Today I’ll be finishing up the monogram project. Remember that the project illustrated here is only an example using my initials and my choice of font. Your project should use your own choices.
Enlarging the Monogram
Yesterday we ended our project by selecting a font for the monogram. My choice is pictured above I like the shape of the letters. I would prefer that the M be closer to the P but I will correct that when I transfer the design. You can make corrections in spacing when you transfer the design but you cannot make changes in size.
Do not expect to get the size right the first time. Point sizes vary greatly between type faces, so what, in theory, should be 1 inch (72 points) may be bigger or smaller in reality. As you get close to the size you want you will need to print it out and test fit it under your canvas.
Measure the size of your canvas and decide how much of this space you will want for the monogram, translate that into points by multiplying by 72. This gives you a starting point for enlarging and should be the point size of your middle letter.
For example, my shape is a square 3.75″ high. If I leave 1/4″ around the monogram, my starting point size would be 234 or 3.25 x 72.
You may find that width is also a constraint because letters are different widths. Adjust the point sizes of your monogram, print & test fit. Do this until you like the size of your monogram, the transfer the design.
In this case the letters were a bit small. I adjust by 20 points each time, print and test. My final point sizes for this font, Luxembourg 1910, were 254 and 117. The smaller J and M, help the M fit better under the P. You’ll see the sized monogram below.
Transferring the Design
Begin by picking your mesh size and cutting the canvas. Using an extra-fine marker made for marking fabric, like a Pigma Micron, trace out the outline of the shape. If needed mark the center intersection of the canvas.
Working where there is good light, place your enlarged monogram on a work surface and tape it down with masking tape. Place your marked needlepoint canvas over this and center the middle initial in place in the space. Tape down the corners of the canvas with masking tape.
Using the same extra-fine marker, trace the outline of this letter. If you are changing the spacing of the letters, remove the canvas and replace it where it needs to go. Repeat the tracing, and moving if needed, for the remaining letters.
Remove the canvas from the initials and remove the tape from the canvas.
Let dry an hour or two. Then color in the monogram using a wide-tipped marker (I like Copic or FabricMate markers). You may need to use several coats to get a dark color. This area does not need to be the same darkness as your thread but should be the same color as the thread. It’s hard to get this color even, because you will be stitching the monogram in Tent, this isn’t critical. It is important though to be accurate in coloring intersections, so you will know where to stitch.
Let dry overnight before stitching.
Picking a Background
When you have a strongly graphic design, as monograms are, you will be stitching them in Tent Stitch. That, in turn, limits your background choices. Stitch choice is even more limited because letters are irregular by nature, so many stitches will require lots of compensation.
Here are some strategies to try:
- Isolate the monogram. Do this by adding a Tent Stitch border in the same color as your monogram. This puts the monogram into a shape and creates a boundary between it and your background. Stitch the area inside the border in Tent using one of the background colors.
- Change the scale. A lovely way to create a background, especially if you have a border, is to make your background pattern very large or very small. I’m planning on using a stitch pattern from Stitches a la Carte (reviewed here) for my background. The size contrast makes the design lively.
- Treat the monogram as if it’s a picture by framing it. One glorious and easy way to make a monogram pillow is to take a canvas for a needlepoint frame and fill in the center with your custom monogram. Take this as your inspiration and make a wide (1.5 to 3 inch) border around the monogram and then fill it with a design of your choosing. How about a riot of flowers for a gardener, or a slice of landscape for a nature lover?
- Pick background colors that let the monogram stand out. This advice is best for the simpler background, not elaborate frames. Make your monogram (and border isolating it) the brightest and most saturated color in your design. There should also be a value contrast between the monogram and the background. Often that will make the background neutrals or pale tints. That’s fine
Look around the web and Pinterest to see examples of monogramed items. Use these for color cues for your design.
Stitch it up, finish it and you have a wonderful custom gift.