The price of a shirt can go up by $10 or more, simply because it displays a monogram. To have a monogram put on at a tailor’s will cost even more. You don’t have to pay these costs if you just learn how to monogram shirts yourself. There are several different ways to place a monogram on a shirt. First of all, you can buy iron-on transfers or applique which come in letters of all sizes and colors. The applique is much better than the iron-ons, which sometimes don’t transfer completely. With the applique, you simply pin them in place and then attach them with needle and thread or machine.
For a hand-stitched monogram, it’s helpful to get a disappearing ink marker, which can be found at your local craft store or sewing department. These markers allow you to draw the monogram on with ink, but the ink will fade after 24-48 hours. If you’ll be hand sewing the monogram, first draw it on then use thick cotton thread to sew over the letters. Begin at the top of the first letter. Knot your thread, and then go from under the shirt, inserting the needle at the top of the first letter.
Go across the width of the letter, and then insert the needle back through the opposite side. Continue this pattern, bringing the needle up from the bottom, just under the previous thread, then across the width, and back down. Each stitch should be closely laid beside the previous thread. If a bulkier look is desired for the monogram, do the entire letter, and then go over it again. To finish, take the needle back to the underside of the shirt and take 2 or 3 small stitches, knotting it each time.
If you’re fortunate to own or have access to an embroidery machine, monogramming is super simple. After threading the machine, you’ll choose the letter, and the machine will do all of the work for you. All you need to do is put the shirt in the proper place under the presser foot. If you have a machine which has different threading choices, but doesn’t do embroidery, it still isn’t too hard to do a monogram. After drawing on your letters, choose your thread length and width, drop the feed dog, and start the monogram.
After dropping the feed dog, the machine will no longer pull the fabric for you, so it’s necessary to judge how much to pull or push the fabric, without binding it or having bare spots in the monogram. To start the monogram, place a shirt under the needle and place the needle down at the beginning of the letter. Sew a stitch or two, and then backstitch one or two stitches. Choose a stitch length which is extremely short, but a stitch width which is wide enough to cover the ink drawing for your monogram. The width of the monogram is up to you. Guide the stitches by placing the palms of your hands flat down on each side of the monogram.
Start slowly and guide the shirt while keeping an eye on the stitches. Make sure that each time the needle goes down, it is directly under the previous thread. While doing the monogram, don’t hit the back button on the machine, since this will cause that portion of the letter to be raised higher than the rest of the letter. When reaching the end of the letter, however, it will be necessary to back tack a stitch or two, and then go forward a stitch or two to secure the stitches.
If your monogram contains more than one letter, but they are not attached to each other, stop the machine at the end of the first letter, snip your threads and align the needle for the second letter. If the letters are connected, often the connecting portion of the design is of a smaller width than the rest of the letter, so you may have to adjust your thread width long enough to sew that portion of the monogram, then adjust the width again to go on to the next letter.
It is especially difficult to sew a monogram on a knit shirt since the fabric tends to stretch as you sew. For this type of fabric, use a small piece of cotton fabric or fusible cloth on the back of the monogram. This prevents the fabric from stretching and makes it easier to sew the monogram. There is yet another way to monogram a shirt; try cross stitching the design.
Use a paper pattern which can be torn off when finished, or use the disappearing ink marker method. Either way, set your pattern, then using a small needle and lightweight thread, monogram the initials to the shirt. This is a tedious method and is not appropriate for monogramming with a machine. After the monogram is sewn, tear away the pattern.
If need be, use tweezers to retrieve remaining pattern pieces from under the stitches. The best looking monogram is probably done with the embroidery machine, but if you don’t have one, any of these other methods should be suitable.If need be