Detail Inspiration: Elegant Monograms


I’m a bit smitten with all things embroidery right now, hence another needlwork inspiration piece coming on the heels of my previous post. The monogram is the pinnacle of “granny chic” in my mind: a retro throwback to a time when brand names and logos weren’t plastered on everything. They have a sort of sweet kitschiness to them that lends a charm to any garment. Monograms are easy to stitch on to many garments (especially those that may need a little extra “jazzing up”!), and while the examples I’ve shown here are more traditional in their script lettering, other types of text would look equally fun and add a bit of contemporary flair to this vintage style embellishment. Why not break away from the usual placement and try it on a skirt hem or patch pocket too? (The Negroni shirt springs to mind as a perfect canvas for this.)

This first example is by far my favorite. The contrast of the light embroidery on the dark blue is striking and classic. It’s not soft and subtle—rather it’s a bold statement. The oversized script style gives the monogram an almost abstract look as well. I think if the letters were intertwined, it would be even more so!

This blouse caught my eye because it reminds me so much of the Sencha pattern! This monogram style is more restrained—but can you imagine something similar in modern block letters or perhaps embellished? Would look great under a blazer as well and give any outfit a bit of a vintage flair (and personalization) without sacrificing a business-like appearance.

Lastly, this knit top struck me because of it’s interesting tie collar, and how the monogram is worked into that. Clever, no? Rarely have I seen a monogram on vintage clothing like this!

For those looking to embellish their own creations with a monogram, vintage transfers are still plentiful and with the resurgence of interest in embroidery over the past decade there are many contemporary options available as well. For some free stitching patterns (who doesn’t like free?!), check out my favorite resource: Hoop Love.

Images: 1950s dress, vintage blouse, 1950s knit top.

Casey Cartwright   —  

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Comments 7


I am looking into doing some embroidery! I am going to practice with some scraps! It can add so many interesting details! I especially like them on circle skirts

Maddie Flanigan

To be quite honest, I wasn’t a fan of monogramming before reading this post. My aunts monogram and the lettering they stitch on clothes reminds me of country club chic, where everyone looks, dresses, and acts the same. But the images you used in this post aren’t that at all. They’re cool and different. Most importantly, their fresh.


I am not a fan of monograms but I do like embroidery. Instead of the lettering I might go for a similar look with a tribal motif or something more graphic that is tattoo inspired.


Monograms are one the most classic embellishments I know. I went to a local high end shop to purchase a very special coat. After the sale, I was ushered upstairs to the seamstress. I stepped up to the tiered platform where she examined the sleeve and hem length for possible alterations and double checked all the fasteners and lining seams to make sure they were intact. Then she said, what are your initials? I told her. She took the coat and offered me a seat, velvet of course, where I could wait. In about 15 minutes she returned, coat in hand, with my monogrammed initials placed on the inside lining edge on the left side of the coat. They were pre-embroidered and applied as needed. My love of the monogram began that day, it was November 1969.


Tuesday’s post over at the sew weekly features a beautiful monogrammed dress by Bethany.

Shannon Wood

This is so lovely! I am a strong advocate of unnecessary, but beautiful hand embellished decorations on clothing. Nothing says love like a personalized hand embroidered initial.

Alicia C.

Cool! I’ve wanted a monogrammed wardrobe ever since I first saw “Laverne and Shirley” (almost 30 years ago–eek!). One day I’ll get all my ducks in a row and it will happen. That first dress reminds me of my current favorite vintage item: my great-grandmother’s bowling shirt. It’s also a dark blue with white script! Definitely a classic combo.

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