More Than a Monogram

February 12th, 2013 posted by Susie Tilton


Monograms are hot. Everything has an initial or 3 on it, from toilet paper and tissues to baby bibs and glasses. I even saw a car with a monogram sicker on the back window. The monogramming business has been swift for the past few years, but the creativity can only go to the font and the color of your thread (or paint). The hottest trend exploding on the market is applique. You will see huge retailers offering applique on everything in the coming year. Basically it is an initial, a picture or even words cut from fabric and sewn to another fabric. And truthfully, it is much easier for the home sewer than a monogram. I was inspired to applique a beach towel when I saw an assortment of them with every initial and a $40 price tag. Yikes! I snatched up an armload of these bright striped towels for $4.99 when they hit the clearance rack thinking I would monogram them, but I decided to move on to the new trend. My first issue was the letter, as I am not great at free hand. At the local hobby store they had these big wooden letters on sale for about $3.00. They are a blank slate for their own project, but I knew the size and curves would make a great applique. Then the fabric selection, wow! Here is where your creativity can shine, any cotton fabric will work, and a fat quarter is more than enough to work with. You’ll also need a 2-sided fusible (found in any fabric store) which runs about $3.00 a yard, although you’ll need far less than that. So basically I had everything I needed for under $10.00. 

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First I outlined my wooden letter onto the rough side of the fusible. Do not cut out the letter yet, but rather cut a rectangle around it. Then iron the rough side of the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric, (stay with me here…) When it is cool to the touch, cut the fabric and interfacing on the outline of the letter. Gently peel off the paper backing of the interfacing and iron this slick side to the final product, the towel, t-shirt etc. The fusible is your glue to hold the project in place as you finish with your decorative stitching. Even the most basic models of sewing machines have some sort of applique stitch, which is traditionally very tight straight stitches. I have also seen applique using the zig zag stitch and the X stitch too! Experiment on scraps for great stitch and thread color combinations. Some applique I have seen even frays the edges of the fabric and appliques inside of the fray. A little more work, but gives it a shabby-chic type of look. And don’t limit yourself to just initials. I have seen t-shirts with appliques of fleur de lis, daisies, even cupcakes. A large size cookie cutter can make a great template for different designs. And what a great way to use up those fabric scraps! You can update an old solid color t-shirt, make a personalized pillow case or send a college kid off with the hottest towels in the dorm!

Susie Tilton (17 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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