applique bag

Monograms in one way or another seem to always be in style. Machine embroidery has created loads of monogramming possibilities for makers, but what if you don’t have that function on your machine? I’m here to inspire you to use fabrics and make Simple, Fun Applique Monograms on your regular sewing machine instead!

Simple Monogram B

Cindy of the Skip to My Lou blog put together a lovely, clear tutorial for Applique Monograms that includes downloadable PDFs for all 26 letters. Each PDF includes both upper and lower case versions of the letter so you have every letter you’ll need. You can re-size the letters on your computer before printing or take them to your local copy center and ask for help there. Either way, you can create letters to suit your project!

You’ll need your printed PDF(s), fabric, a piece of clothing or tote bag for the background, the fabric you want to use for the monogram and fusible web. Cindy recommends Lightweight Heat ‘n Bond Lite so that the Applique Monogram doesn’t become stiff. The lightweight fusible web stabilizes, but leaves your monogram flexible.

applique fray check

The monogram shown in Cindy’s sample was fused to a purchased tote, then top stitched with a straight stitch about 1/8” from the edges. This leaves the edges raw, so she recommends finishing your Applique Monogram with Fray Check. Such a wonderful product! If you don’t already have this in your supplies, you’ll love it and wonder how you got along without it.

Applique traced

Using the PDF template you downloaded, you’ll trace your letter onto the paper side of your fusible web. Be sure to trace it in reverse so that it will be facing the right direction when you iron it onto your fabric. If you get it wrong, you’ll know right away once it’s cut from the fabric. Don’t worry – you’ve learned something and just a little more fabric will rescue your project with no problem!

applique stitched

Cindy’s straight stitching looks super and would be easy to do, but even if you have just a basic sewing machine, you probably have decorative stitches you could use. Make a little sample of a shape with curves so you can try out several stitches and see which stitch, width and length you want to use. Stars? Scallops? Waves? Or just a zig-zag? Be sure to save and label your sample so you’ll have it for future reference.

Click here for Cindy’s easy tutorial. She’s included a link for a crayon roll tutorial  that could have an Applique Monogram added to it. A tote and a roll would be great for a child, but now that adult coloring books are popular, the roll would be perfect for colored pencils or markers for a grown-up, too.

So, now that you know making Applique Monograms is easy, what else could you do? I found two other tutorials for you so you can put your new skill to good use!

Monogram Applique pillow2

On the Style With Wisdom blog, I found this gorgeous Applique Monogram pillow that uses a machine stitched feather stitch around the edge. The letters are a different font (type style) than the letters Cindy provides. It should be fairly easy to find letters you can print and use online. Just cut around the printed letters and use them as instructed in Cindy’s tutorial. Click here to see more about this pillow.

Monogram boys tees

Boys!! Aren’t they just charming?! I found these engaging fellows on the Jones Design Company blog along with instructions on creating their Applique Monograms. Click here to learn more.

That’s enough to get you started! Soon you’ll be stitching Applique Monograms on everything you find.  Pillows, totes, tees, blankets, pajamas, jackets – anything with a blank space will become the ideal background for a monogram when you’re viewing it with your creative eye. No stopping you now – you’ll soon be known as an Applique Monogram pro!

About the Author

Annette Millard began sewing at the age of three, made her first dress at ten and is always happiest with needle, fabric and thread in her hands. Annette feels very privileged to have spent most of her work life in the sewing industry and loves teaching, making her own handmade wardrobe and writing about sewing. She spent over ten years as the newsletter and web site content writer for the Pacific Northwest's largest locally-owned family of fabric stores and is now thrilled to have the opportunity to share her passion for sewing with the Sewing Secrets community. Follow Annette and more of her sewing adventures on her own blog,

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