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How to Hand Embroider Letters

If you’re frustrated with the way your embroidered letters look, you’re in the right place.  My videos on how to embroider letters have been viewed over 2 million times and helped people produce beautiful results.  These easy methods will have your hand embroidered lettering looking perfect in no time!

How to Embroider Letters by Hand - Step-by-Step video tutorials and free patterns!

(This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

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Transferring Embroidery Words

The easiest way to transfer embroidery words is with a light table (or sunny window) and a disappearing pen.  If the letters are very small, or the fabric is dark, you can use a water soluble stabilizer to transfer your words.  Check out my post on how to transfer an embroidery pattern for full details.

Embroidery Stitches for Lettering

You can use any stitches you want to embroider your letters.  How you do it will depend on what style of words you’re embroidering.

Thin Embroidery Words

Use any line stitches to embroider thin words.  The most common ways are:

  • Stem Stitch
  • Backstitch
  • Split Stitch
  • Chain Stitch

Thick Embroidery Words

Thick embroidery words will need to be filled with stitches.  The most common ways are:

  • Outline and Fill with a Backstitch
  • Satin Stitch
  • Long and Short Stitch

How to Embroider Letters

Embroidering letters is not done in the same way that you write.  When writing with a pencil, you would write over the same parts multiple times.  You can’t do that when embroidering.  Here’s a little diagram of how you would stitch these letters:

It’s also important that when you stop embroidering in one spot, and start in another, that you travel the thread through existing stitches on the back.

How to Hand Embroider Letters with a Backstitch:

The first method that I like to use is a backstitch.  This is a great method for script fonts that have thicker and thinner parts.  I outline the thicker parts with a backstitch and fill them in with another row of backstitch.  For this style, I usually use 6 strands of floss for large letters and 3 strands for smaller ones. 

  1. Start with a backstitch on the top, thin part of the letter.
  2. Outline the thick part of the letter with a backstitch.
  3. Do another row (or more if it’s thicker) of a backstitch down the middle.
  4. Travel the thread in the back, under the existing stitches.
  5. Start a new thread on top of the letter and repeat the process.

To makes things super easy for you, I made a video.  If you are using an ad blocker, you may have to turn it off to see the video.

How to Embroider Letters with the Stem Stitch:

The other method that I like to use is a stem stitch.  I use a stem stitch for monoline fonts, aka fonts made of a single line.  You can use any line stitch for fonts like this, but I prefer the look of a stem stitch.  It makes the letters look like one, consistent line, rather than multiple stitches.  I usually use 2 or 3 strands of floss when I embroider letters with a stem stitch.

  1. Start a stem stitch at the bottom of the letter.
  2. Skip over to the middle of the h where the loop starts and start another stem stitch.
  3. Travel the thread in the back, under existing stitches.
  4. Start another stem stitch to create the remaining part of the h.
  5. Refer to the diagram above to see how to stitch the rest of the letters.

And, of course, I made a video for this one too.  Watch it below, and make sure to turn off your ad blocker to see it.

Tips for Embroidery Letters

I hope you were able to learn something new from those videos.  I know that embroidering letters can be a bit of a challenge.  I get so frustrated trying to make them look perfect!

  • Just remember that you can always take your stitches back out.
  • Take your time and make your stitches very short around those tight curves.

How do you fill letters in embroidery?

The most common way to fill letters in embroidery is with a satin stitch.  You can also fill with a backstitch, or even the long and short stitch.

Embroidering Letters on a Shirt

To embroider letters on a shirt, the most important thing you’ll need is a stabilizer to keep the fabric from stretching while you stitch.  You can use a water soluble stabilizer to stabilize the fabric and transfer your pattern.  Try to keep your work as neat as possible, and use one of my no-knot methods if you can.  Check out my post on how to embroider on a t-shirt for more details.

Happy stitching!

I have lots of hand embroidery patterns.  Take a look at my free embroidery patterns page!

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Monday 26th of September 2022

At last I’ve found exactly what I’ve been looking for YAY thank you for spending so much of your time producing something a beginner, like me, will treasure!! I’ll be able to go back and watch the videos when needed too which is fab!! Thank you ❤️


Wednesday 24th of August 2022

Love these, but how do I buy/download them?

Sarah Boyson

Saturday 2nd of April 2022

Loving all your help, so that I can produce high quality work! I've had some lovely coments from people, so keep it up! Sarah (UK) x


Wednesday 17th of November 2021

Hi! Not seeing a link to your videos, but would love to watch them.


Jessica @ Cutesy Crafts

Tuesday 30th of November 2021

If you have an ad blocker on, it might be stopping them. You can also see all of them on my YouTube channel.


Monday 12th of April 2021

Hi May I ask what font you used for choose happy


Sunday 9th of May 2021

@Jessica @ Cutesy Crafts, thank you so much 😊

Jessica @ Cutesy Crafts

Tuesday 4th of May 2021

Blingtastic Script. Here's my affiliate link:

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