Mini Tutorial – Monogramming Without an Embroidery Machine

I was a pastor’s kid and a missionary kid.  Us kids would often get gifts and presents from people we had never met and that always made me feel special.  I still remember a necklace with a dove flying down on it (for peace) that I loved and wore for many years when I was a girl.  To this day I don’t know who sent it to us in Taiwan all the way from the States.  I always thought that when I got older I would do the same for my pastor’s kids.  About 5 years ago, I started giving them gifts at Christmas time.  These two drawing cases are for 2 of my pastor’s daughters.


When it came time to monogram them with coordinating fabric like I’ve done in the past, I couldn’t find anything that would go with this blue toile.  So I “embroidered” them, without at embroidery machine.  You all may have figured this out WAY long ago, but it’s taken me until now to figure this out.  So here’s a mini-tutorial on how I did it.

You will need:

  • Fabric fused with fusible interfacing (I fuse all mine for the drawing cases)
  • A piece of heavier-weight interfacing
  • A letter stencil (I used the pop-out of the chipwood letters available at Michael’s)
  • A pen that matches the thread you will use


Make an outline of the letter.

tutorial2.JPG    tutorial3.JPG

Place the heavy-weight interfacing under the letter.  This keeps the fabric from scrunching under the pull of the stitches.  Using a zig zag stitch, sew over the lines to form the letter shape, stopping at corners and adjusting the fabric as necessary.  My zigzag stitch width was 3.3mm with a length of .4 mm.


I used a presser foot with an open toe so that I could see the lines more clearly.  Ta-da!  It takes more time and energy than an embroidery machine, but it sure is a lot cheaper.

56 thoughts on “Mini Tutorial – Monogramming Without an Embroidery Machine

  1. how kind of you and how very lovely the cases are.

    I had sooo many plans for this Christmas… but I just realised I’ve got less than a week to the big day.

    Oh well. I hope people will understand!

  2. Well done! You are a very generous person, I love hearing that you are continuing the tradition of giving gifts to your pastor’s children. It is one of those pay it forward activities.

  3. Hey those look great! It is true that the satin stitch on an embroidery machine is virtually the same as a tight ziz-zag stitch on a sewing machine. At least with a sewing machine you have very good control over where the stitches go. Good job once again they look great.

  4. That’s a great idea! I never would have thought of that either, I would have hand-embroidered it. This is much quicker! My husband was a PK and a MK, so we can relate!

  5. Oh, thank you for posting this! I’ve been wanting to monogram, but nearly fainted dead away when I found out the price at the fabric shop the other day. There are definitely higher priorities at this time! I’m a MK, too, btw. We lived in Papua New Guinea. I know exactly what you mean re those gifts. I have a yellow hand-crocheted doily that is very precious to me. I don’t know the name of the woman who gave it to me, but I remember her sweet elderly face and that she was from New Zealand.

  6. Just lovely! With the many hours spent drawing and writing around here, I anticipate your presents to be a HUGE hit!! The initials make it extra special! What a blessing you are to our family! See you soon.

  7. Great idea! We are currently without a pastor (and even our interim is suddenly out on medical leave), but I will remember your story. I’m sure it does make you feel good as a pastor’s child to receive gifts. Pastor’s families put up with a lot.

  8. Thank you soo much for showing us how to do this on the cheap because I can’t afford an embroidery machine and would love to add some initials to a few gifts coming up.

  9. Pingback: Little Artist Drawing Case Tutorial « Craft Apple

  10. this is a great idea, and no, I hadn’t thought of it really! I would probably use a zig-zig with a shorter stitch so it looks like satin stitch… but I’ve never thought of drawing the outline and going over with sewing! So simple, and so effective, thank you!

  11. I am new to sewing and working on my first quilts. You just solved the problem of not be able to embroider. Thank you so much. My two year old grandson will benefit.

  12. OMG!!!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU….I can’t thank you enough! I will try this out! I have been looking for a monogramming machine, I am a student so I don’t have hundreds to spend on a embroidery machine! My parents’ bought me a nice sewing machine a while back…i started sewing with it and realized I am good at it, so then I wanted to monogram stuff so that I could sell it to make some money…I was actually going to give the sewing machine away and buy a ebroidery/ sewing machine. I WILL NOT be doing that now! I am SO trying this later on today! THANK YOU!!

  13. I recently saw a book cover made in patchwork hearts and on three blocks at the bottom were initials. They used ribbon ties, but I prefer to use a flap with Velcro to close it.

    With children there to help, you have the perfect opportunity to have them draw you some simple line drawings and use them as crayon blocks in a quilt.

    I have twenty crayon blocks to finish putting together. They were done with muslin, batting & backing and hand quilted around the edges of the drawings which are colored with the crayons.

  14. Hi,

    To make it even easier, draw around an uncut printed letter using tracing paper (dressmakers’ carbon paper) then sew as per your instructions ! Good luck !

  15. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this tutorial. I’ve been trying to figure out how I could do this on my sewing machine.

  16. Thank you … are inspiring! I really enjoy seeing all your talents at work!
    Thank you…thank you for all the pictures and tips!
    Very grateful!
    Just learning to sew and you have boosted my interests.

  17. Reblogged this on Kawaii Rorita~ and commented:
    Handy tutorial, and the rules apply for any rori who wants to embroider but doesn’t know where to start~ It most definately adds a unique and kawaii touch to any garments you make or buy~
    Also a great lifestyle lolita hobby!

  18. Pingback: Sewing machine embroidery tutorial – Sewing Tutorial | Sewing » Blog Archive

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  20. I was fiddling about with my latest project yesterday and thought about embroidering the baby’s name on it, since I don’t have an embroidery machine I fiddled about with the stitches on my machine and it’s easy 🙂 so today I thought I’d look it up to see if I was doing it right ( didn’t have a clue what I was doing yesterday) and it turns out I’m smarter than I think!! Haha, I pretty much followed everything in your tutorial without even coming across it till the day after!

  21. I love this!! Thank you for making it look so easy. I’m off to do some monogram stitching for one of my many granddaughters.

  22. Thanks for a good idea. I will definatly try this. I had thought about using the button hole stitch on my sewing machine as it is closer than the normal zigzag: I can’t adjust the stich length, it’s fixed.

  23. Wow! Thank you for such a brilliant tutorial. That was extremely kind of you to share it with us. While reading your post I was coming up with several ideas that I could use it for.

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