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Resizing and Large Monograms By Richards Jarden

Resizing and Large Monograms
By Guest Blogger: Richards Jarden, owner of Embroideryarts (specializing in monogram designs for embroidery machines since 1996)

Large monograms – for pillows, chair backs, shower curtains, etc. – are popular now. Big embroidered monograms are seen in catalogues and home decor magazines on a regular basis. Although many of these highly decorative designs are produced on commercial embroidery machines, home embroiderers can make them too. A few things are required:

* A big hoop. In principle a design can be enlarged to the maximum size of the hoop you have – allowing a bit of border space so you don’t hit the hoop with the needle. There are quite a few large hoops on the market for home embroidery machines. However, keep in mind that sewing out a large monogram may not be as simple as buying a big hoop and slapping it on your machine. Your machine will have a maximum sewing field that is determined by the machine’s mechanics, and a large hoop and your machine need to have matching capabilities.

* A software program to resize designs. A wide range of options are available – from inexpensive stand-alone resizing programs to more full-featured editing and digitizing software with resizing capability. In principle a design can be made any size you choose.

In the early days of resizing designs the programs didn’t include stitch processors to change design density when the design size changed. The program moved stitches further apart when enlarging, closer together when reducing, but the stitch count remained the same. As a result, it was recommended that design size be changed no more than 20%. The thinking was that spreading stitches out 20% wouldn’t create a look that was noticeably too thin, and compacting the stitches by that amount wouldn’t significantly pack the stitches up and cause excessive thread breaks. All “modern” resizing programs now include stitch processors to adjust density and stitch count, but the 20% limit has persisted in the minds of some educators and embroiderers.

In practice, some software programs seem to do a better job than others when designs are made significantly larger than their original versions.

(Tip: If your software seems to balk at significant size changes, try resizing in stages. Resize a certain amount, then save the resized design as a new file, then resize the new version a bit more, save again, etc.)

Regardless of the software used, there is one “gotcha” that should be kept in mind – particularly with monogram designs, which are often digitized in satin stitch. An embroidery machine has a set column width limit (sometimes able to be changed by the user, often hard-wired). This limit – somewhere between 9mm and 12mm wide depending on the machine you have – is associated with a type of stitch called a “jump stitch” or “needle up” – and on machines with automatic trimmers a jump stitch is a component of a trim code.

What happens when a resized design exceeds this limit? On the machine, a portion of the column may not sew at all. In your software, the widest section of a column will “disappear” and expose the underlay, which isn’t as wide as the top stitching. This limit is part of your software’s functionality – usually the maximum column width can be set within your software’s menu structure. If you have the column width edit function enabled, when a satin stitch column exceeds this limit one of several things will happen: the software will convert all or part of the design to a fill stitch, or it will drop a stitch part-way across the width of the column (sometimes called a “split-column”).

For a monogram, composed of several different satin stitch columns, which may all be different widths, and may all be wider and narrower in different parts of the column, the split-column solution may be visually inconsistent, and disturb the overall look of the letters. If you are going to experiment with resizing, pay close attention to the split-column issue – the specifics of what your software is doing to a wider column may be very difficult to see on screen. Converting everything to a fill may be a better visual solution, but it also has its disadvantages – a flatter more mechanical appearance, and significantly more stitches with a consequently longer sewout time.

Embroideryarts has offered a custom resizing service for several years to resize our designs for customers who don’t have resizing software, don’t know how it works, or are too busy to bother with the technicalities. For the past 8 months we have been gradually introducing XL versions for some of our monogram sets. Since we have the original vector files that we created when digitizing the original versions we can manually move the outlines around to create thinner columns and designs that will still sew at larger sizes. Typically we redo an XL style so that all column details are no wider than 9mm in an enlarged 254mm (10” tall) design, then scale the letters down to 177mm (7” tall). This allows the end user to resize upward again to 10” with their own software without stumbling into the same column width issue.

The illustrations here show the two versions of our Empire Monogram Set. The monogram in red is the original (3 1/2” tall – 89mm), the one in green is the XL version (7” tall – 177mm). The XL version is thinner, but still quite prominent at this size.

If your software is one that converts stitch files (i.e. DST, PES,etc.) to vectors for resizing then you could make changes like this yourself.

This week’s assignment:

What is the most recent project you have monogrammed?  Share your story for a chance to win a $25 shopping spree on the Designs in Machine Embroidery website!

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the question:

Want to win the pattern and fabric from French General Collection from Moda Fabrics? Just tell me how many hours you stitch every week. Leave your comment and you could win the pattern and fabric from Indygo Junction.

The winner is: Pam!
“Just like another person, I sew in spurts.  In the summer, my gardens take up most of my free time….but I escape to my sewing room on hot days!!”

Content in this feed is © Copyright 2012 by Eileen Roche and may not be republished without written permission. You’re welcome to forward to a friend or colleague but it’s not okay to add the RSS feed automatically as content on a blog or other website.




  • Gerry Barrett

    I make hooded towels for children…my gift for every baby shower I attend. Just finished one for “Josiah” about a week ago. I put the name on the hood along with something cute, this case was a cute turtle.

  • Bonnie Readie

    As a wedding gift I stitched 16 hand towels. 3 with the embossed monogram (single letter)in 3 basic colors and the rest embossed for different seasons and holidays. I used towels of all different colors and placed them in a multicolor striped basket where they can be stored.

  • Baye

    Napkins! I made white linen napkins with our initial.

    Thanks for all the info on the resizing. I’m always a bit afraid to mess with design size.

  • Mary

    A single monogram on a towel for my sister-in-laws 80th birthday. The other end of the towel was an owl to add to her collection.

  • Beviejo

    Towels for a wedding gift! And I did the practice stitch out on denim, made it into a pillow with a jeans pocket on the back with “pizza cash” tucked into it.

  • Barbara Rowlan Wong

    Like the shoemaker who has no shoes, I’d never monogrammed towels for myself until about a month ago. What a luxurious feeling I have when I walk into that bathroom and see them hanging there.

    I have been contemplating monogramiing pillows with a larger style initials for a patio. Reading this blog gives me courage that I can do it!

  • Gail Beam

    Appliqued monograms on beach towels for my grandchildren.

  • Elaine

    Just finished monogramming neoprene mouse pads. This was my first time embroidering on neoprene and was pleasantly surprised with the results. Love monogramming and am always resizing. Thanks for the great info!!

  • Bonnie Gray

    An embossed set of towels for my son after I read a past blog of Eileen’s

  • Janet Lumetta

    Just this past weekend I embroidered 8 napkins for a friend to give as a bridal shower gift. Four white napkins with a decorative script monogram in pewter. Another four bright yellow napkins were embroidered with a circle monogram also in pewter.

  • Jean

    Set of bath towels for as a gift. Thank you for the tips!

  • Marge Geraci

    Just last week I monogramed a set of towles for myself. We are in the process right now of remodeling our own bathrooms. The main bathroom is having the theme of humming birds. So I have hummingbirds and a flower bouquet sourrounding our monogram of G. It is on the towels and other things going in the new bath.

  • Kathy Meyer

    Finished large monogrammed pillow covers with Madeira appliqué trim for my granddaughters at Christmas time. Each color was unique to their personalities and room decor. Six happy smiling faces made all of the work a joy!

  • Marilyn

    I monogrammed baby bibs for a shower gift.

  • Jo of So TX

    I monogrammed a small bag that clips on air conditioner vent in a car as a graduation present. It is called a car tote and I got the instructions from Embroidery Library, however, couldn’t find it just now when I thought I’d better check for sure. It is simple and everyone seems to love it.

    • Jo of So TX

      Oops! It is called a Clip and Go Organizer.

  • Mary Ann @ RocknQuilts

    I embroidered a set of towels and washcloths for my daughter’s new apartment.

  • Donna

    I monogrammed kitchen hanging towels in a patriotic theme for my daughter-in-law’s mother. Her love of patriotic themes inspired me to add to her collection. I also made hoody towels for my granddaughter to wrap hershelf in as she finished her bath time. They had her initials on one, and a guitar in her favorite purple color on the other. She just loved them.

  • Shirley

    A Pashmina scarf for my daughter with her 3 initials. I was amazed at how well it turned out on this delicate fabric. I followed tips in a tutorial I found on the web.

  • Pam M

    How timely this blog post is! I have just done my monogram initial on the back pocket of a pair of jeans – as described in Contemporary Machine Embroidered Fashions. Great idea – love the finished product (but if any of you think you are going to get a picture of my butt in those jeans, think again LOL!).

    • eileenroche


  • Susie

    I’m not sure why but I haven’t embroidered in some time. The last time I did a monogram was on the leg of my son’s and my sweatpants. 🙂

  • Judy

    I monogram my grandchildren’s T-shirts and also decorative pillows and tote bags/purses. I especially like the script style fonts. My next project will be bath towels with 5″ letters and this info will be especially helpful.

  • nancy b

    Just finished a quilted tote bag and I embroidered the center square with my initials monogram…..I did enlarge the font I used and I love the result!

  • Diane

    I sewed 2 covers for eurosham size pillows for the master bedroom and embroidered a giant initial in the center with flowers down the left side and across the bottom of the initial. I should have raised the monogram higher instead of centering so that it could be seen behind and above the other pillows in front. It’s okay, I still use them and really, my husband and I are the only ones that see them!

  • Erich Campbell

    Sadly, my latest monogram project is hush-hsuh. I’m working with a new kind of material that Hastings come to market yet, so I can’t share. I’ll say this, though- the monogram itself was styled in teh Art Deco mode. 🙂

  • Maryann Roths

    I went to Hawaii with my brother and his family a few months back. I made everyone a flip flop lauagge tag with monogram, and the a girls a beach bag monogrammed! Love those big letters! Thanks for the info on resizing.
    Maryann Roths

  • Christina

    Last thing I monogrammed was a diaper bag for a shower gift. Turned out really nice.

  • Beth

    Like someone else said, I hardly ever monogram anything for myself. But last week I made it a point to make some pillow shams. I actually used this XL version of the Empire monogram which turned out beautiful.

    • eileenroche

      Good for you, Beth. The Empire monogram is one of my favorites.

  • Lynn

    Thank you for the great tips! I monogram items as gifts but never for myself – so I finally monogramed a pillow for my kitchen. I can’t believe how many people comment on it. The feedback builds my self confidence so much that I am going to embroider dish towels next.

  • Marilyn Weiss

    I just did a 3 letter monogram for a 12×16 inch pillow and wanted it quite large–to basically fill the pillow front and I ran into the exact problem that Mr. Jarden describes. I use a stand alone lettering software program that I am still learning. My solution was to switch to a fill stitch–basketweave–and although it came out fine and I like the results I still have in my mind’s eye how much nicer it would be in a beautiful, lush satin stich. I will look through the software to see if the other suggestions exist that Mr. Jarden offered.

    • eileenroche

      Richards Jarden is THE lettering expert.

  • Becky

    My friend was making a dress for her 2 yr old granddaughter and I monogrammed the yoke for her. It turned out very cute.

  • Mary Haggenmaker

    Every year at Christmas I have a standing order from Son, Son-in-law, and Grandsons-in-law for monogrammed handkerchiefs. My 7 year old grandson has just joined the list. For his birthday he wants his own set of handkerchiefs, just like his dads, for his birthday in November.

  • Nancy N

    I monogramed the inside pockets of a tote I made from Designers Handbags for a friend”s birthday gift. She got to choose the fabric ,style and size. The Embroideryart’s digitized designs are really fabulous!

  • Michelle Haag

    A client’s Camo Shower Curtain! Which I ended up changing the satin stitches to fill stitches because the area was so large…

  • Beth R

    A scarf most recently.

  • Lillian Moser

    I just finished black initials on orange towels for three wonderful kids from our church to use at their swim team meets. I was thrilled to be asked to do these for them.

  • Anna

    In my imagination, I have recently monogrammed so many things… cushions, towels, totes, table napkins and so much more. In reality, I have yet to monogram anything as I’ve only just started on the wonderful adventure of machine embroidery and am just learning to use my new machine!

    • eileenroche

      I wish you many hours of enjoyment with your new machine, Anna. Take it one project at a time and you’ll be a whiz in no time!

  • Paula Roney

    I monogramed a top sheet for an AG doll bed set. My AG doll lovers have more than one doll, so I monogramed all of the doll’s initials across the top of the sheet. The monogram turned a plain flat sheet into something very special.

  • Eva Salo

    I have 5 family weddings this summer and have monogramed 2 bath towels, 2 hand towels and 2 washcloths for each wedding.

  • Terrie Underwood

    I monogrammed kitchen towels for a new bride and groom, and aprons with their names.

  • kathy

    I monogrammed a purchased tote bag to give as a gift to a co-worker who was retiring. It made it personal for her and made it special. I tease that someday my husband will find his underwear monogrammed!

  • Colleen Bell

    My girls and I are preparing for a church baby shower this weekend. One daughter made a binkie set – binkie bag holder and a binkie ribbon holder. Another daughter is doing different hair clips with a hair clip holder. The other daughter is making a set of bibs. All these are with their monograms in one part or another. Such fun to sew with them.

  • Virginia

    The most recent project I monogramed are 60 fleece blankets for my grandsons small Catholic High School graduating class.

    • eileenroche

      60! Wow – very impressive!

  • Karen

    Towels and sheets.

  • Dell

    I monogrammed our new bathmat.

  • Anna

    Hi there, I monogrammed towels for a wedding gift, they turned out terrible. I tried multiply times, I could have made another set for another couple with the amount of rejects I had. It seemed to me the towel was too thick for my machine and when it moved to start another letter the towel moved. Eventually it was completed, I ended up doing quite a bit of satin stitch on my sewing machine to fill in spaces and also quite a bit of picking out bits of underlay stitches that were not covered. All said and done I have five hand towels in my room waiting to put mongrams on for my sister in law and mother in law but I am a little gun shy right now and they could be collecting dust for quite a while. Thanks Anna Cameron

  • eileenroche

    Oh Anna, sorry to hear about your troubles because monogramming towels is one of the most rewarding tasks an embroiderer can do. Sounds like the hooping was the problem. Most standard hoops can’t handle a terry cloth towel. Here at the mag, we use Jumbo Magna-Hoop and tear-away stabilizer. If that’s not available, try this combo of stabilizers: hooped adhesive tear-away stabilizer, low-tack, iron-on tear-away stabilizer (fused to the wrong side of the towel to protect the towel from the sticky) and water soluble film-type on top. After embroidering, the towel can easily be removed from the sticky.

    Here’s a recent post on embroidering on towels that might help:

  • JodieT

    I stitched a monogram on a two baby blankets made for twins. I am still trying to learn my software.

  • Patty Sack

    I am currently working on pillow cases for my bedroom.

  • Jane Anderson

    I found laptop bags on Ebay for a reasonable price and purchased 25 of them. I monogramed them for each of my family members at Christmas. Each monogram was designed especially for that person.
    Jane in Kansas

  • Sandra Sanders

    I embroidered an initial on the front pocket of a “Mini Bow Tucks” purse that I made for a friend.

  • Gail Laub

    This is a very timely topic for me! I am making some large (28 inches across the back) rattan chair cushions out of Irish linen for the new home of my niece and her husband. They want a one letter embroidery on the seat. For a change-up I used a fancy M on one side and a chunkier version on the other. I had no trouble enlarging each letter to about 8 inches tall in a fill pattern but I had to create stitches in many fill patterns before finding two that didn’t have several very visible lines of larger stitches created where the letter changes direction. Trying to edit those stitches just didn’t work…..too many stitches and poor results. My Husqvarna software program is very good, so I wonder how other people handle or avoid this problem.

  • Sue

    I just monogrammed snap top bags for my granddaughters to match their swimsuit coverups….a place to keep their sunglasses.

  • Cy Swendsen

    I embroidered a set of towels for my girl friend who was forced out of her marital home by step-children after her husband died. I used her favorite fluer-de-leigh design to help make her new dwelling place more like her home.

  • nancyB

    played around with stitch angles and different step stitches on a rose design that I then embroidered on a towel. Also, did some towels for daughter .. lots of satisfaction in the end result.

  • LeAnne L

    I made a monogrammed tea cozy for a friend.

  • Debbie

    The last item I monogrammed was a set of towels for my bathroom. It seems that I am always making beautiful things for other people so I finally made something forme!

  • Marie Scharf

    The last thing I monogrammed was a white sweater I bought on sale and someone asked me to do one for their grand-daughter. So I thought I would practice on one of my own, (practice makes perfect). Mine came out great, so I did the one for my friend’s grand-daughter and she was very pleased. It was white on white, very elegant.

  • Robert Young

    The last items I monogrammed were box pillows for a yacht. the pillows were 40 inches wide by 30 tall. The two outer letters are in metallic gold and the large center letter is puffed embroidery outline only with metallic gold rounds throughout the interior. the monogram had a simple raised bordering that made the entire embroidery 27 inches wide by 23 tall.

  • Meredith Kaur

    I have never monogrammed anything :O I would love to though, and really enjoyed reading this post about resizing the stiches… I learned a lot! I had no idea one could encounter problems like that, I guess it just goes to show how much I take technology for granted.

  • Doreen

    I monogrammed a tea towel on Sunday.

  • Sophia

    Please schedule a trip to St. Louis.

  • Colleen Callanan

    The last thing I monogrammed was a quilt I made for my niece’s new baby. I made little t-shirts for 2 teddy bears I appliquéd to the quilt. My niece loved it.

  • Colleen Callanan

    I monogrammed teddy bears I appliquéd on a quilt.I made little T-shirts with the baby’s initials on 1 and on the other his birthday.
    I really enjoy reading this blog. Lots of great information.

  • Charlotte Lefler

    I purchased solid bath mats and put monograms on them as a thank you to some customers of mine.

  • Rebecca Grace

    I’m so glad you featured Richards Jarden! I’ve been a fan of his monograms and have used them for years. He also did a custom digitized design for me last year, and his attention to detail and professionalism were more than I could have expected. I’m thrilled that he’s releasing so many of his monogram designs in XL sizes.

  • Jerry Roberts

    I finished two projects recently for my granddaughter. The most recent involved a monogrammed circle yoke on a dress where I was able to use my software to make the monogram curve to follow the bottom line of the yoke. Just prior to that, I finished up a bean bag chair cover her mommy had tried to assemble and then added a 6″ monogram to the lower front center of the chair. It turned out so well!

  • Shirley Clark

    The last things I monogrammed were some burp cloths for a baby shower, and a pair of eyelet panties/diaper cover. I love my embroidery machine.
    Thanks for the article.

  • Karen Hansen

    My last monogram project was also my first! I monogrammed some robes for the bridal party for the night before the wedding – they were getting massages and pedicures. I did a sample before doing each robe so I could cut it out and decide where to place it. I used a grid to mark the intersecting points on the robe based upon the sample placement. They came out perfect! My daughter-in-law to be chose the gold rayon thread to match the wedding theme. I then decided to make the ring bearer’s pillow. I purchased a design online and then added the initial for my son’s name and his bride-to-be. Everything came out fantastic!! I also used your site to read the proper way to monogram and let my DIL choose the script letters she wanted. I also found it very nice that your website allows us to download a sample letter of the style of monogram we are interested in and stitch it out before buying!! Thank you!

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  • Arlyne Cobrin

    Before you do anything to change your home decor – whether it’s just one room or the entire house, ask yourself (and others in your family, if it’s a group decision), what do you want to accomplish. Is it just to get a fresh look with a new color on the walls, or is it to really throw out the old and start all over again? If it’s a new wall color you’re considering, make sure the paint you purchase will compliment your existing furnishings. Don’t rush out to your nearest home supply store and purchase a can of paint because it’s on sale or your think the color will do. Get several paint swatches and bring them home…”‘;

    Catch ya later

  • Rhonda Hepler

    Just today I monogrammed two tank tops for a friend of mine. You know we have to look cute when we are exercising….LOL
    And before I go to bed I am going to work on some pocket Tees to be monogrammed…………some will be monogrammed and some will be empty pockets to be monogrammed later.

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  • Donna

    I created 38 108″ long burlap embroidered table runners for my daughter’s July 4th wedding! I also embroidered “labels” for the various areas of the reception. I am now working on a scrapbook of pictures leading up to their wedding, and I have sewn a monogrammed, burlap cover for the book. In addition, I am also creating monogrammed pillows for their new home. I sewed for both of my daughters throughout their childhood, so it was extra special that she asked me to contribute to her wedding with something that I created, once again, with my trusty machine that we had all counted on so many times before!

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  • Bev Weis

    Very helpful article on resizing. For the week’s assignment, I have most recently monogrammed 4 thick saddle pads in two different designs for a husband & wife. First experience with saddle pads, so I practiced on a sample I made up beforehand. In my software I adjust density a bit & they turned out very well! Customer was really happy with the result & I added to my experience.

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