How to embroider letters

Updated February 21, 2017

The monogram is a classic embroidery project. You can stitch initials on everything from pillowcases to towels to checkbook covers, adding a personal touch to even the most utilitarian item. Learn how to embroider letters and you can make your own fabulous monograms on your own items or on a gift for someone special.

Stretch your chosen fabric or fabric item, such as a towel or tote bag, in the wooden or plastic embroidery tension hoop. The fabric should be tight and flat, but not pulled in any way. This provides a neat surface that is easier to handle and push the needle through.

Choose a pattern for the letter you wish to embroider. Monogram letter patterns are usually done in a fancy font, but you can embroider block letters, cursive letters or any style you wish. If your fabric does not have countable threads, use a washable fabric marker or pencil to transfer the image of the letter to the fabric; this ensures a neat, finished project. Fabrics with easily seen threads will require counting to finish the embroidered letter.

Thread your needle with embroidery floss and push it through the fabric from the back at the left bottom edge of the first letter you plan to embroider. Leave a tail of embroidery floss or thread at least 5 cm (2 inches) long. Do not knot the thread.

Pull the thread across the width of the letter section and push the needle back down into the fabric on the other side. This is the satin stitch and, when repeated, it will cover the letter pattern completely. Repeat this process until the entire letter shape is completely covered. Explore other types of stitches for different finished styles.

Weave the end of the embroidery floss or thread under the back part of the fabric project to secure the stitching and hide the ends. Do the same for the 5 cm (2 inch) tail of thread you left at the beginning of the project. If colours were changed, each thread end should be woven in. Do not knot the ends in an embroidery project.

Remove the fabric from the embroidery hoop and flatten it with an iron or by pressing it under something heavy. Finish the embroidery letter project and enjoy.


Measure letter heights and widths on your fabric before starting.


Threads can bleed; test for colour fastness before you stitch.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Tension hoop for needlework
  • Letter template or pattern
  • Washable fabric pen or pencil
  • Embroidery needle
  • Embroidery floss or thread
  • Scissors
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