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Monogram of the Month – January 2015

Create a monogram for Nancy Zieman? The stress mounted as I thought about the assignment. I opened EmbroideryWorks™ software and started experimenting.

There’s a unique quality about Nancy Zieman’s initials that I hadn’t considered. Rotate the N and it becomes a Z. Rotate the Z and it’s an N.

I started out with the N and rotated it to create a Z.

Then I started playing with angles. I like the idea of being able to read NZ horizontally and vertically. When I think of Nancy, I think of her beautiful landscape quilts. I added some greenery to the design. This is a built-in design with the software!

When I consider Nancy’s qualities, I think of elegance. The addition of the dots reminds me of pearls and when stitched on pale pink linen it completes the look.

See the letters in a new perspective. Try rotating or mirror imaging the letters to see what happens. Consider the recipient. What embroidery font style suits their personality best? Are there additional design elements that can be added to enhance the design?

I was having so much fun with repetition and pattern, I decided to make a border with Nancy’s initials. I am rather pleased that you can still read her initials horizontally and vertically. The use of the triangles separates the letters and also directs the eyes.

Now you give it a try! Select some initials to work with, open your favorite embroidery software and have fun!

Here’s your assignment this week:
Experimenting with monograms can be fun and rewarding. Share with us one time a monogram you made didn’t turn out quite as planned. Maybe the set of linens to the newlyweds Adam and Stacy Smith wasn’t quite what you envisioned or perhaps your kitchen towels to Mom turned out with a real WOW factor. Whatever the case we’d love to hear about it. One random correct answer will be chosen and will receive a $100 gift certificate to use at the Sewphisticated Stitcher website. Good Luck!
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The winner of last week’s assignment:
It’s a puzzle! How many squares are in the picture below? Leave a comment below with your answer. One random correct answer will be chosen and will receive a $25 gift certificate to the DIME website. Good Luck!
msGlpAnd the winner is…Sue Y. “40” Congratulations Sue – there are indeed 40 squares!


Related posts:




  • Donna Fecteau

    I did towels for a friend as s wedding present. I put their first names one the bath towels and just their initals on the wash clothes and hand towels. When I got to the bath towels, I did his name name “Ted” first. However, her 7 letter name had to be in a small size to fit my hoop. I had to go back to the store and buy another towel and redo his name in the smaller font so they would match. Not wanting to waste the towel, I put it in rotation at our house. Every now and then I hear “who’s Ted?” when someone takes a shower.

    • Denise Holguin

      That’s funny!

      Thanks for sharing.


  • Belinda Germain

    One lady wanted, no, insisted on a certain script font for her monogram, but the script slanted so much and the letters had very long beginning curly q’s that the letters just did not line up well and ended up too wide overall. I played with them until I finally hit on the solution – I placed the first initial, last, then middle with the first in the crook of the last initial’s curly q, above and to the left, and the middle initial at the bottom right. It turned out beautiful and she was well pleased!

  • Cathy

    So far my monograms have turned out well. I like to make persnalized towels for Christmas and Wedding gifts. When a design does not stitch out well they are used at our house. In the kitchen or bathroom. Hubby does not care as long as he has a towel to dry on.

  • Monica AD

    One time I was working on a gift for someone and I misplaced the hoop back in to finish up the monogram. I was grateful that I was able to catch it before it got too out of hand. However; I was able to create a disguise the little mishap … Give received in L*VE – FIESTA

  • Nancy Zieman

    Eileen and Denise, I’m honored to see what you did with “NZ!” You made my day.

    • Laura Marx

      I loved it too, Nancy. I especially am delighted to see your kind words and comment on this here. It is such a pleasure to know ones wor is appreciated and enjoyed and to have someone with as busy and demanding of schedule as I assume you have taking the time to acknowledge this is truly wonderful. Today we hero worship so many for such foolish reasons and acts on their part, think Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, the Kardashian girls etc, I think that the true heros’ worthy or being worshiped are people like you and Eileen who are both generous with their time but also still within reach of my ability to relate to on a “real” level as “real” people. SO MANY THANKS TO BOTH YOU LADIES!

  • Carol Morris

    My grandchildren call me “Oma”, and I had a fun surprise while I was monogramming a baby blanket for my youngest – her initials were OMA when I put the last initial in the middle!

  • melissa c

    On my first ever monogram on my two day old new machine, I did my own initials on my black fleece vest. Not understanding stabilizers, I ironed on a permanent sheet! As a result, one initial was completely hidden by my collar, the font was too small,and I now have sticky white residue permanently on display at the collar!

  • Kathryn

    I just love all monograms.

  • leora B

    before I had an embroidery machine… I made a pillow for a friend and wrote his name free hand just using a satin stitch, in a half moon shape… he was polite and said it was nice. now I can use my machine and they turn out much better

  • Kathy

    I thought I knew the rules of monograms and was asked by a friend to monogram her son’s shirt cuff. I did it and when I gave it to her, she complained that I had the order wrong. I should have checked how she wanted it done and ignored the rules!

  • Bernadette Webre

    I’ve monogrammed blankets, hooded towels and bathrobes for my grandchildren that have come out well. They all think they are pretty special. I was afraid of having an oops on the bathrobes so I designed monogrammed patches in my software that I stitched to the fronts.

  • Brenda Melahn

    My very first monogram was actually a guest towel to practice — I put my last name on the towel (to get a lot of practice) — yep, spelled my name wrong. I still have it and it taught me to measure twice, cut once, and check lettering for embroidery five times before hitting the button.

  • Karen

    I had monogrammed some pillowcases for a wedding gift, and it wasn’t until I cpmpleted them, that I realized that the letters emphasized their initials as SEX…. That was basically all you could see!!! Needless to say, I redid the gift….

  • Judy

    My monogram was ok. It was the wedding date they wanted under that was wrong. After it was framed and being passed around at the wedding shower the groom’s mother said, “it would ever be cuter if the date was right.”

  • Casie

    I monogrammed a set of pillowcases from my brother and his wife for Christmas one year. I messed up and embroidered them upside down, so the letters are pointing toward the closed end of the case instead of the border. My sister in law (who is like a sister) said, “No worries! Now I can just look over the embroidery when my head’s of the pillow and they read right side up!”

  • Rrrose

    I monogrammed my initials on the back pockets of a pair of jeans I made recently. I was rushed for time and that’s when I told myself I didn’t have time to stitch out a practice piece. Well, I had really enlarged one part of the design and the border of it was all “lumpy bumpy” as it stitched out. When I’m not rushed, I’ll go back and redo the pockets.

  • TroyJennene

    I get plenty of request to monogram towels and pillowcases from the guys at work. This past Christmas season I was embroidering a fire department badge with initials and realized the badge with fire hydrant and ladder was upside down, but not until after I had completed most of the embroidery; well the project was due by 0600 hours the next morning so I had to run out to the store at 0200 hours and get another towel. Now I have yet another towel with someone else’s initials and badge number.

  • S Hanson

    I am just now learning to do machine embroidery. My machine has spent more time in the shop than out.
    I had planned to make a dear family member a monogrammed travel accessory set for a big trip. The machine malfunctioned and I was left with long threads all over the fabric. Fortunately it was a surprise so she wasn’t disappointed.

  • Carolyn

    Which Embroidery Works did you use? I have the Everyday. I like the way you can work with it.


    • Denise Holguin

      Hi Carolyn,
      The version I’m working with is EmbroideryWorks Advanced. It’s a very user-friendly program. It made it very easy to put Nancy’s monograms together!


  • Karen

    I did a set of monogrammed towels with a musical note motif in the stitches that stitched sideways. I gave them anyway, they did not look bad just not what I had wanted. Thanks for all your great blog posts!

  • Donna G.

    i made hand towels for Christmas with the letters JOY in a fancy acript. It wasn’t until all were done when I noticed that the fancy J was actually an I. Fortunately I was able to add some crystals to round the I to a J! I added bling to the other letters and no one knew the difference (or at least no one’s said anything!)

  • Lynsey

    I was in CT, anxiously awaiting the birth of my Grandson in California. They knew it was a boy and had already chosen a name. I asked them to spell it out and was also told a colorful story of a great uncle of the Dad, for which the baby’ middle name would be.

    I began embroidering an afghan with a teddy bear in each corner, the baby’s full name on one side and awaited news of the birth to stitch out the date on the other long side. The day before the flight, I embroidered the date as I was packing to fly to Cali to meet my Grandson.

    When the gift was opened, they were both excited, but then exchanged an odd look between them. After a couple of days I had to ask if there was a problem. They sheepishly told me they had decided to shorten the middle name!

    Back in CT I set to work embroidering a new blanket with his new name!

  • Bonnie Gray

    I have monagrammed a lot of items, bath towels, kitchen towels, bathrobes, hooded towels for kids, birth record blankets, napkins as wedding gifts. Gives me a lot of satisfaction to give as gifts.

  • Mary Jo

    My mother-in-law needed a new robe. With her delicate 99 year old skin, she wanted something lightweight and terrycloth. The robe turned out well and she wears it every day but I wasn’t happy with the monogram I put on there. It looked too masculine. I was trying to use what I had built in and used the colors I knew she liked but it was just to harsh for a delicate gal like her. She says she loves it anyway but every time I see it, I cringe. Won’t let that happen again!

  • Jacqueline Curtis

    My husband loves to have his initial on his robes. The first name initial of course and he wants it large, like 6″ high. I have had to learn the hard way that the satin stitch doesn’t wear well if it is spread out over a large area and now I go to a filled stitch to make his special monogram for his robes.

  • Karin C

    I love what you’ve done with Nancy’s initials – so very creative & imaginative! I’ve done hundreds of initials, names & monograms, but thankfully, I’ve only ever embroidered the wrong name (Rob should have been Rod) once or twice. Once I was putting a zookeeper’s name on his good work jacket (think $150!) and I severely misjudged the amount of iron-on, cutaway stabilizer I’d need. Unfortunately, when I went to peel it away to trim it, I was left with lots of glue bits still stuck on the lining of the jacket. Only thing I could do was iron it back down and apologize. Told him thanks for the learning opportunity! Good thing he was pretty easy-going.

    But my biggest goof is when the excess fabric gets folded back up under the hoop & I don’t notice in time. Not much can be done to correct it, and when there’s only ONE item, usually means a trip back to the store.

  • Beverly

    I put names on a lot of towels but have never monogrammed I love the borders you created with initials

  • Barbara McKenzie

    I was making a baby quilt for some good friends, and after checking with them, embroidered the baby’s name on the quilt. A few weeks later, they called to say they had changed their minds about a name! Fortunately, I had thought ahead and had put the name on an applique that I could remove and replace with the right name! The quilt is well-loved.

  • Cathie Halfacre

    There are 24 squares in the puzzle I hope. Like this page very much.

  • Gail

    The very first monogram I ever made was by hand on the front of a pillow that I entered at our local fair and won a blue ribbon! I much prefer to do them by machine though. I’ve learned the hard way some things like you need enough contrast so the monograms don’t fade into the background especially as high iron well water turns white towels into a weird color after several years. Like the other ladies, I too put mistakes into our towels to use for us.

    I was doing a set of Mr. & Mrs. Santa soaking in their respective tubs towels for a gift when something went wrong and the design got horribly misaligned. We are currently using that towel as well with just a part of it embroidered and I’m sure I’m the only one that would know what the design was supposed to be LOL.

  • Debe

    The NZ is a great idea. It is so fun to experiment with different ways to use designs. There was also an article in DIME that used a monogram for the front of a jacket. Always wanted to try that, too. (there may have been a few articles now I think of it, lol)

  • Tricia

    I once monogrammed a blanket and burpies for a girl at work. Just before the shower she is telling a co-worker that they decided to name the baby after her father instead of after her husbands father. I casually asked what she was going to name him and had time to go home and do new ones. I got lucky though, Another co-worker was pregnant and named her boy the name the other was going to name hers. All is well and they both got a set with their child’s name on it… haha no one ever knew..

  • Deb

    I had to break all the rules when I was doing a class project with my daughter’s monogram – the font they had chosen just didn’t work with her initials, so I slid up, down, and sideways until it worked well enough. Sometimes the font someone loves just doesn’t work!

  • JudiC

    One of the 1st sweatshirts I monogramed for my brother-in-law with his business name on it was a very expensive i-zod brand. Somehow, I sill have no idea how this happened, but my machine stitched the 1st letter twice on top of itself but to the left 1/4 inch so the M looked like a big thick blob :o( I kept the sweatshirt & have worn it myself around the house layered on top of my own sweats to remind me not to walk away from my machine when monograming expensive clothing. It was so long ago it is full of holes & stains and is my go to for messy cooking & cleaning days now.

    • Gailete

      I feel your pain. Way back when I had my Janome 9000 which was still a very TOL machine, someone asked me to embroider her kids and grand-kids names on a bunch of shirts and sweatshirts. All went well until for some unknown reason I suddenly had a birds nest and the only way to undo was clip threads and eventually had a small hole in the shirt. I was frantic as the only reason I was even doing it was because money was so tight and I had neither time or money to go to the mall (40+ mile round trip) to see if I could find the identical color, size and shirt. I patched it up best I could and sewed the name and it didn’t show. But I try not to do things for pay anymore as it is way too much stress. Hard enough to get gifts right when if it comes out too terrible you just give them something else.

      One thing that I like about monograms is seeing articles on how to make those single letters into different designs by adding more of them, flipping and mirroring them. Especially back in the days when you were lucky to get 3-4 monogram fonts with your machine and no way to buy more. It seems so long ago but really only about 25 years since the first embroidery-sewing machine. So much to choose from now!

  • Shirley Clark

    My first monograms were all done on my own items. I did a cursive “S” on a hooded jacket. Every time I put it on, my hubby would ask why it was laying down. 🙁 Well, I thought it was standing up myself! It’s one of those slanted letters that looks more like a musical note than an “S”. Live and learn!
    Since then I always practice on something before I put a monogram on an actual item or gift.

    • Karen Williams

      I had the same thing happen when I made monogrammed long-sleeved fitted t-shirts for my 2 daughter-in-laws & 2 grand-daughters. The 2 A’s looked fine, even tilted; but the script L & R did not look so great. I was so embarrassed, as I hadn’t considered what a filled out t-shirt would look like! Now, to be doubly-sure of placement, I use the Embroidery Buddy, a target sticker & then pull it over my dressmaker’s form.

  • Carol K.

    When things go wrong for me I just embroider a new one on a coordinating fabric and use it as a double applique over top and underneath the bo bo. If the mistake is not visible on the other side just use a fabric without embroidery! If the applique I am using is medium or large in size I just do some free motion quilting to tack it in place inside the patch around the new embroidery. So nothing ruined or wasted and a nice project done!!!!!

  • Sara Redner

    I give bibs and burp pads as baby gifts. My BFF’s granddaughter told us the name she was planning to use. I spelled it the traditional way rather than her way, then she ended up naming the baby something totally different. Oh well.

  • Mary Parker

    Hi Eileen,
    My assignment was to make large initials for my nephew’s weddimg that fit in a ring from old wine barrels! First it was just their initials E & J, bit there was enough room to do their full names Elisabeth & James. And to stitch them on sheer white fabric in purple thread, one name for each circle! Well to my surprise they turned out beautifully and were the hit of the wedding!

  • Deanna

    I’ve monogrammed boot bags for my daughter’s cowboy boots

  • Cindy Masek

    I made some beautiful pillowcases for my daughter and her husband – or rather they should have been beautiful. The design I chose was a dense, art nouveau design with their initials centered. I was new at embroidery. I used tear-away stabilizer. I had a great deal of difficulty getting the pillowcases to hoop tightly because of seams. In the end it wasn’t tight enough and the stabilizer wasn’t firm enough. Everything stitched beautifully but with fabric wrinkles everywhere. I was very disappointed. They were expensive, high thread count pillowcases. Now I realize I should have done the following:
    – chose a less dense pattern
    – chose a smaller design and moved it further up onto the pillow to avoid seams
    – used cut-away stabilizer
    – used less tightly woven fabric
    – used a sharp needle instead of a embroidery needle
    I plan to try again at some point. But I have also applied many of these learned points to projects since.

  • Karen Williams

    I’ve made lots of monogrammed gifts over the years & have learned a lot since those early days! The size & fill of the font, the proper stabilizer & toppings, printing out a version of the final design before making the first test run. A couple of years ago I made a pair of kitchen towels for a new quilter in our group. I chose a 2.5″ Celtic Q for their last name. All looked well, but after stitching it, I discovered it looked too small & light-weight, so I went back to the software & superimposed another 3.5″ Q & after minor adjustments, it actually looked great, with all the interlocking curls. Whew!! Project saved! I really like fiddling with letters & try to think of some unique characteristic in a letter, like making a J into a hook. Sometimes repeating letters around a circle, linking one into the other makes a design as much as a repeated letter – think X, V, W, etc.

  • Laura Marx

    I happened upon your blog looking for help and guidance with my current,last minute (has to be done by 4pm Wed. eeeek)project of a quilt that will be 60″X80″ with a very basic large center and wide borders with the center having a family tree design appliqued on it. Each leaf will have a relatives name on it. Having done monogrammed towels that turned out beautifully and totes that were nightmares I wanted some hope for this working out better then the inside out and upside down monogrammed pockets on the totes. I told the two I gave totes to that it was a well hidden secret and should they figure out the why of it then they MUST tell me as I couldn’t figure it out! (referring to why their initials were on the inside of the pocket and upside down to boot. errrr my backwards piecing had nothing to do with it I still insist!

  • Bruce

    I just love the monograms. Great job!