Archive of ‘Monograms’ category

Will the person with the initials SFN please step forward?

Eileen's Machine Embroidery BlogWill the person with the initials SFN please step forward?  We have a free towel to give you!

Here’s an unusual problem you have probably never encountered:   we end up with some unusual embroidered samples in our offices!  No, we didn’t randomly pick SFN.  This towel has an exciting history.  It was used on the set of Sewing with Nancy!

I was tapped to demonstrate one of my favorite sewing tips in a brief 5-minute segment on Sewing with Nancy. I selected the initials because well, frankly, they’re beautiful! After all, how many ERs and NZs can one embroider? The filming went off without a hitch and now the towel sits in my sample room begging for a more elegant resting spot. And now that it’s served its purpose, we’d love to see it go to a better home.  So if your name is:

  • Sarah Francesca Norris
  • Sally Florence Nicholas
  • Samuel Filipe Nunez
  • Steven Frank Nelson

Or any other wonderful name with the initials SFN, we want to hear from you!  We will ship anywhere in the continental US.  One random person with the correct initials will be selected as the lucky recipient of the towel.  Now you might be asking, how will we verify if you have the right initials?  This will be the honor system.  Besides, how many of us want a towel with someone else’s initials hanging from our towel rack?  Looks a bit suspicious to me! Although it’s not uncommon to collect and display vintage linens adorned with a variety of initials.

If it has been awhile since you’ve reviewed monogramming etiquette and you’re wondering about the proper order for initials—here’s a quick review.

If the embroidered initials are the same size, arrange them:  first name initial, middle name initial, last name initial.

If the middle initial is larger, then it is the last name and should be placed in the center.  first name initial, last name initial, middle name initial.

While these are the standard recommendations, you are welcome to exercise creative license!  Just always be sure to make sure the initials don’t spell something unexpected that won’t be appreciated.

Here are some additional blog posts on Monograms:

Monograms for Men

Lowercase Monograms

Monograms for Today’s Marriages


Multi-Needle Monday: New Product Introduction

This week on our continuing series for the Multi-Needle Monday blog we will focus on the last but not least step in our new product introduction: promotion.

Again, our focus is on the small embroidery business owner who is now ready to market a new product. How will you get the word out to your current customers? Will you take the photographs yourself or hire a professional photographer?

There are so many quick and free ways to market a new product today that you really cannot go wrong unless you do nothing. For instance Facebook is the perfect platform to launch your business and “test” new items. Use it to tease your customers to see what colors, lettering styles, embroidery designs or accessories they prefer. When you have narrowed down your choices, add these products to your main website or Esty store. It’s a good idea to feature or “post” a new photo weekly on your Facebook page to keep your customers tuned and interested.

Take great photographs and make great samples! Stitch colorful samples with coordinating and crisp embroidery designs or lettering. Position the embroidery as the main focal point. Use a larger scale design, monogram or appliqué to pop in the photograph.  Remember, time is money and high stitch count designs are not necessary. Trim the thread tails, press the hoop marks out of the sample item and make sure all water soluble stabilizer is completely removed.  The majority of cameras have a high pixel number and the resolution is very clear- water soluble fragments can easily show up in a photograph.

I have learned to use a tri-pod for my camera (tri-pods are available for cell phones too) and foam board from a craft store to easily reposition as a table when desired. Take photographs outside if you have a nice backdrop such as potted flowers or tall grass. Always try to take a handful of photographs, not just one or two. Learn out to use the photography software that is included in most operating systems; such as crop, brightness and resize.

The photos of the back to school accessories for college were taken around a beautiful pool at dusk; which is a perfect time for photography.


I recently read about a few business owners who “barter” for different tasks of trade in their town. Do you have a close friend or acquaintance who is a photographer and in need of some embroidered polo shirts? Is there a “techy” neighborhood college student who can help you set up your Facebook or Etsy shop business page? The student might appreciate a few personalized items in exchange for their expertise. I will tell you that the marketing chore never ends when you own a business but it has to be done. Try to learn as much as you can and take control of the obstacles ahead.

Here are a few marketing platforms to use: Instagram,  Pinterest, Blog, Twitter, and Facebook. I think all of the platforms are helpful and virtually free but you need to decide where your customers are and what the most popular outlet for your demographic is.

*Remember not to list an item that is out of stock or on back order. You should have checked the inventory before you selected the new product to introduce.


Join me in my Craftsy class titled”How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business” save $10 with this coupon link.


Monogram of the Month – Part 2 of 2

I didn’t have what I needed today.  So I used what I found. 

What I wanted was a black painted wooden frame.   I had one somewhere – finding it was another matter and there was no time to delay the Monogram of the Month project for the May/June issue.

I found a wooden frame but it was stained brown.  It didn’t have glass—(I didn’t need glass anyway).  But it also didn’t have a cardboard back for me to use as a template for the project.

I needed cardboard or cardstock to make a template and also use to wrap my embroidered fabric around for framing.

Folders looked too flimsy.  I eyed book covers (gasp!) but I couldn’t bring myself to destroy a book cover for my art piece.  I rummaged through my office and found an old spiral notebook.  The cover was made of a light-weight plastic.  It was perfect!

I measured the inside of the frame and used those dimensions to cut the plastic notebook cover.

Monogram of the Month – Volume 92

Since the plastic was translucent it made it super easy to use it to center my embroidery underneath—then I trimmed away the excess fabric from my stitch out – leaving enough to fold around the plastic.

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I taped the fabric wrapping it tautly around the plastic.

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The embroidered art piece fit perfectly inside the frame.  An extra detail I find important is finishing the back.  Although no one will see the back of the frame, finishing it is an important detail I don’t like to overlook.  Besides, it’s a chance to add that unexpected flair.  I happened to have a hot pink piece of scrapbook paper tucked away in my office supplies.  (What a lucky find!).  I trimmed it away and secured to the back of the frame.

Now the frame is complete!

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Be sure to read Part 1 of Monogram of the Month for May/June 2015 Volume 92 issue for steps on how I created the appliqued heart using the bernette Embroidery Software Customizer.


Monogram of the Month Part 1 of 2

Inspiration is everywhere! 

We have a restaurant in the area that has taken recycling to a new level.  It has an entire wall covered in wooden pallets.  Now if that’s not crazy enough—the pallets have graffiti all over them.

I read the pallets as I was enjoying my hamburger.  There were various messages, “Susie was here.”  “12/5/2015:  We bought a house!”  And of course, the most common sort of graffiti—a heart with two people’s initials.

When it came time to stitch the Monogram of the Month, I used what I had seen at the restaurant as my inspiration.  I want to stitch an appliqued heart with the letters SS + BH.

I opened the bernette Embroidery Software Customizer.  The software includes a variety of embroidery design files and applique designs that can be used with the CutWork tool.  I chose an embroidery design that has a coordinating applique file.

I opened design FB521_48.

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Next I clicked on Settings / Options / Hoop.

Click on the Manual setting option and click OK.  This will give you the freedom to move embroidery designs later.

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Next I RIGHT clicked on the Lettering icon.

What I appreciated in this software was the ability to scroll through the selection of fonts – while previewing the text I have typed.  This makes it easier to decide which font style to select.  I chose the Futura Md BT font.  Another great feature about the software—it uses true type fonts.   You can continually add fonts to your collection.

I typed the initials:  “SS”

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I pressed OK and added the text.

I repeated this step for the “+” and the “BH”

Once all the text was placed on the heart, I rotated each text element 30 degrees.

Last, I selected all the text and changed the color to black.

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I saved this design onto a memory stick.

Next I opened the coordinating applique heart file and sent to the memory stick.

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Using the BERNINA 830 with the CutWork tool I “stitched” the applique file, FB521_48_CWA.  The end result was a perfectly cut applique heart.

Then I hooped a new piece of fabric and stitched the heart embroidery design.

While reminiscent of the graffiti from the restaurant, my version uses fabric and thread as the medium!

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You may not always realize inspiration is around you – but challenge yourself to see embroidery possibilities in unexpected ways.

Check back in on Friday for the second installment of Monogram on the Month!


Here’s your assignment this week:

Inspiration can be found everywhere and in everything. For today’s blog, Denise’s inspiration came from a restaurant’s graffiti wall. What has been your most peculiar source for embroidery inspiration?

Post a comment below and one very lucky winner is going to score BIG by winning a one-year subscription to Design in Machine Embroidery magazine!


Multi-Needle Monday: Text Tools at Your Fingertips


One of my favorite features about my multi-needle machine (Enterprise or Entrepreneur) is the touch screen text tools. As an embroidery business owner I wear a lot of hats; marketing, finance, designer, and operator so if I can save a little time to stitch a name on a hat back or the sleeve of a coaches shirt I am elated. Using the programmed fonts and editing tools to accomplish this task makes professional looking lettering at your fingertips.

Convert horizontal text into vertical text.

There are a handful of occasions when a vertical name is needed such as: bat bags, locker bags and a length of a sleeve. This is how I create the vertical text on my 10 needle embroidery machine.


Step1. Select the lettering icon on the main screen and type in the word “Coach”. Generally the vertical name or word would be all caps.

Select the Array icon and diagonal choice.




Step2.Select and hold the lower bottom bold diagonal line. The letters will move from a diagonal into a perfect vertical line. Touch close and embroider the text. Size and spacing can still be adjusted as needed.




Array Text

Select the horizontal line icon and the arch icon. There are many different ways to position the text with the array keys. The arch feature is the perfect tool to use if you add a name to the back of a baseball hat. You can easily squeeze the letters to fit around the opening.




Slice Tool

This feature separates each letter in a line of text.



Type in the name or text needed and select “Spacing” icon. Touch the picture of a knife and you will notice the knife moving between each letter in the word.




Use the “select” key to highlight a letter to be re-sized or moved if needed. Touch edit end and embroider the text.




Learn more helpful machine embroidery business information by taking my Craftsy class : How to Start an Embroidery Business by Marie Zinno.

Click the link to save $10 on this class.

Multi-Needle Monday: Automatic Appliqué on the Brother Entrepreneur and Baby Lock Enterprise

As owners of the Baby Lock Enterprise and Brother Entrepreneur, we are so fortunate to have the latest and greatest technology at their finger tips. We have the scanner and live camera along with automatic basting file (shown in an earlier blog for embroidering t-shirts) and another helpful, quick technique the automatic appliqué feature. The automatic appliqué can create any shape, text or embroidery design into an appliqué without using embroidery software. There is an icon on the screen to convert each design into an appliqué.

I created a simple three-letter monogram inside a diamond shape design right at the embroidery screen; no embroidery software needed. The steps below will guide you how to create your own appliqué once a design, text or shape is shown on the screen.

Step 1. Select the shapes icon under Exclusives and choose the diamond shape.

diamond mono1diamond mono2

Resize the diamond shape to approximately 4″ wide or the size you wish to embroider and select Edit End. diamond mono3

Step 2. Click the blue shield icon; this will add the automatic appliqué around the diamond shape.

diamond mono4diamond mono5

Step 3.Use the select key and highlight the black diamond shape as shown in photo (the original shape) and delete it.

diamond mono6diamond mono7

Go to “Add”. Choose the monogram icon.

diamond mono8diamond mono9


Step 4. Select the letters for the monogram; left, middle and right letters to fit properly inside the shape.

diamond mono10diamond mono11diamond mono12


Resize the letters to fit inside the satin stitches.

Step 5. Hoop the fabric and stitch the placement color (1st color). Add the fabric on top of placement color. diamond mono13diamond mono14diamond mono15 Remove hoop from machine and trim excess fabric from around diamond shape.

Step 6. Replace the hoop on the machine and stitch the satin stitch and monogram. diamond mono16

final mono diamond

Instant applique! Right at your fingertips!


Learn more helpful machine embroidery business information by taking my Craftsy class : How to Start an Embroidery Business by Marie Zinno.

Click the link to save $10 on this class.

Monogram of the Month – A tribute to a friend

How do you cope with the end of life of a dear friend?  It’s never easy – especially when life seems to have been cut way too short.  Whether you’re an embroiderer, sewer, crafter or other form of artist you have an opportunity to use your skills to create something special to honor the deceased’s memory.  This month I decided to create a special monogram with a friend in mind.  She passed away at the young age of 30 from ovarian cancer.

I enjoy the challenge of learning new software—so I chose to work with Art and Stitch 3.0 software.  I was delighted with the built-in designs and features—plus the program is very intuitive.

Open the program, then select File / New.  In the dropdown menu I chose Embroidery for the type of design and chose PES format.

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I clicked on the Monogram Tools button and discovered a library of monogram styles to choose from.  Keeping my friend in mind, I chose the Pioneer Monogram.  The ribbon and flowers reminded me of her.  I typed my friend’s initials in the letters box.

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Although it’s Monogram of the Month—I didn’t want to stop with a monogram.  I want more text and the opportunity to use more features in the software.  Art and Stitch has a fun feature—adding text on a circle path.  I typed “Loving daughter” in the upper portion of the circle then added “and friend” in the lower portion of the circle.  While I could probably write pages of text, I figured those two phrases would cover most everything not only for her family but for people lucky enough to have known her.

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I saved the design and sent it to the embroidery machine.

Depending on your work habits you could have chosen the thread colors in the software then saved the design.  I usually don’t know what colors I want to use until I have ALL the “crayons” in front of me.  Once in my sewing studio I selected thread colors that I thought would not only coordinate well but would celebrate Alana’s life.  This is also when the creative process really did turn into a process!

First I grabbed some blue fabric.  I liked the “almost” denim look and thought it would be perfect to stitch the monogram.  But when it came time to select thread colors I realized the challenge of making sure the embroidery popped against the now not-so-nice blue fabric.  The thread colors don’t merely need to be bright—they need to be attractive and coordinate.  Not to mention they need to be colors my friend would have liked.  That is a daunting task!

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The blue sample above just didn’t work.  What was I thinking when I stitched teal ribbons next to the green leaves?  The colors don’t work well together.  On the bright side, I did like the red thread.

Undaunted, I tried again.  This time I switched to white fabric.

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Now, before you scoff at this sample, let me explain my logic at the time.  The leaves needed to be green.  The red worked in the previous sample—so surely they’d work for the ribbons.  But as I stitched I realized the sample was turning into Christmas with the red and green.  So I thought I’d balance things out with the stark black thread for the initials – then a dash of teal for the lettering.  I almost didn’t finish stitching this sample.  It wasn’t my best color selection!

After the first two samples I decided to regroup.  I focused on my friend’s favorite color:  emerald green.  I selected a pretty emerald green thread—and let it lead the way as I chose the rest of the colors.  The rose and golden yellow coordinated well.  I really wanted to incorporate teal—the color for ovarian cancer awareness.  So I chose a darker version of the color than I had been using.  Confidently, I stitched the sample and well, I think the results speak for themselves!

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There is a lesson in this blog.  Maybe a couple lessons if we look hard enough!

  1. Select one color and build around it.
  2. Be open to experimenting with different thread color combinations.  If you don’t get it right the first time, it doesn’t mean you won’t get it on the next attempt!
  3. Every stitch-out is an opportunity to learn!

Now that it’s stitched it’s ready to be framed and given to Alana’s family.


Here’s your assignment this week:What thread color combinations would you have chosen for the monogram?  One random comment will win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.
The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:
I’m sure you’ve come across the empty bobbin message. What do you do to avoid this? Wind several bobbins? Purchase pre-wound? Throw away almost empty bobbins? Or just bear with it? A random comment will be selected to win a pack of Print & Stick Target Paper!The winner is: Karen M.  – “Empty bobbins are not fun! I try to always keep at least 6 bobbins ready to go simply because I dread the task!”  





Multi-Needle Monday! Roulette Table Cover!

If you are using your multi-needle embroidery machine for a hobby or as a business, I’m sure you have some interesting and unique requests. Through my ten years as a commercial embroidery business owner I have had my share—believe me!

Recently one of the interior decorators that I embroider for asked me to meet their client who had remodeled his living room into a small casino room. The man was widowed and decided to change his formal living room (which he never sat in during his 25 years in the home) into a real casino room; complete with a regulation size roulette table!

The roulette table has an unusual shape and the table cover was customized to fit in one direction. One end of the table is narrower than the opposite end; therefore after playing and replacing the table cover (which is 15 feet long) it was difficult to know which end would fit properly. The client suggested I embroider a monogram on the one end of the cover and then he could easily tell how to replace it on the table.  Easy enough!

Yikes….the table cost thousands of dollars and the custom cover was hundreds as well. The fabric was a medium weight vinyl and he wanted a six inch tall monogram in gold metallic thread. We decided on the font (Old English) and placement which I carefully marked with masking tape while still on the roulette table. I also took photographs with my phone so I could easily envision the layout when I returned to my workroom.

Steps to success:

  1. I used PAL2 to precisely plan the embroidery layout. In my workroom, I placed the cover on the floor and attached the PAL2 to a small table at one end. I used masking tape (not painters tape because it would not stick to the vinyl) I did not want to use pins or chalk. I measured the distance from the edge seam; which we decided while on location and checked for accuracy.
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  2. The best hoop for this heavy fabric was the 8”x 8” Snap Hoop Monster. I was concerned about marks from the frame so I placed foam wrap on the bottom of the frame on top of the magnets.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog Eileen's Machine Embroidery BlogI used medium weight cut away stabilizer.   I attached the hoop to the machine and placed the bulk of the table cover on a chair to ease the movement of the hoop.
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  1. The metallic thread was placed on my counter, not on the spool rack, in a small mesh container I use for other notions. I have read many different tricks to working with metallic thread but this trick works for me 99% of the time. (Wish I had those odds when playing on a roulette table!)Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  2. I slowed the speed of the embroidery machine down to 700rpm and embroidered the monogram without a hitch!Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

As a business owner, it is not wise to play “embroidery roulette” on such custom items because of the risks involved.  This is no time to “learn” or “experiment” on the job – the costs are very high.  I try to steer clear of embroidering on items that I do not supply but I was confident that I had the most amazing tools, embroidery technology and experience.  When you’re in a similar situation consider your experience and the risks involved.

My client was thrilled when we placed the cover on the table and he now enjoys taking the cover off and replacing.


Monogram of the Month – January 2015

Create a monogram for Nancy Zieman? The stress mounted as I thought about the assignment. I opened EmbroideryWorks™ software and started experimenting.

There’s a unique quality about Nancy Zieman’s initials that I hadn’t considered. Rotate the N and it becomes a Z. Rotate the Z and it’s an N.

I started out with the N and rotated it to create a Z.

Then I started playing with angles. I like the idea of being able to read NZ horizontally and vertically. When I think of Nancy, I think of her beautiful landscape quilts. I added some greenery to the design. This is a built-in design with the software!

When I consider Nancy’s qualities, I think of elegance. The addition of the dots reminds me of pearls and when stitched on pale pink linen it completes the look.

See the letters in a new perspective. Try rotating or mirror imaging the letters to see what happens. Consider the recipient. What embroidery font style suits their personality best? Are there additional design elements that can be added to enhance the design?

I was having so much fun with repetition and pattern, I decided to make a border with Nancy’s initials. I am rather pleased that you can still read her initials horizontally and vertically. The use of the triangles separates the letters and also directs the eyes.

Now you give it a try! Select some initials to work with, open your favorite embroidery software and have fun!

Here’s your assignment this week:
Experimenting with monograms can be fun and rewarding. Share with us one time a monogram you made didn’t turn out quite as planned. Maybe the set of linens to the newlyweds Adam and Stacy Smith wasn’t quite what you envisioned or perhaps your kitchen towels to Mom turned out with a real WOW factor. Whatever the case we’d love to hear about it. One random correct answer will be chosen and will receive a $100 gift certificate to use at the Sewphisticated Stitcher website. Good Luck!
DIME Blog Ad 141121 lg
The winner of last week’s assignment:
It’s a puzzle! How many squares are in the picture below? Leave a comment below with your answer. One random correct answer will be chosen and will receive a $25 gift certificate to the DIME website. Good Luck!
msGlpAnd the winner is…Sue Y. “40” Congratulations Sue – there are indeed 40 squares!


My Most Rewarding Embroidery Task

J5Yesterday, I had the honor of embroidering my daughter’s white coat for her graduation ceremony at University of Texas, Pan American. Janelle has completed her Master’s degree and will be a certified Physician’s Assistant.

It’s been a long journey. Her path included several semesters spent in a cadaver lab during her undergraduate studies where her passion for medicine was ignited. That was followed by intense study to pass the GREs. Sweating out the application process (50 available seats for 1000 applicants) and then waiting for the acceptance letter.  The jubilation that her goals were within reach pushed her into the next phase: twenty-seven months immersed in medical studies – orthopedics, cardiology, obstetrics, gynecology, internal and pediatrics. Testing, testing, testing and finally, clinical rotations in the field. Last week, she passed her final exams with flying colors. Today, she graduates and will wear her white coat – monogrammed by her mom.

My life is a whirlwind often swirling so fast it’s hard to catch my breath. On Wednesday, Janelle brought me the white coat, fresh out of the shipping bag and asked me to embroider her name and credentials above the left pocket. She was kind enough to write it out for me first (and smart enough – maybe because she remembered just a few months ago when I embroidered linens for her friend’s wedding gift with the bride’s maiden initials! They look just great on my bed now). She dropped the coat (and her significant other’s) in my office and we went on to other tasks.

The next day, I looked at the pristine coat, tags still attached and thought about how hard it was to earn that coat. The sacrifices she made along the way and the sacrifices I made to get her through undergraduate school at the University of Oklahoma. As a single mom, I was determined to see both of my children graduate with a bachelor’s degree. It wasn’t easy but they both have succeeded.

Janelle did graduate school on her own and is now empowered to enjoy a career she loves. If she’s as lucky as me, she’ll never work a day in her life because she’ll love what she’s doing.

So, it was with great honor that I opened Perfect Embroidery Pro and clicked on the Text icon. I typed in Janelle Roche….in the properties box and scrolled through the fonts to the mini fonts.J7


I selected the Diana font and hit Apply.j1

Suddenly, there it was on the screen – all those years of preparation. I couldn’t wait to see it stitched.

I measured the pocket – 5” wide and adjusted the size of the text. I hooped tear-away stabilizer and similar fabric and stitched a test. Perfect!

I placed a target ruler above the pocket and inserted a target sticker into the hole. J3

I hooped the coat with tear-away stabilizer in Snap Hoop Monster, centered the needle over the sticker and pressed start. I have to confess, I stayed with the machine and watched it stitched every letter. I didn’t really relax until the machine stopped. Those mini-fonts in Perfect Embroidery Pro are perfect!J4

After clipping the thread tails and removing the stabilizer, I fingered the white cloth and experienced a little déjà vu remembering another white coat – her baptismal gown. Oh, how time flies.


Janelle and Kegan Milstead Graduation Day University of Texas, Pan Am, 2014

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