How to Sew Letters With Your Sewing Machine

Updated February 21, 2017

Sewing letters onto fabric using your trusty sewing machine is a matter of learning how to applique. Applique is the art of sewing one piece of fabric, usually a detailed pattern or shape such as a letter, onto another. The outcome, when done correctly and practised well, is beautiful, and quite simple once you get the hang of it. The good news is, you do not need an expensive new sewing machine to get started.

Make a pattern for your letters on fusible interfacing using a pencil. Patterns may also be purchased, in which case, cut the pattern out of the interfacing. This is the time to perfect the look of the letters you are planning to sew.

Choose your colours of felt. Wool felt is choice because it stands up to heat from the iron. Other blends cannot be ironed, and therefore you cannot use the fusible interfacing method.

Choose your thread colour to compliment the felt, as the thread will be a visible border around your letters.

Place your pattern onto the wrong side of your felt with the glue side down.

Iron into place, following the manufacturers guidelines.

Cut out the letter with sharp scissors, going through both the felt and the interfacing.

Iron a piece of interfacing roughly the size of your letter to the back of the canvas fabric. This is the fabric you will attach your letter to. This piece of interfacing stabilises the canvas fabric and reduces puckers and stretching.

Place the letter face down on the ironing board with the interfacing up. Position and lay the canvas fabric, right side down, onto the applique. Apply heat to fuse the letter to the canvas.

Thread your machine with the appropriate thread and choose the stitch you wish to show around the borders of the letter. A zigzag or slipstitch is usually used, but any stitch will do as long as it overlaps the raw edge of the felt letter.

Place the applique under the needle and sew around the edges of the letter.


You may use a hoop to keep your work taut and manageable. Place the fabric in the embroidery hoop and tighten it down.

Things You'll Need

  • Wool or wool-blend felt
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Thread (colour to coordinate with felt)
  • Iron
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery hoop
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About the Author

Angela Baird has been writing professionally since 1995. She has a wide range of life experiences from work with abused animals with the Humane Society, to more than 20 years of hands-on experience in the culinary arts. In addition, she keeps horses and does her own home improvements and home gardening.