Often when we make sewn crafts for others, we want to personalize them. Baby quilts seem to need the baby’s name on them. Napkins want monograms, especially when they are a wedding gift. Making a crafted cover for a notebook calls for putting the owner’s name on it too. There are so many options for making the gifts we create for others personal.
One of the most frequent ways of personalizing a sewn item is to embroider initials on it. That can be done by hand or by machine but having one’s initials on clothing, napkins or other items clearly marks it as an item uniquely yours. So many sewing machines now come with an assortment of embroidery designs built into them, including alphabets. Then there are the embroidery machines. These machines can get expensive quickly but a basic embroidery machine has stitches to create a set of embroidered napkins for a relative or friend who is getting married. Even the elegant hem stitch on the napkin below can be created with a built-in stitch and a wing needle. The wing needle has ‘wings’ on the sides of the needle that push the fabric threads apart so the machine can stitch around the gap. It is worth the time the stitching takes to add this touch to napkins!
Appliques are another way to put names or initials on an item. This too can be done by hand or by machine. I have used appliques on several baby quilts to spell out the child’s name. The appliques can be simple letters or it can be a design with the letter incorporated. For my cousin’s new granddaughter, I used Sunbonnet Sue designs to spell out Ella’s name.
Something a bit different is what I called ‘embossing’. I learned this is a Craftsy class taught by Jacquie Gering called “Creative Quilting with Your Walking Foot”. Jacquie calls this technique “Quilting Text”. The simple explanation of the technique is that the letters are marked in outline on the quilt fabric then you quilt close straight lines around the letters. This leaves the letters as the only unquilted area in that section of the quilt and they will stand out. I used this technique on my mother’s memory quilt to put her name on the quilt. It can be used on any quilted item from book covers to bags to placemats to personalize them.
A very simple way to monogram a leather item is to simply stamp the desired letters in the leather. I recently got a leather covered notebook in Florence. The leather school where I bought it put my initials in gold flake on the notebook cover when I bought it. They also put my initials on the inside front facing of the leather jacket I bought. Such a nice touch and so quickly done. With a simple alphabet stamping tool from a craft store or online, you can stamp initials into the leather (minus the gold flake).
Aside from putting initials on a sewn item, there are many other ways to add something that makes the item unique and very personal. On my mother’s memory quilt, I quilted one of her monogrammed handkerchiefs to a square of the quilt. It symbolized a memory I carried of her always having one of those beautiful lacy handkerchiefs in her purse. Unique items like that can be added to a quilt, used as a patch on clothing, embroidered onto a bag or placed in a framed design.
A recent trend is to take printed t-shirts that belong to someone, cut out the designs and sew them together into a quilt top. This makes a very soft quilt top with designs that have personal meaning for the owner.
There are many more ways to add a personal touch to your sewing. Most don’t take long to do and the resulting item will be even more unique to the new owner because you took the time to make it so. And isn’t that really why we love sewing so much? It is a skill and an art that allows us to create items that are unique in color, fabric and design. Why not choose to make it even more personal with an extra touch of embroidery, applique or monogramming?