If you’re learning to embroider by hand, you’ve likely come across nice hand embroidered projects featuring words and text. Adding letters and text to embroidery projects is a great way to personalize them.
What, though, is the best font for embroidery letters by hand? The answer to that question largely depends on personal choice and a number of other factors. You can use the following basic stitches to create the font you want: backstitch, running stitch, split stitch, and stem stitch. These stitches are the best to use when trying to match a specific font.
Let’s learn more about embroidering letters and what to consider when selecting a particular font for a project.
How to Embroider Letters By Hand
Embroidering letters is actually quite easy once you get the hang of embroidery. You can use basically any kind of stitch to embroider letters.
Nonetheless, a couple of basic stitches that are most commonly used include:
- running stitch
- split stitch
- stem stitch
The standard backstitch is ideal for embroidering letters with a nice outline. Before you begin embroidering, you’ll need to select a font, print it out, and then trace it onto your fabric, or simply draw the letters by hand.
Implementing a backstitch is quite simple:
- Take the needle and thread and make your first stitch.
- Come up about a distance of one stitch length away, then go back in at the end of the first stitch.
- Repeat this pattern until you finish stitching a letter.
The running stitch is also nice for embroidering letters. You can either use the sewing method or create one stitch at a time. When embroidering letters, a combination of both approaches tends to be most effective.
The sewing method of creating a running stitch involves weaving the needle and thread in and out of the fabric while trying to keep the spaces and the stitches roughly equivalent in length.
This method works great with straight lines but can be challenging to use with curves or small letters.
In such cases, it’s easier to make one stitch at a time. Creating letters using the running stitch is very easy and the end result always looks great.
Split Stitch and Stem Stitch
The split stitch and the stem stitch are very nice stitches for embroidering fonts with lots of curves. With the split stitch you get a braided look and nicely textured letters.
When stitching letters, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
When going around corners, it’s best to keep the stitch length shorter than usual. Also, avoid trailing your thread from one letter to the other behind the fabric. If the fabric is light-colored, such trails will be visible.
You should also take time to determine the path you’ll have to follow when stitching the letters. At first, you might be inclined to stitch in one continuous flow like you would normally write. That won’t work for all letters. Some letters will require you to halt at certain points and resume from others.
Other Types of Stitches
Of course, a number of other stitches are also used when embroidering letters by hand. Some of these include:
- cross stitch
- chain stitch
- satin stitch
- herringbone stitch
These stitches can be used to create beautiful text with nice effects and designs.
When embroidering letters, you could choose to go with lower case letters all through, capital letters, or have only the first letter of a word or sentence capitalized. The cool thing about hand embroidery is that you can design your own letters for an even more personal touch.
When designing your own font, you’ll want to make sure that all the letters have the same size and style. To ensure a consistent look when using slanted letters, make sure that they are all slanted in one direction.
You can find a lot of beautiful fonts on the internet. Simply print these out and transfer the fonts to your fabric. Just like with other embroidery designs, you can do this in a number of ways.
How to Transfer Your Chosen Font to Your Fabric
There are a couple of techniques used for transferring designs and fonts onto a piece of fabric. Some of these include direct drawing, the printer ink method, light method, and the dressmaker’s carbon paper method.
Direct drawing involves drawing the letters directly on the fabric with the aid of a pencil or a water-soluble marker. It’s one of the easiest ways to get your font onto your fabric.
When drawing the text, it’s a good idea to keep the fabric stretched on the embroidery hoop.
Try to make firm lines instead of shaky ones. With a bit of practice, you should be able to easily draw even complex fonts on a piece of fabric.
The light method involves tracing the fonts from a printed sheet. The printed font or design is placed on a transparent glass pane while the fabric is placed on top of it.
A bright light is then placed below the glass pane, thus illuminating the design or fonts on the sheet of paper and allowing you to trace them onto your fabric.
Lightboxes are perfect for light tracing. To use a light table, you simply have to place the font design and then the fabric on top of the table and trace the outline of the fonts. It’s quite easy and very convenient.
Printer Ink Method
The printer ink technique involves using a laser printer to transfer the fonts from a sheet of paper onto the fabric.
An inkjet printer can also be used to print the letters with the desired font onto the fabric.
Dressmaker’s Carbon Paper Method
The dressmaker’s carbon paper method requires the use of dressmaker’s carbon paper to trace the fonts onto the fabric. Dressmakers’ carbon differs slightly from regular office carbon, which will leave smudge marks on your fabric.
To transfer the fonts on your fabric:
- Place the fabric on a hard, flat surface.
- Next, place the carbon sheet atop it on the point where you want the letters to go.
- Now place the paper containing the font design on top of the dressmaker’s carbon paper and trace gently but firmly.
This method involves printing out the letters or words you want to embroider on a sheet of paper.
Then, you simply place the paper on the fabric and outline the fonts using a running stitch. Once you’ve embroidered the letters onto the fabric, gently pull the paper away.
This method is ideal for certain fabrics like velvet and suede felts, which cannot be marked using other methods.
What is the Best Stitch for Embroidering Letters By Hand?
There’s no one-size-fits-all stitch for embroidering letters. The different types of stitches all have their pros and cons. However, a commonly used and loved stitch for hand embroidery when working with letters is the stem stitch.
The stem stitch is a simple stitch that has the appearance of twisted rope. It looks elegant when used to embroider letters and is ideal for cursive fonts.
Another nice stitch for embroidering letters is the split stitch. It forms nicely textured text and works well with small letters and highly curved fonts.
How to Choose a Font for Hand Embroidery
When picking a font for your designs, there are a couple of factors you should keep in mind.
First, you should consider the size of the text you want to embroider. If it’s going to be small and cramped, you’ll be better off with a simple font. It’s quite difficult to embroider small letters using complex fancy fonts with tight curves and angles.
If, on the other hand, the text is going to be large, you can go with nicer looking fonts of any complexity as you’ll be able to comfortably work your way through the tight angles.
Another factor to consider is the legibility of the font. A font might look great on paper or on a computer screen. However, it might not look that nice when embroidered on a piece of fabric.
A good way to ensure that your font choices are legible are to experiment with different options before committing to one.
You should also consider the overall appearance of the item you’re embroidering. Make sure to choose a font that compliments the design you’re working with.
If you’re working on a wedding quilt, for example, a nice romantic cursive font would be ideal. For your personal projects, you could even use your own handwriting to embroider a nice quote or your name onto your fabric.
You’ll also need to consider how proficient you are with embroidery. Most fonts use serifs which result in a more distinctive look. However, the serifs can be tricky to sew if you’re just getting started. Sans serif (no serif) fonts may be easier for beginners.
The lettering within an embroidery design is just as important as the design itself. Thus, the font you choose for hand embroidery does matter.
One main advantage of hand embroidery is that it gives you more freedom and allows you to add your unique touch to a project. So, when choosing a font for your next embroidery project, make sure to find a style that you love and that suits your design.