Letters and Words - Which Stitch Techniques work best for Modern Embroidery?
Let’s look at a lovely way to personalize your works of modern embroidery by stitching letters and words on your embroidery designs!
I know that many of you will be using your pieces as gifts and really special pieces to pop on the wall and decorate your home.
In that case, it's so nice to be able to add the recipient's name or initials to these pieces. There are a few different stitches that work really well for embroidering letters and words on to designs, that I will share with you today.
So, first up - what are these stitches that are great for embroidering letter and words?
So first up, a simple Back Stitch is great for embroidering letters and words. This does create quite an obvious stitch when you're doing it, but I think it looks great!
This is one of my favourite stitches to embroider letters and words with because it creates a really smooth, yet textured look! Plus, it's really great for going around corners and curves.
You can also use this stitch to fill in spaces for a more textured look. To do this, just lay up parallel lines of stitches, and you’re good to go!
This is such a classy, elegant stitch to use. It creates a beautiful rope sort of braided effect. Once again, this stitch is great for going around curves, filling in larger parts of letters, and negotiating corners.
As the name suggests, this stitch creates a lovely chain-like look on your modern embroidery pieces. I especially enjoy using Chain Stitch for the outlines of letter shapes!
Satin Stitch is an absolutely beautiful stitch to use for embroidering letters and numbers. Just make sure you keep your stitches on the shorter side though, because satin stitch which covers longer areas is more likely to come out wobbly and pull out of place.
For the letters in Satin Stitch, it’s handy to draw in directional lines first to keep the angle of your stitches on track. And don’t forget to choose a stitch direction that will keep your stitches short!
Now let’s go into some tips…
Tips for embroidering letters and words:
Transferring to fabric
There are two ways you can go about stitching the letters and words onto the pattern:
You can freehand draw your letters and words onto your fabric. However, I find they never look quite as good when I do them this way.
What I often do is I find a design I like online, and then I'll transfer that onto my fabric. You can get some really beautiful fonts on the go and be as complex or as simple as you wish with these!
Make sure you use guidelines though, in either case, so that your words are nice and straight. Sometimes your letters or words may end up a little bit warped because of how the fabric is stretched into the hoop, but you should always aim to start these out straight.
Single-lane stroke path
Now, when you stitch letters, you don't want to double up on your stroke paths like you would if you were free-hand writing a letter. You just want one single line of stitches!
So firstly, think about your letter, and then you might need to stop and start at different areas to get the single path. I always like to stitch the outline of my letters first, and then I like to fill in the inside of the shape with filler stitches.
You could actually sneakily weave up the back of where you've stitched to get back to a new point to start, or you can knot it off and start again.
Prevent Thread Shadows
Another thing to bear in mind is that you don't want your thread trailing in between the letters underneath if it's not like that in the design (like a script).
So for example, you don't want your thread trailing from where you've finished your first letter up to where we've started the eye underneath. You really want to knot off the thread and then start again.
Otherwise, those lines of thread might actually be visible at the end and it'll look really untidy.
Keep it short on the curve
Now, when you go around the curves of your letter, keep your stitches shorter. That will help you negotiate around the tighter curves. On a script font that has the filled-in areas, you might find it easier to do the outline first and then fill in those chunkier bits at the end.
So basically I just keep really consistent with the side that my needle is coming up on compared to my working thread, and doing smaller stitches around the tighter curves. If it's a really tight curve, just note, you can sort of finish one line right in the pointy end of the curve and then start a new one. Just do whatever is easy for you!
More tips on stitching modern embroidery letters and words
If you are looking for something simple, then back stitch is such a straightforward option. So it's really great if you're just wanting to whip something up quite quickly. I think back stitch has a really nice finish as well. Just make sure you're really consistent with the length of each stitch. That will give you a nice tidy finish!
Using a combo of Straight Stitch and Back Stitch works really well too! And it has such a nice tidy finish.
Split stitch is probably my favourite stitch to work words and letters in, as it gives such a nice smooth result.
I personally find Stem Stitch the most challenging - so I must spend some more time practising this!
So there are some tips to get you started with embroidering letters and words onto your embroidery pieces to personalize your designs!
In this video, I’ve shared my top tips for lettering, which you will hopefully find really helpful.
I think you’ll find these modern embroidery letters and words add such a lovely personalised touch to your embroidery creations, clothing, and gifts. I hope you feel much more confident about stitching letters and words after reading this blog!
I would suggest you practice Back Stitch, Stem Stitch, and Split Stitch on other patterns first before you try stitching embroidery letters and words using these techniques.
But hey, you don’t have to listen to me. Just remember that the more you practice, the better you’ll get. So, let’s start stitching!
There you have it, all my favourite tips and knowledge you need to start stitching modern embroidery letters and words on your creations. Stitching your family and friends’ names on decorations and gifts always goes down well!
This course takes you through all the beginner techniques and knowledge you need to make your first beginner pattern, Little Wildflower Meadow! Plus, it includes a beautiful second pattern, Blooming Lovely, which is a fantastic pattern to practice your newfound skills.
I would totally recommend this course, as it covers many more stitch techniques than this blog, and you can also go along at your own pace. Plus, this is a great way to hold yourself accountable for making some me-time for yourself and continuing on your path to becoming a modern embroidery superstar.