monograms. When I got my embroidery machine the first thing I wanted to embroider was a ….. right…. a monogram on a towel. Now I am collecting embroidery monograms another weakness of me, I just cant resist them. There are so many ways to use them on gifts aso. Without monograms I am a death person lol

  • Kathy E.

    My friend sent me a card over the weekend that was stamped with her initials. I noticed it immediately on the envelope and thought how cool would that be to make that into an embroidery design for her? I need your book to learn how to do it!!

  • CindyM

    Right here on this blog. My last name starts with M and the M monogram is absolutely gorgeous. I NEED it. Good luck everyone.

  • Leanna Chideste

    Looking in a Hobby Lobby, they have so many beautiful plaques.

  • Maureen Angers

    I hate to admit it but most of my favorite fonts are built in my software and whenever I need to be inspired I can just look through each and everyone. Something new is always waiting for me to discover between sewing it out as is or editing it for another look.

  • Pat Bartholomew

    I am always looking for ideas for something different and unique. I search antique shops for their vintage linen, local craft shows, magazines, different fonts used on business cards, Pintest, different fabric stores looking at all the made up samples. It’s funny how you look at a design on a tissue box and say “that design would be great to design and embroidery”. Love your blog.

  • Judy Fletcher

    The last place I found inspiration for monograms was on this website. You have such beautiful designs and great info. In addition, my sister’s last name begins with “m” and I want to make something special for her birthday in March.

  • mOm

    I love all that uses of monograms, letters, inspirational saying, and WORDS! It just is fun, FUN!! Having a book like this would bring all kinds of inspiration. My last monogramming was for a baby gift embroidering on a Hoodie Towel I made and put “Baby” on the hood. I did it inside of a oval shape with a cross-fill and outlined the letters so the Terry towel stood out. Cute!! I would love this book!!!

  • Robin Farley

    I get my inspiration from o;d English linens and also from Asian inspiration. Has anyone ever seen , up close, a Kimono, from Japan. aafter living there for several years I had the opportunity to tour a wide variety of museums,factories, and also Stores that featured the entire Kimono. The embroidery on them is insane! It is all so delicate, intricate, and interesting. I wish I had been able to afford a complete kimono!

  • Robin Farley

    I get my inspiration from old English linens and also from Asian inspiration. Has anyone ever seen , up close, a Kimono, from Japan. after living there for several years I had the opportunity to tour a wide variety of museums,factories, and also Stores that featured the entire Kimono. The embroidery on them is insane! It is all so delicate, intricate, and interesting and sometimes looks very complicated. I wish I had been able to afford a complete kimono! There are many different layers to the Kimono including the Obie, which is similar to a wide band around the waist. Some of the most beautiful embroidery in the world is on these types of Kimonos.

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  • Wende Gennardo

    Truly, the last place i found nspiration for a monogram was in a stationery catalogue. I love the old lettering, Victorian, Gothic, etc. they are all really beautiful in my mind. I also love the vintage linens, especially with monograms from antique shops. So many ideas, so little time

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