So last week, students in the April Sewing 101 class completed their pillow cover, something you can stitch again and again in different sizes and patterns. You can also opt to add a monogram to your pillow using fusible web, or applique iron-on adhesive. Here are the quick and easy steps to getting creative with fabric monograms.
What You Need:
• Cotton fabric for pillow front, in this case a 17” square
• Cotton fabric for monogram, in this case a 9×9 scrap
• Printed type letters from a computer
• Iron and ironing board
• Nonstick pressing cloth (optional)
• Sewing Machine and coordinating thread
• 1 pkg of fusible web/iron-on adhesive
Choosing Your Monogram
Using the font lists in your Word program, play around with different typefaces that you might like on your pillow. Make sure to look for ones that have some weight to them so that when you cut it out in fabric your don’t end up with a flimsy piece that easily frays.
I settled on Bolero (top left) and increased it to a 500 point size—just enough to fill a Word page when I printed it out. You can go smaller and use your three initials, or go larger and piece the printed pages together—or better, print at one page and enlarge at a nearby print shop that prints larger paper. To make this easy, I suggest limiting the size to one Word page.
Applying Adhesive to Your Fabric
Before you apply your adhesive, make sure your monogram fabric fits around the size of your letter. Since brands vary on iron-on adhesives, make sure to read the packaging instructions of the one you find. They’re pretty easy to follow but some vary on whether or not they come with a paper backing. This peels off after you press the fabric to one sticky side.
Some will require a nonstick pressing cloth to keep the adhesive from gluing to your ironing surface (this is a good idea anytime you iron onto a glue-y layer). I recommend going with one with a paper backing (I didn’t have one at home but that’s what I usually use) that you can peel back, such as the one I linked to in the beginning of this post.
You’ll simply press your fabric to one sticky side. Then pin your paper letter to the fabric and cut it out. Now you can peel off the backing and iron the letter onto your pillow front.
Stitching Your Monogram
To finish off your monogram, it’s a good idea to stitch around the edge to get a more polished look and keep the applique in place after many washes. If you prefer hand-sewing, you can use the blanket stitch.
On your machine, try the zig-zag stitch, which you practiced in the first class. But you want to test your stitch width and length first on a scrap piece of fabric. As you can see below, I started with a tighter zig-zag at a 2W x .5L (you can change your settings on your machine as discussed in class or refer to your machine’s manual). I then switched to a 3W to show that the zig-zag is more spaced and avoid puckering.
In any case, I strongly recommend changing your speed setting to the slowest speed and make sure you know whether the needle is going to move right or left (judging on a scrap) to make sure it catches the edge of the fabric. If you’re not happy with the starter stitch, pull it out and start again—that first stitch sets the pace for the rest of the stitching so take your time.
Make sure to stop at curves too, with the needle still pierced and the presser foot raised to realign the fabric and needle along the curve.
And voila, you’ve got a personalized pillow!