Hand embroidery lettering ideas

Hand embroidery lettering ideas

Here are some ideas on how to work quotes and monograms in hand embroidery!

I don't embroider quotes and phrases that often but there are some universal tips that you can use for that *wink wink*.

Handwriting style

Handwriting can be elegant, sometimes quirky and at times sharp and rash. But either way, you will most probably need to work a fine line and your stitch should flexible enough to be able to bend in tight curves.

So, from the family of line stitches, I would recommend stem stitch, split stitch, back stitch and chain stitch. Split back stitch will work too.

Hand embroidery lettering ideas

Here I used back stitch with 1 strand of floss in the needle. This stitch is flexible enough to be worked in curves and swooshes and the line it creates is thin and delicate. I used cotton as the ground fabric in the picture above, it has a very tight weaving so the stitches stand out one from another quite clearly. But if you use a softer fabric like linen, it will be easier to create a smooth line and it will be more difficult to tell individual stitches apart.

Hand embroidery lettering ideas

Also, you can whip back stitch like in the picture above. It will hide the individual stitches and make the line completely undivided.

If you choose chain stitch for working the lettering, make sure to check out these tips for better chain stitch. They include recommendations on edges, corners and seamless joining of two lines :)

Bold lettering

Hand embroidery lettering ideas

Quotes and phrases in this style can be worked in satin stitch like in the picture above. I used 2 strands of floss, made an outline in back stitch and then covered with satin stitch – it created some volume. If you want to make the letters even more dimensional, try padded satin stitch. By the way, the design in this example is available as a freebie!

Also, here is a monogram I worked a couple years ago in satin stitch. Here I used only 1 of floss, so it wasn't as dimensional, but thanks to that it fits nicely under glass in a frame, haha. It was a present for my Mom :)


This writing style usually combines bold and fine parts in letters. However, working these elements separately in different ways (like back stitch for fine lines and satin stitch for bold parts) is risky and doesn't really guarantee a nice result... pulling it off would be rather challenging.

There are other good alternatives though!

Hand embroidery lettering ideas

Here stem stitch is used for both fine lines and the filling. You can work the outline of the letters in this stitch first, and then fill the bold parts with parallel lines of stem stitch. These quotes are available as PDF tutorials in my Etsy store.

Hand embroidery lettering ideas

Another way to fill the bold part is to use long and short stitch. I don't really have an example of a letter worked like this, but the example above is quite close to how it would look like. Read the tutorial for this technique to use it correctly, and as for the finer lines, you can use stem stitch with it too.

I stated the options for fine stitching with 1 strand of floss of thread. However, you can actually work calligraphy with back stitch, and this choice is quite popular nowadays. Outline the letters with back stitch in 2 and more strands of floss, and then fill the bold parts with parallel lines.

Lastly, for dots in letters like i you can use french knots, and for circumflex you can use fly stitch.

Hope this adds some inspiration for the next project! If you have any extra ideas, leave in the comments below! :)


Write what you think! ❤