One of the best ways to personalize your clothes is to add a monogram. While this small detail might seem simple, it can be difficult to get the design right without prior experience or practice.
So, how do you add your own monogram to a shirt if you’re a newbie to designing clothes?
There are actually many different ways to learn how to make high-quality monograms on shirts without having experience with embroidery or sewing.
In our guide, we’ll be going through the step-by-step process of three different ways describing how to monogram shirts. All the methods we’ve mentioned are easy for beginners and don’t take up much time.
We suggest going through them all to decide which one best brings out your design.
What Is a Monogram?
Before knowing how to monogram clothing, you need to know what a monogram actually is.
A monogram is a symbol that represents a person, place, company, or anything similar. It usually has a few letters of an acronym with a unique font or lettering style. These letters can be connected or spaced between each other.
Usually, a monogram will have illustrations with it. For instance, a local pet shop will have uniforms with a monogram of their stores’ name and a drawing of a cat or dog.
These add more personality to the monogram and let other people know what they are associated with.
Most monograms that are on clothing are embroidered. This is because they give off a more “professional” look and are more expensive to get done than vinyl or heat transfer paper monograms.
But, if your monogram is unique in design and is personal to you, then the way it is made will not make much of a difference.
How to Monogram Shirts: 3 Different Methods
Whether it’s a shirt, a pocket of a shirt/pair of sweatpants, or a handkerchief, all three of the following methods are great ways to add your signature touch to the clothing.
1. Monogram a Shirt with an Embroidery Machine
If you want to make your monogram as professional as possible, using an embroidery machine is the best bet. Here’s how to do it –
Step 1: Center Your Shirt
First, fold your shirt vertically down the middle of the collar. You will have to make sure the edges are even and that there are no wrinkles. Smooth out the folded shirt with your hands.
Now, take your heated iron, and pass it over the folded shirt a few times. After you unfold it, you should be able to see the fold line down the center of the shirt.
Step 2: Aligning the Embroidery Placement Ruler
The measurement instructions should be shown on the ruler according to the shirt’s size and whether it’s for men or women.
As a general rule, align the horizontal end of the ruler to the fold line and align the vertical end to the start of the shoulder on the shirt.
Once you have them aligned, mark the point at which the corner of the ruler touches the shirt with a white pencil or chalk. This is going to be the center of your monogram.
Step 3: Apply the Fusible Polymesh Stabilizer
Let’s say, for example, that your monogram measures 4 by 3 inches. In this case, you will need to cut the sheet of fusible poly mesh stabilizer into a 5 by 4 inches rectangle.
It’s better to leave a little excess on the stabilizer so there’s no room for mistakes while sewing. You can decide how much you want to leave excess from the size of the monogram you set on your embroidery machine.
Turn your shirt inside out, so the stitchings show, then find the opposite side of where you marked your monogram center. Place the stabilizer down on its shiny side. Then, press your iron over it so that it sticks onto the shirt.
Step 4: Apply Sticky Stabilizer
Apply a sheet of sticky stabilizer over your fast frame. Take a little bit of excess from the stabilizer to wrap around the edges of the frame. When you’re done, you should have one side of the frame that’s sticky and one side matte.
Put the sticky side face down on the center of where you have the piece of fusible poly mesh stabilizer on the shirt.
Make sure to place the frame directly on the center, or the machine might hit the edges. Now press the frame down so the sticky stabilizer is stuck to the fusible poly mesh.
Step 5: Adjust the Shirt to the Frame
Hold onto the frame firmly, then carefully turn your shirt right-side-out again. You should now be able to see the white pencil mark you’ve made at the center of the frame.
This center mark needs to be around the middle of the frame, or else the machine will hit the frame.
Around the center mark, pull the fabric of your shirt taut over the frame. Use clothespins or clips to secure the fabric to the frame.
Step 6: Start the Embroidery Machine
Put the framed part of the shirt under the embroidery machine. Using the precision laser of the machine, adjust it so that the dot meets the center mark on the shirt.
Press the “trace” button and make sure the machine will not hit the fast frame.
Now, put a sheet of water-soluble stabilizer on top of the frame, then use the clips to secure it. You can now press “start” on your machine.
Step 7: Cleaning Up the Monogram
Your monogram is now finished. But, there’s still one step left to do.
Take off the clips on the frame and pull off the excess water-soluble stabilizer. Be careful not to ruin the stitches of the monogram while doing so.
Turn the shirt inside out and gently tug off the fast frame from the shirt. Some of the sticky stabilizers will come off with the frame, but you can carefully remove that as well.
Lastly, pull the edges of the fusible poly mesh stabilizer around your monogram. Please do not take it off completely. Once it is loose around the design of your monogram, cut around it with scissors.
Please leave a little excess around your monogram and go over it with an iron to seal it. This will allow the monogram to last longer.
2. Monogram a Shirt by Hand
If an embroidery machine is out of the question, or you want a differently designed monogram apart from the regular stitched kind, then you can do it by hand. Here is what you need to do –
Step 1: Make an Outline of Your Monogram
Fold your shirt down the middle and iron it over to make a fold line. Unfold and decide which part of the shirt you wish the monogram to be.
Once you’ve chosen the spot, make a square with white chalk or pencil. This will be where your monogram will be drawn.
With the white pencil, make an outline of your monogram. You can do this freehand or use a stencil of your monogram.
Step 2: Fill in the Outline with Fabric Marker
For any black outlines, use Sharpie permanent fabric marker. As for the parts that require color, you can choose from Crayola Fabric Markers, Shuttle Art Fabric Markers, or Arteza Fabric Markers.
Take your time and carefully fill in the outline of your monogram with colors. Make sure you use the right amount of color and do not leave any blank spots.
If you’re good at sewing, you have the choice to fill in the outline with embroidery instead.
Step 3: Put the Shirt in the Dryer
To ensure the color of the fabric markers stays on the shirt for a long time, toss the shirt into the dryer and let it tumble dry for 30 minutes on high heat.
As an alternative, you can just let the fabric marker dry as it normally would for 24 hours.
Step 4: Apply Clear Fabric Paint
Once your shirt is done tumble drying, let it cool and air dry for an hour. Now your monogram is finished.
To protect your design and make it last long, apply a layer of transparent fabric paint over the monogram.
Again, you can toss the shirt in the dryer to tumble dry for 30 minutes to dry the paint. But, you can let it set on its own for about 18 hours or less.
3. Monogram a Shirt with Vinyl
Lastly, if you want to get your monogram done as fast as possible with low effort, then using heat transfer vinyl will do the trick. This is how it’s done –
Step 1: Preparing Your Monogram
Have your monogram ready at your preferred size on a transparent background on your computer.
Now, you will need to mirror the image. This means that the image will be “flipped over” so that the monogram doesn’t show backward when it’s on the shirt.
Step Two: Insert the Vinyl into the Cutter Machine
Load the vinyl into the cutter machine. The glossy side should face down, and the matte side should face upwards.
This step is very important as it will determine the quality of your design, so make sure the vinyl is faced the right way.
Now, put in the settings on the machine and start cutting.
Step 3: Remove Excess
After your vinyl has been cut, take a weeding tool and carefully pull off all the parts on the vinyl that are not a part of your monogram.
Step 4: Heat Press
To get rid of all the moisture from your shirt, put it under a heat press and let it warm for 5-10 seconds. Once it’s all dry, you can layer it on the vinyl with your monogram on it.
Put the vinyl cut out on the center of your shirt or wherever you wish to put it. The sticky side should face down on the shirt.
Make sure your shirt is turned out and facing the right way. Push down on the vinyl, so it sticks to the shirt.
Now, put the shirt under the heat press. Add a Teflon sheet over the shirt. Then, press down for 15 seconds.
Step 5: Peel Off Backing
Let your shirt cool for a few minutes. Then, carefully peel off the clear backing on the vinyl cutout. Your monogram is now all done.
Monogramming Shirts – Other Methods
If the methods mentioned above didn’t work out for you, don’t fret; there are still a few other ways to get your monogram done. Here are some options –
Try your hand at sewing; you might surprise yourself. Sketch your monogram in the desired place on your shirt. Pull the shirt taut over a hoop, then start filling in the outline with your embroidery.
If it’s your first time, try using a simple design.
This is an incredibly easy way of doing monograms on clothing. Print your monogram (mirrored) onto the transfer side of a sheet of iron-on transfer paper, then put it face-down on your shirt and iron over it.
A little similar to embroidery, the Appliqué method is when you sew pieces of differently patterned fabrics together to make a design. This can also be done to make simple themed monograms.
How to Monogram a Shirt Pocket?
Monogramming a shirt pocket is also an easy task, just on a smaller scale.
You can run it through your embroidery machine just like you would with a shirt. All you will need to change is the size of the monogram and fast frame to fit the pocket.
For vinyl, it’s the same. Design, cut, weed out, and heat press. Before loading the vinyl into your cutter, though, you will have to resize the monogram to fit the face of your pocket.
As for fabric paint or markers, it has always been freehand, so there’s nothing to change. You will need to draw a smaller sketch which will require less color and drying.
Monogramming Fabrics – Etiquettes and Tips
To ensure you get the best results, you should keep these tips in mind –
1. Start with a Simple Monogram
An overly frilly monogram not only looks bad, but it’s also a pain in the neck to transfer onto a shirt.
If you notice your monogram has too many tiny details, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new one. Complicated monograms are bound to lead to mistakes.
2. Be Creative and Original
Just because we ruled out complicated monograms does not mean you have to settle for a block-lettered one. Play around with colors, patterns, and fonts. Don’t just limit yourself to letters; try to add an illustration or something more.
Most of all, don’t compare your monogram to others’; yours should be representative of yourself.
3. Take Your Time
Don’t haste the process, even if you’re planning to run a business with monogrammed tees. This is an art that you’re making, so it should not be rushed.
If you don’t take things slow and steady while making the monogram, there will be endless mistakes to take care of later.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What side of a shirt does a monogram go on?
The monogram should go on the upper left side of your shirt. Use an embroidery placement ruler to find the center.
2. Can you monogram with a regular sewing machine?
Yes, you can monogram with a regular sewing machine. You will have to adjust the settings of the machine to suit the task and pass a hoop under the cloth before you begin.
3. What kind of machine do you need to make a monogram?
An embroidery machine is needed to make standard monograms. These kinds of machines can take a picture of your monogram, resize it, trace it on your shirt, and have it embroidered within minutes.
4. How much does a monogram cost?
Having a monogram done can cost between $6 to $15, depending on where you go.
If you made it here, you now know all the different ways how to monogram shirts. Despite how complicated monograms can look, they’re not that hard to recreate in your own design. Which we hope we were able to prove to you with our guide.
Our final piece of advice to you is to follow each step carefully. Go through every step one by one and see if you have any issues with them.
If you’re confused about something, don’t hesitate to do a bit of research on it. Also, be mindful of which technique you use. The easiest one may not always do justice to your design.