How to Embroider Letters (2022)

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You don’t have to be a pro to embroider letters. With these easy stitches, you can hand embroider beautiful designs on almost any fabric. Let’s have a look at five of the most used stitches for lettering.

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The letters in my tutorial are approx. 8cm (3.5in), stitched in an 8in hoop using six strands of DMC thread. As an experiment, I used Sticky Fabri-Solvy stabilizer to transfer the design onto my fabric. I was curious to see how the stabilizer behaves in lettering projects. This method of transferring patterns comes in useful if you’re looking to embroider letters onto clothing.

If you’re looking to practice, you can download the same letters I used from the Free Pattern Library, or you can use a word processing program to type a word, print it out, and transfer it onto your fabric. If your letters are smaller, to avoid a chunky outcome, you’ll have to use less than six strands when stitching.

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  • Size:When embroidering small-size text, work with fewer strands of thread (1-3) and choose a simple font.
  • Fine lines: If you’re looking to make a fine letter, use fewer strands of thread (1-3).
  • Fabric:Think about the fabric of the item you are adding lettering to and choose a suitable stitch and number of threads. For example, if you’re adding a monogram to a knitted sweater, the running stitch will not work. Using chain stitch or stem stitch would be more suitable.
  • Stitching curves: When stitching curves shorten the length of your stitches.
  • End each letter the proper way: Don’t carry the thread on the back of your embroidery, from one letter to another. The only exception is when you’re using a cursive font or when the letters are very close to each other.
  • Stitch direction: When stitching letters, the direction of your stitches will not always follow the same path as if you’d be writing the letters.


There are endless ways to embroider letters, from simple outlines or fillings to more intricate complex monograms. Today we’ll explore some of the most popular stitches suitable for lettering and learn how to embroider letters using five easy stitches – back stitch, running stitch, stem stitch, split stitch, and chain stitch.

If you are not familiar with these stitches, I recommendchecking out the embroidery stitches section.


Back stitch is one of the easiest stitches to learn and looks great in both simple and more demanding letters and monograms. The backstitch is creating straight lines without any gaps in between the stitches, giving it a continuous appearance. This simple stitch can also be used when embroidering on paper.

Bring your needle up, then go back and create one straight stitch.

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Come up again one stitch forward and go back down right at the beginning of your last stitch.

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Continue stitching your letter in the same manner, by coming up one stitch forward and going back down right at the beginning of your last stitch. The trick here is not to leave any gaps between your stitches and to keep the same length of your stitches.

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When you complete the first letter, if your letters don’t flow together, don’t carry the thread from one letter to another. This will show on the front of your fabric. Instead, turn your work over, knot the thread and cut out the excess thread.

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Another thing to consider when embroidering letters is the direction of your stitches. When embroidering a letter you might not always start in the same place as if you were writing that letter. For example, if I were to write down the letter “m”, I’d be starting from the top creating that first vertical line, then my pen would travel back up that straight line and make the curve.

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In embroidery, because I don’t want to double up the stitches and I don’t want to carry the thread from one side to another, I’ll be starting my letter “m” from the bottom traveling up and making the curve. This will also minimize the knots I’m creating on the back of my embroidery.

Repeat the same process until your word is completed.

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The running stitch is one of the easiest stitches, and probably the first one you will learn.When working on taut fabric you need to produce each stitch with two actions. When working on loose fabric, out of the frame, you can produce several stitches at a time using the sewing method. When stitching letters, especially curved ones, I find the first method more suitable.

Come up from the back and create a straight stitch.

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Come up again and create another straight stitch, leaving a small gap between your stitches.

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Remember not to carry your thread from one letter to another. When knotting the thread on the back of your embroidery, you might find it a bit difficult to anchor your knot, since the stitches are spaced out. An easy and delicate method would be to just cut your thread 2-3cm long and tie a knot. Cut the excess thread and that’s it.

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The key to a harmonious running stitch is to space the stitches evenly and keep them all the same length.

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The stem stitch is one of the most used outline stitches. This is my favorite stitch for lettering. It creates a nice rope texture and turns corners beautifully. The stem stitch is especially recommended when stitching cursive fonts.

When using the stem stitch for lettering, there are two important things to consider. Your loop should be below the needle and always stitch in the same direction.

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If you’re right-handed, the stitch is worked left to right. If you’re left-handed, the stitch is worked right to left. In order to keep the correct direction of your stitches, you’ll have to turn your hoop around as you stitch.

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Another important thing is to shorten your stitch lengthwhen you embroider the corners.

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As I am right-handed, I had to constantly turn my hoop around as I stitched my letter. When reaching a sharp corner, like the “u” in the example below, even if you shorten your stitches you’ll still end up with a round corner.

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What I did in order to keep that corner sharp, I ended the “S” letter with a tiny straight stitch, turned my hoop around, and started the letter “u” continuing stitching the normal stem stitch.

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Continue stitching using the same method until you complete the entire word.

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Split stitch is another great method to embroider letters. It creates a braid-like texture and works really well with cursive or curvy fonts. When using two or one strand of thread (yes, you can split one strand of thread too!), it creates really thin lines and works great for small letters.

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Start by creating a straight stitch. Bring your needle up again, but this time come back up straight in the middle of the straight stitch you just created.

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Continue by repeating this process, one stitch forward and then back up in the middle of it until you completed your word.

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Lastly, we reach the last stitch for today, the chain stitch. This is another great stitch for lettering, versatile and great if you’re looking for a braid-like texture. In my example, I used 6 strands, but bear in mind that my letters are very big and the font I used for this stitch is a very loose cursive font that looks decent enough stitched with 6 strands.

For this particular stitch, I’d recommend using a maximum of 2 to 4 strands for lettering. This will create thinner and more defined letters.

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Start by bringing your needle up and take your needle down into the fabric in the same hole you came out of. While keeping the loop on top of the fabric, come up again inside the loop and pull your thread forward.

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For the second stitch, go back down again into the hole you came out of, which is inside your previous stitch, and then come up inside the loop and pull the thread.

Repeat the same process until you complete your word.

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If you used Sticky Fabri-Solvy as a transfer method, once the stitching is completed, carefully cut away the excess stabilizer. Remove the remains by agitating the project in warm water for 2-3 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and air dry your project.

This is how my final letters turned out. Pretty happy with the result. Safe to say, Sticky Fabri-Solvy works well for lettering projects.

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These were the five most used stitches when embroidering letters. In the next few articles, we’ll be exploring more creative ways to combine these basic stitches to create beautiful letters and monograms.

Until then, remember that you can download free patternsfrom theFree Pattern Library. To access it just fill out the form below and I will send you an email with your password.


  • Floral Alphabet: Stitching the Letter
  • Floral Alphabet: Stitching the Leaves
  • Floral Alphabet: Stitching the Flower
  • Cherry Blossom Free Embroidery Pattern
  • Do you like lettering embroidery projects? Come over to ourFacebook Groupand tell us all about it!


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