Embroidering lettering to add later

My daughter is a member of a sorority in college. When the girls sponsor a little sister, they make all kinds of stuff for their “little” with the sorority letters on the stuff. In anticipation of my daughter’s “little,” I made her some letters she could add to t-shirts, towels, blankets, and other things later when she was at school. I used large applique letters. Although this can be done with fill-stitch embroidered letters, with a couple of changes to the procedure, applique is much easier.

Set up your embroidery machine with two layers of stabilizer. I used a polymesh cutaway for this, and I will explain why in a later post. There are advantages and disadvantages to using each of the different types for this kind of application.


I stitched out the first color, the placement line, directly on the stabilizer, then covered the stitches with my chosen piece of cotton fabric. I chose a cotton quilting fabric because I wanted a fabric that would take the heat of an iron later on when I wanted to fuse it down.


On some applique designs, there is a tack down stitch as the next color stop, but if your letter does not have this, simply go back to the first color and stitch it again. Then I took the hoop off the machine, BUT LEFT THE FABRIC IN THE HOOP, and trimmed the fabric from around the edge outside of the stitches. Each digitized design has a different tolerance for how closely you need to or can trim the fabric, but usually you want to be pretty close, to within 1/8 inch.


I replaced the hoop back on the machine and stitched out the rest of the design. I again took the hoop off the machine when the stitches were finished, and placed the still-hooped fabric on a glass cutting board. This step is why I chose polymesh stabilizer. I used a heat cutting tool, similar to a stencil cutting tool, to quickly and easily cut around the edge of my letter.




My final step was to iron fusible web onto the back of the letter. I placed the letter wrong-side up on top of a teflon ironing sheet. If you do not already have one of these, you can also find them as “applique ironing sheets” or something like that in the quilting section of your sewing store. I placed some fusible web, fusible side down, over the letter and fused it down with my iron, following the directions for the fusible web. The extra fusible fused to my teflon sheet instead of my ironing board. I then trimmed the paper from the fusible web close to my letter and it was ready to go. My daughter was able to peel off the paper and fuse the letter to whatever surface she wished when she returned to school. The fusible that was on my teflon sheet just rubbed off with a little finger rubbing.





All quick and easy. A great way to use up small pieces of fabric to embroider appliques to send to family. Have a nephew who wants an applique on the front pocket of his bib overalls? Send his mom one of these fusible appliques to iron on instead of sending the overalls back and forth through the mail. Your son wants to put his girl friend’s name on something? Embroider the name on a patch shape of fabric, put fusible on the back and send it to him. College dorms will often have irons, even if they don’t have sewing machines. And if the girl friend changes – well, we can make more appliques. It’s better than a tatoo!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. carmen
    Aug 20, 2013 @ 14:09:41



  2. Trackback: Tutorial – How to Make Embroidered Letters | DIY Supplies
  3. Trackback: Tutorial – How to Make Embroidered Letters

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