How to hand stitch letters onto white fabric

Written by eric jonas
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How to hand stitch letters onto white fabric
Embroider family initials onto handkerchiefs. (Nick Clements/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Add hand stitched initials or other letters to fabrics such as bed linens, hand towels and kitchen linens for customised home accessories or personalised gifts. Add a monogram to a set of bathrobes for a newlywed couple or embroider the initials of a new baby onto a special baby blanket. Adding embroidered letters to fabric is easy and you can use tracing paper, chalk or wash-off fabric pens on the white fabric to make a guide that will disappear later.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Printer
  • Lightweight tearaway stabiliser (or tracing paper)
  • Embroider hoop
  • Embroidery floss
  • Sewing or embroidery needle

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  1. 1

    Type the letters you would like to stitch onto the fabric and adjust the font and size according to your preferences.

  2. 2

    Print the letters onto a piece of lightweight tearaway stabiliser that can be run through the printer. Alternatively, you can place a stencil on a piece of tracing paper and write the letters with a tracing pencil onto the paper.

  3. 3

    Place the stabiliser or tracing paper on top of the white fabric.

  4. 4

    Open an embroidery hoop and place one piece underneath the fabric and one piece over top of the tracing paper or stabiliser. Close the embroidery hoop. Do not stretch the fabric taught within the embroidery hoop because it will cause sagging in the stitches when the hoop it removed.

  5. 5

    Insert a strand of embroidery floss into an embroidery or sewing needle. Pull the floss through the needle until the floss is doubled. Tie a knot in the bottom ends of the floss.

  6. 6

    Make the first stitch. Start at the bottom of the letter at the far left or right. Insert the needle from the back of the fabric and through the stabiliser or tracing paper.

  7. 7

    Continue making small stitches through the letter on the paper or stabiliser. When you complete the first letter, insert the needle from the front of the fabric to the back and then insert the needle from the back into the bottom or top edge of the next letter. Alternatively, you can complete the letter at the back of the fabric, make a knot in the embroidery floss and cut off the excess floss. Thread a new piece of embroidery floss onto the needle and begin the next letter in the same way you began the first letter.

  8. 8

    Release the fabric from the embroidery hoop. Remove the stabiliser or tracing paper. The tearaway stabiliser will pull away from the stitches easily. To remove the tracing paper, cut around the stitching and then tug gently on the paper to pull it out from the stitches. Do not tug hard because it will pull on the stitches.

Tips and warnings

  • Instead of using tracing paper, you can write the letters directly onto the fabric with a piece of chalk or wash-off fabric pen.

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