The ABCs of Monogramming

Want to make your mark on a lampshade, towel, or napkin? Before needle meets thread, read our lessons on lettering.
Todd Childs

When it comes to monogramming, everything old is new again. Once reserved strictly for hand towels in the guest bath, monogramming is now a great way to personalize practically anything in your home. Yes, your parents gave you your initials, but where you put them is totally up to you.

A. Monogramming Etiquette
The classic three-letter monogram will never go out of style in the South. But the rules can--and should --be broken. Try a variation on the traditional when buying something for a married couple. Instead of stitching on the wife's married initials, use the couple's first-name initials and their last-name initial. For example, Samantha and Luke Miller would be SML. If you want a trendier look, try a single-letter monogram inside a frame of polka dots. Or have three initials stitched on a circle of contrasting fabric, such as on this apron.

B. Tips on Type
When choosing a font, consider style, size, and setting. An elaborate script may look great on a plush bath towel, but it becomes a tangle when shrunk to fit a small item. To get a preview of the finished product, ask someone at the monogram shop to print the letters you'd like, in the actual size and font on paper, and hold it next to the item.

C. Make It Your Own
We love fresh, fun ways to use a traditional idea. For example, try a tone-on-tone monogram on the front of an upholstered dining chair. Choose a thread with a sheen for a subtle and sophisticated effect. Baths are still a great place for high impact touches too. Monogram your shower curtain. Or if that's too much, how about the bath mat? You can even monogram lampshades and buttons for picture frames. And there are always towels. Just remember to prewash them to avoid shrinkage that can cause puckering around your letters.

"The ABCs of Monogramming" is from the June 2007 issue of Southern Living.