How to Sew Words With a Sewing Machine

Written by mercedes valladares
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How to Sew Words With a Sewing Machine
Design a font, create a word and stitch to customise your items. (word love with flowers image by Gina Rothfels from

One way to customise home decor items such as pillows and comforters is to sew words or letters on them. Select a letter type font from a basic windows application or sketch a freehand font to create specific words that personalise your chosen item. By measuring the area for the word placement, the letter height and width are determined to avoid letters overlapping when stitching. Decorative stitches and contrasting thread colour add interesting details to the sewn word.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Flexible tape measure
  • Ruler
  • Drafting paper
  • H or F pencil
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Fabric (your choice)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Iron-on fusible or interfacing
  • Iron
  • Batting (optional)
  • Thread

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    Preparing the Letters

  1. 1

    Measure the width and length for each letter with a flexible tape measure or ruler. Measure the width and length of the area for the word placement to avoid letters overlapping or not fitting.

  2. 2

    Choose your font size and type using the Windows application in your computer. The font type of your letters can be bold or italic, depending on your preference. The font size dictates the height of the letter.

  3. 3

    Type the word on a blank document and save it in a separate computer file. Alternatively, you can sketch the font freehand for a customised letter type on drafting paper with an H or F pencil to define the lines.

  4. 4

    Change the printer setting to high resolution to ensure outlines are not jagged. Print out the word.

  5. 5

    Cut out the letters from the copy and pin the letters to the fabric of your choice. Cut out the letters from the fabric using fabric scissors to ensure smooth seams for each letter.

    Stitching the Word

  1. 1

    Pin the fabric letters to iron-on fusible or interfacing and cut them out. Make sure the adhesive side of the fusible or interfacing is facing the back of the fabric. An alternative is to cut out batting to add a quilt-like appearance to the word.

  2. 2

    Flip the letters over making sure the fusible is facing you. Iron the fusible or interfacing according to your brand's instructions. Most iron-on fusible requires the iron to be set on a high cotton setting. If your fusible has a protective sheet cover, remove it prior to ironing.

  3. 3

    Pin the word onto the area prior to stitching. Make sure the letters do not overlap thick seams. Make any necessary placement adjustments.

  4. 4

    Change the stitch selector dial on your sewing machine to the type of stitch you want for your letter. For example, if you want to add a decorative zigzag stitch, switch the dial to the desired zigzag size pattern and change your stitch foot attachment to accommodate zigzag stitching.

  5. 5

    Machine-stitch each letter separately and remove the pins. Stitch curves or uneven seam lines slowly to ensure even stitches. An alternative is to stitch a long stitch to hold each letter in place and then stitch the decorative stitch to secure each letter. Use contrast thread colour to highlight the word.

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