...family, friends, home and other tidbits of a blessed life

Monday, August 1, 2011

I love Embroidered Monograms!

I love Monograms! Old ones. New ones. Mine. Yours. On estate sale finds...
on men's cuffs
Historically, a monogram was used as a royal signature. Romans and Greeks used them on coins to identify their rulers. Then, in the Middle Ages, artisans began to use them to sign their work. Victorian-period high-class persons adapted the monogram for personal use as a symbol of their place in society. Now, monograms can be seen on just about anything.

On a pillow...

Monograms were first used as currency. This was a transition from the barter system to the beginnings of the creation of money. The first monograms appeared on clay coins with the initials of the ruler of the region. Later monograms developed to identify the valuable property of royalty such as silver, gold and other precious metaled goods. These items ranged from weaponry and armor to household items. Royal banners and Coat of Arms also were some of the first monograms in use.

my grandmother's...

 In the Victorian era, rules for monograms were quite simple and few. Female monograms had the first initial on the left, middle initial on the right, and last initial embroidered larger in the middle.

my mother's...

hand done by my godmother

I love how she ran the green thread in and out the padded satin stitch to give the 
monogram a striped look.

Rules are now flexible, but for the purist, there are a few standards. First of all, monograms with three initials are generally in the Victorian format of first initial, large last initial, middle initial. Married monograms usually consist of the bride’s first initial on the left, the groom’s first initial on the right, and the joint last name initial larger in the center. A married woman would use her first name initial on the left, maiden initial on the right, then new last initial larger in the center. But the choice is truly yours.

On "Paradekissen" - decorative bed pillows

 4-5" tall on chair covers...

on tea towels...

and on napkins!

Even a simple monogram on a napkin will bring your dining up a notch.

Care tidbits:
  • Wash your pieces normally, as required of the fabric and thread.
  • Do not starch and iron your napkins until you are ready to use them. This keeps the fibers from breaking and doesn't invite unwanted guests (little bugs like to feast on starch).
  • Iron your pieces while damp. Linen fabrics might not require any starch if you iron damp dry. 
  • Iron the monogram area from the back. If you iron from the front/right side of the piece, over the monogram, you will flatten your monogram and it will lose the padded look.
  • Enjoy!

Embroidery tidbits:
  • If you have an embroidery machine and embroider your own, please remember to use a tear away stabilizer when you embroider a monogram. A tear away stabilizer will allow your edges to be more crisp and clean. It also remains in the embroidery, giving the monogram more heft. 
  • I prefer to embroider with cotton thread when I can, but do use a polyester thread if I want a red monogram on a white napkin. I prefer Isacord polyester because it is colorfast. I have a new favorite cotton thread that I love... DMC 50wt. It is a single strand and gives a beautiful finish.
  • I always put in a brand new embroidery needle. Nothing can wreck an embroidery faster than a dull needle or one with a burr.
  • I prefer to use the blue wash away marker to mark my object for embroidering. I've had a couple of bad experiences with the purple air soluble markers staying in the piece even after careful washing. If the blue marker decides it wants to stay and visit, mix up a solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda to 2 cups water and spray the mark. That's like ammonia to a skunk.. it won't stick around.
  • Always consider the weight of the fabric and the weight of the embroidery thread. Don't use a very thick thread on a very light fabric.

Embroidery Info:
  • MB handkerchief - designed for Designs  in Embroidery magazine. Sulky 2116 on white linen. The edging is done with a stitch on the machine. Floral design is by Sue Box.
  • Men's cuff's - Bernina artista software - Chicago font, both embroidered in 60wt. Mettler thread
  • Irish linen pillow - Madeira rayon embroidery thread
  • Gretel - stitched by my grandmother with 60 wt. cotton thread.
  • MF - stitched by my grandmother for my mother's wedding dowry, damask napkins with an 60 or 80 wt. cotton thread.
  • Chair covers - Linen towels from Martha Pullen Co.; True-type fonts stitched via the Bernina artista software. 60wt. Mettler cotton thread.
  • Rust napkin - Isacord polyester embroidery thread.
  • Linen napkins - Embroidery Arts embroidery file, 50wt. DMC cotton thread.
Thank you for your visit. I'm humbled you gave me your precious time. See you Wednesday for a rustic tablesetting!
I'm linking up to Show and Tell Friday over at My Romantic Home and to Metamorphosis Monday at Susan's Between Naps on the Porch. See ya there.. you won't want to miss the goodies!


Miss Char said...

Marlis, I'm a monogram nut too. I've got stuff all over the house and from time to time someone will ask "who's monogram is that"? I joyfully say "I haven't a clue, I just liked the piece".

I picked up some pillowcases at an estate sale last week, among them I had two that were monograms, the rest were just beautiful embroidery work. We must have been on the same wave length.

Thanks for sharing the great tips.

Johanna said...

Hello Marlis,
your monograms are so amazing beautiful. I love that you have things with your Mother monograms and with your own, too. What a sophisicated way to mark the things.
Best greetings, Johanna

Tanya@takesix said...

Your monograms are so beautiful. I think it is even more special that they are actually monograms belonging to your family. I love monograms, but have none that belong to us. Such great information in this post. Thank you, Marlis!

xinex said...

Beautiful embroideries and monograms, Marlis!..Christine

Debbie said...

I just love monogrammed anything and wish that I had the machine to do it. I always have to pay the extra at a little shop in town. It just makes any ordinary thing so much more special.

I love yours!

Vivienne @ the V Spot said...

Those are all gorgeous! I love monograms. Embroidered just makes them all the better.

Kuby said...

These napkins are spectacular, Marlis! I still have the TTN article of your tutorial with the software. Thanks also for the great hints on caring for the linen

Natasha in Oz said...

I love monograms too. I've noticed that it is a huge trend at the moment and I can see why. It's so stylish and personal.

Thanks for a great post and excellent tips.

Best wishes,

Laura said...

I love monograms too-
even on jewelry.
This was wonderful information Marlis.


White Spray Paint

Jo's This and That said...

I love your post. I embroidered my jeans in the60's too.

Jo's This and That said...

I love your post. I embroidered my jeans in the60's too.


Beautiful embroidery monograms Marlis, I love them too, they make you feel so close to the people they belonged to, unless it's you, even so. Gorgeous and sweet. FABBY

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Marlis...this is wonderful information! I'm bookmarking this post. I never knew buggies went for starch...will follow your advice and only use right before napkins will be used...if it's needed at all. Great post!


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