Monogram Madness and Giveaway!

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03 Nov Monogram Madness and Giveaway!

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What can I say – I love monograms. I give and receive lots of monogrammed gifts because I believe personalizing an item is  a lovely way to turn ordinary objects into special gifts.

This week, I’ve been fixated on learning to embroider monograms. Obsessed……a dog with a bone.


I needed to learn more about both the Creative Icon capabilities and embroidery in general, so I buckled down and focused.

1. Craftsy Classes. I bought three…..

  1. Lindee Goodall – 20 Things Every Machine Embroiderer Should Know
  2.  Cookie Gaynor – Digitizing Machine Embroidery Designs
  3. Embroidery Software Essentials (w/ Cindy Hogan)

and quickly discovered I only needed Lindee Goodall’s class to get started.  Lindee explains hooping, stabilizers, needles, threads, fabrics and all of the essentials one needs to know.

2. The Creative Icon – Setting up  mySewnet account. (exclusive to Pfaff, Viking and Singer)

The Creative Icon features a 10 inch touchscreen with wifi. A computer software package is available for the Creative Icon which includes the mySewnet Cloud Sync tool. Any file I save to the mySewnet folder on my computer will automatically be transferred to the mySewnetTM cloud and accessible from machine. I set up the account online, and then… 


3.  I downloaded the Sew Notice App to my phone which monitors the embroidery stitch-out progress on via notifications on my smart phone. It sends  notifications when I need to change thread, or it’s ready to change colors, when the design is done!

 4. Online Monograms

Many websites sell Embroidery Monograms ready to download. I found several I liked and found it easy to get carried away. Three sites I enjoyed and patronized are:

  1. Apex Embroidery Designs
  2. Designs by Juju
  3. Itch to Stitch


5. Here’s how my process worked:

  1. I bought a monogram design
  2. I download it to mySewnet folder on the computer
  3. I turned on the Creative Icon and opened the monogram file


Despite all of my new knowledge and sophisticated machinery, I knew the next step was all about trial and error, so away I went.

Old dish towels were bleached and monogrammed.


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Old linens were washed starched and embellished


I’ll always be fond of white on white. Note the larger towel has no puckering! I embroidered on a soft tearaway stabilizer. The smaller napkins were embroidered on a water soluble.

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Eventually, I decided the circle monogram standing alone needed something…….


So I went back to the websites and ordered frames.

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Dishtowels led to baby bibs. Did you know Walmart sells a 13-pack of assorted color Gerber bibs for $10?


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Birdie’s digging her new bib!

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Finally I grabbed a few things from my closet.




I really like the new look of the vest!

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Lulu is crazy about the pashmina,

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and though I have some work to do I am elated to have tackled this new technique!

To celebrate – let’s have a giveaway!

I’m giving away two custom monogrammed holiday towels to one winner. I can’t promise they will be perfect, but I promise to give it my all! To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, November 7.

Many thanks to Coats and Clark for the wonderful embroidery threads, and many thanks to you Dear Readers for making it through a lengthy post!
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  • Betty Barrett
    Posted at 17:27h, 03 November Reply

    What a professional job! Love monograms, too, and one can never have too many!

    Thank you for showing and sharing!

  • Deborah Findlay
    Posted at 17:29h, 03 November Reply

    Love the towels! So creative! Always an inspiration to keep seeing. 🙂

  • Lynne Bailey
    Posted at 17:32h, 03 November Reply

    Love the towels….and how fun to always be learning new things.

  • Mary Lynn
    Posted at 17:32h, 03 November Reply

    I ran into Julie an hour ago and she was telling me about your monogram! I haven’t tried those – although I did do a towel at Viking Club. I’m glad Lulu didn’t get monogrammed! In the process of doing my first Bishop – blowing all the dust off of my pleater and new needles, etc. (30 years since my daughter rebelled!) You’ve done such a great job with your embroidery. I think I made a mistake not starting with built in designs. You’re doing so well Way to go!

  • Stephanie Costello
    Posted at 17:32h, 03 November Reply

    Wow. Love the white on white.

  • Pat Leonardi
    Posted at 17:47h, 03 November Reply

    Stop already! Or I’ll have to go out and buy that machine. Beautiful work! Love seeing what you are up to. Keep up the excellent work!

  • Helen Mcintyre
    Posted at 17:50h, 03 November Reply

    This made me laugh-because when I got my embroidery software I was was also using it for initialing everything!

  • Eileen
    Posted at 17:50h, 03 November Reply

    Embroidery LUV!!!

  • Vicki Wolfe
    Posted at 17:55h, 03 November Reply

    I am not an embroiderer EXCEPT for monogramming!

  • Julia Price
    Posted at 17:56h, 03 November Reply

    You make me wish I had an embroidery machine. Hmmm Christmas is coming! 😉 love your work, thanks for all the inspiration.


  • Caroline Lazzara
    Posted at 17:58h, 03 November Reply

    Absolutely beautiful, Sarah! I continue to be amazed and inspired by you!

  • Debbie Bowdish
    Posted at 17:59h, 03 November Reply

    You are doing a great job!!!!!! Love the frames!!!!!

  • Lis Taylor
    Posted at 17:59h, 03 November Reply

    Cannot believe how many wonderful creations you have managed to put together for this post. I could nott hope to match it but determined to find out what my relatively new Bernina will do.
    Thank you. – I always look forward to reading about your latest projects

  • Rhonda
    Posted at 18:02h, 03 November Reply

    I love monograms as well. Lulu is precious,

  • Linda Dunbar
    Posted at 18:04h, 03 November Reply

    I’ve been embroidering and sewing and experimenting with techniques on my Icon too. It’s so fun to learn!

  • Linda K Anderson
    Posted at 18:06h, 03 November Reply

    Wow! How fun and creative! You make me want to give this a try!!!!!!!

  • Lynne G. Matsuda
    Posted at 18:08h, 03 November Reply

    Wow, you are so inspiring. Now I think I’ll get my embroidery machine out of the closet and start embroidering designs again. And this time I’m going to use my monogram software and try to make Christmas towels with monograms. My sister and other relatives will absolutely love the results. Thank you so much for publishing this blog and for getting me excited about sewing again and making all kinds of products from dresses to tunics to blouses to vests and monogramed towels. I love your work. With much aloha from here out in the Pacific thousands of miles away from you. Aloha.

  • Bernice Ramsey
    Posted at 18:08h, 03 November Reply

    Great job. It is so much fun to learn something new.

  • Julie Starr
    Posted at 18:09h, 03 November Reply

    I, too, would be monogramming everything in sight if I had that machine. Had to laugh at Birdies’s face in the pictures – she obviously much prefers an embroidered bib over a plain one! Beautiful items, all, Sarah.👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  • Karen
    Posted at 18:14h, 03 November Reply

    Looks like fun. Love the frames!

  • Judy Miller
    Posted at 18:19h, 03 November Reply

    It is fun to see what you are creating! Your monograms are great! Also, happy to see photo of Lulu!

  • Maria
    Posted at 18:20h, 03 November Reply

    Oh my goodness…. it’s like you are reading my mind!!! I’ve been wanting to start embroidering for sooo long! And now I get to watch YOU do it! I love them all… I too would be monogramming everything I owned! I doing research now to get myself an embroidery machine for Christmas this year… because by gosh… I deserve it!! LOL Thanks for the post. I didn’t think it was long at all.. I was sad to see it end! Keep inspiring like you do so well. Hope I win! Thanks much… <3

  • Susan bonfiglio
    Posted at 18:21h, 03 November Reply

    Wow! Love the monograms especially the holiday,

  • Carolyn
    Posted at 18:26h, 03 November Reply

    I love all of them and especially the white on white.

  • Cynthia Willis
    Posted at 18:28h, 03 November Reply

    I love monogrammed items for bridal and baby showers- the recipients are thrilled to have something so special. I think monogramming items like clothing takes them to a whole different plane! You did a good job on all these items.

  • Wendy Sikes
    Posted at 18:29h, 03 November Reply

    I love your posts, especially these on machine embroidery. I got a machine 5 years ago when my first grand child was born. I love monogramming things, it really can jazz up most anything, it’s not always an easy process though. Your work is always so inspiring, thank for taking the time to post things .

  • Susie Heintz
    Posted at 18:29h, 03 November Reply

    Wow. You’re work is amazing! You are such an inspiration to others. I was a Home Ec teacher and have loved sewing as a creative outlet. I appreciate the time you give in sharing your skills with others.

  • Katy
    Posted at 18:30h, 03 November Reply

    Looks like fun. The holiday embellished monograms are so cute & festive! I would love to hang those towels in my kitchen!

  • Yolanda Fastle
    Posted at 18:38h, 03 November Reply

    All so lovely! Keep seeing! Thank you!

  • Deborah Penner
    Posted at 18:39h, 03 November Reply

    Really want to get en embroidery machine. The suggestion of the Craftsy class is helpful.

  • Lone Star Couture
    Posted at 18:49h, 03 November Reply

    Isn’t it just the be all and end all!? I’ve gotten to love machine embroidery as much as sewing. It’s amazing how easy monogramming is with these fancy machines. Good for you for reading and watching classes. I just dive in with on the job training…lol Target carries a 3 pack of bar mops that are great for personalizing for the men on your list.. Not every guy has monogrammed bar mops and they love them!

  • Susan Meissner
    Posted at 18:50h, 03 November Reply

    Love the emroidered Christmas towels, especially the ones with the reindeer antlers & the elf hat! So adorable!

  • Cheralee Stover
    Posted at 19:16h, 03 November Reply

    I really loved the white on white monogram! Such an easy solution to creating modern heirlooms!

  • Ilse Moore
    Posted at 19:19h, 03 November Reply

    I really love reading about your progress on the embroidery machine. Love, love the monograms. ALL of them

  • Jan
    Posted at 19:20h, 03 November Reply

    My kids sometimes give me a hard time about making so many of the same item, but I can tell you what I’m sure you already know: “Practice Makes Perfect……or if not “perfect” at least better……and in less time!” Love seeing what you are doing and it all looks beautiful!

  • Tiffany
    Posted at 19:35h, 03 November Reply

    You are doing a great job with your monograming!!! I have been embroidering for about ten years now. I actually love embroidery more than sewing. I would like to offer you a couple of suggestions. Please do not take this as any criticism at all. Just a little suggestion from someone who has made every mistake possible. On towels or any thing that has a little fluff to it you need to use a piece of WSS (Water soluble stabilizer) (It’s clear and looks like saran wrap) on top of the towel. It will help to hold the fluff down so that little specks of fluff do not peek thru the monogram. The excess will tear away when you are completed. Also I believe that when monograming clothing in the chest area, the monogram should go on the left side of the garment. There is a nice Embroidery placement guide here- A nice source of stabilizer and the WSS is a place in Gastonia, NC called You can visit the store or they sell online. I love all of the monogram sources that you have used, I also use them. You might also want to check out Wishing you lots of fun and success with your new machine !!!

    • Judy
      Posted at 00:12h, 04 November Reply

      I think you are correct on the recommended placement, Tiffany, If you will notice, Sarah’s monogram on the vest would not have fit on the left side because of the zipper placement. I think the coordinated color of the zipper and monogram still added a nice touch to the vest. Thanks for sharing your websites, Tiffany! I enjoyed them as well as the sites Sarah used. I purchase designs from the same sites she used. To me, they are some of the best out there. I also bookmarked your sites. The Goodbye Valentino blog allows us all to share resources, which is a lot of fun. Thanks to both of you for sharing your knowledge and resources.

    • Karen Barlow
      Posted at 07:59h, 04 November Reply

      Good post, Tiffany. A topper on toweling of any kind vastly improves the outcome. And remember that a monogram can cover a stain that might otherwise be the death knell of a favorite garment. Good links to monograms, too. And look on Etsy for embroidery motifs of all sorts. I have found some gems there.

      • Cissie Wellons
        Posted at 13:12h, 04 November Reply

        I’ve always used dry cleaning bags on top of towels and it is a cheap solution. It pulls right off.

    • Becky Thompson
      Posted at 10:07h, 05 November Reply

      I read of a hack that you can actually use Saran Wrap and may want to at times on items with a thick pile because the extra support provided by WSS is washed away while the Saran Wrap is not. Of course, you need a solid satin stitch to do this like her circle monogram. It wouldn’t work on swirly lines but they would disappear into a thick pile anyway. I’ve not yet tried this but I’m going to give it a test.

  • susan gill
    Posted at 19:38h, 03 November Reply

    be sure to checkout the split monograms
    I often use the split last initial with welcome or guest in the split

    • Becky Thompson
      Posted at 10:08h, 05 November Reply

      What a great idea! I was wondering what to do with a split monogram. Thanks!

  • Sharon Hanna
    Posted at 19:39h, 03 November Reply

    I love all of it! You did great! I miss my Viking SLE 🙁

  • Eleanor Boeringa
    Posted at 19:46h, 03 November Reply

    Just beautiful! I love white on white, too… sophisticated. Thanks for sharing your creations!!

  • Pat Corcoran
    Posted at 20:48h, 03 November Reply

    What a beautiful variety of gift and monogram ideas. I also love the richness of white on white.

  • Donna Richards
    Posted at 21:30h, 03 November Reply

    I’m inspired by your idea to try out a new technique on existing household textiles that need a new look. Will start looking at mine with an eye toward embellishing for another round of usefulness.

  • Rebecca Holdsworth
    Posted at 22:08h, 03 November Reply

    LOVE the work you have done. Embroidery work on the creative icon is just too much fun. Well, so far everything I’ve done on mine has been great. I have the software to go with the machine…honestly, have used the Pfaff software for years and just finished installing an update last night. YEAH!!!

    One thing, I found three monograms on the Itch to Stitch site and bought it and then when they sent it found out that it was by Embrilliance. I tried one other time to use that and could not, so if they don’t take the unusual step of refunding for those three sets, I’ll be out the money. So, everybody be forewarned.

    Everyone will love your creative efforts during the holiday. One caution to those who might not think about it: don’t put a child’s name on anything that will be worn or carried in public as it isn’t safe. The monogram is a great idea for them. PJs are good vehicles for embroidery, too.

  • Anna O’Fay
    Posted at 22:11h, 03 November Reply

    You’re an inspiration. I have a wonderful new embroidery machine that I need to buckle down and learn. Thanks for recs on classes.

  • Barbara B
    Posted at 22:27h, 03 November Reply

    I love monograms, too. I admire your perseverance in learning a new skill. The stitch quality of your machine is really superb.

  • Ruthe Ploskunyak
    Posted at 22:54h, 03 November Reply

    I love that you always do more than just one thing to demonstrate a new skill you learned. It is never a disappointment.

  • Lois Allen
    Posted at 22:56h, 03 November Reply

    Love the round monogram with the antlers.
    I really enjoy following your blog. I think our style is very similar.

  • Mary Frances Giattina
    Posted at 23:29h, 03 November Reply

    I LOVE all things monogrammed too! Great post😄

  • Yvonne Bennett
    Posted at 00:23h, 04 November Reply

    I live in the Deep South and we monogram anything we can hold still long enough to get under the machine and if it won’t fit it seems we will monogram it with stick 9n vinyl letters! When I first got an embroidery machine, my husband was surprised one morning to find his work coveralls (a builder) had been embroidered! Lol. I had run out of towels and such and started on clothing. :). Your work looks awesome!

  • Yoshie Wong
    Posted at 00:29h, 04 November Reply

    Love your work and love your blog!!

  • Nancy Balding
    Posted at 00:56h, 04 November Reply

    Looks very professional, great job. And I like the bibs dyed.

  • Pamela
    Posted at 04:48h, 04 November Reply

    Birdie’s little face before and after tells the story of how clever her Grandma is. My son and his wife are expecting second child in January a baby girl, they have a little boy Owen(a Welsh name) .he is so special. I remember the bucket hats you made for Birdie they were so cute,and colourful., your sewing talents are endless.I love your blog. Pamela from Wales UK x

  • Becky Bagwell
    Posted at 06:38h, 04 November Reply

    Oh my goodness ! Love all!

  • Rosalind Clayton
    Posted at 07:27h, 04 November Reply

    Everything is FABULOUS! So glad you’re putting your new machine to work! Congratulations!

  • Lisa Pirrello
    Posted at 07:42h, 04 November Reply

    I’d love to win. Your monograms are so nice and November 7th is my birthday!

  • Ann Wright
    Posted at 07:44h, 04 November Reply

    What Southern girl doesn’t love a monogram? Almost makes me want an embroidery machine.

  • Dana Tougas
    Posted at 07:57h, 04 November Reply

    Thanks for the advice on the Craftsy class! I’d love to see more that you do.

  • Dorothy Ferguson
    Posted at 08:00h, 04 November Reply

    All your embroidery work is beautiful, but my favorites are definitely the crowns you created for over the monograms. Love getting and reading your blogs!

  • Linda Coleman
    Posted at 08:18h, 04 November Reply

    Love to be the recipient of your artwork. You do wonderful, beautiful things with great instructions. Thank you for the opportunity!

  • Velma Jo Barham
    Posted at 08:26h, 04 November Reply

    Personalized gifts are the best!

  • Dorothy Ivey
    Posted at 09:05h, 04 November Reply

    Beautiful! Being from the South, I believe that monograms make everything better.

  • Celeste Amaral
    Posted at 09:52h, 04 November Reply

    It really brightens the vests and the towels. Starting to sew and your blog provides inspiration. Not at the embroidery level yet but hope to get there.

  • Rita D. Murphy
    Posted at 10:23h, 04 November Reply

    You sure throw yourself wholeheartedly into anything you do! I love all your choices in coordinating fabrics, threads, colors and designs.

  • Shelby
    Posted at 11:00h, 04 November Reply

    It’s fun to share your journey! Embroidery can be so addictive, especially with a new toy to play with for the process.

  • Judy Sherwood
    Posted at 11:03h, 04 November Reply

    My old dishtowels (even bleached) never looked so good. Guess it’s time to go through them and discard most. I don’t embroider but have always liked monograms and will satin stitch them on sometimes. Can’t really afford a machine, but I am a Pfaff girl so I am interested in what you are doing and certainly wouldn’t turn down the Icon if someone offered me one! Thank you for your ideas.

  • Karen Lukacs
    Posted at 11:23h, 04 November Reply

    Thank you for sharing your creative journeys. When I see a new post from you appear in my email, it makes my day. You’re proof of the “sample, sample, sample” theory of learning. I appreciate you sharing the glitches and corrections…the process. While I covet your wardrobe, it’s the focus and exploration that I find inspiring. From the tunics to this new embroidery path, I am truly inspired by following your own skill development. While fond of the white on white, I’m adoring the elf cap and reindeer antlers on the holiday towels. Thank you!

  • Rose Britton
    Posted at 12:00h, 04 November Reply

    When there was a Tech Shop in Durham and Raleigh, I thoroughly enjoyed the embroidery machine. Can’t say any of my work was up to your standard! Thank you for showing what you can do with your new machine, and sharing sources for designs.

  • Gail Cunningham
    Posted at 12:32h, 04 November Reply

    Love them all, but especially on that Sweet Baby Girl!
    Thank you for sharing your talent with your readers!

  • Cissie Wellons
    Posted at 13:13h, 04 November Reply

    If it moves, monogram it!!!

  • Eliza Harper
    Posted at 14:09h, 04 November Reply

    I love reading your blog and have wanted an embroidery machine for some time now. Lovely projects! You must be a quick study 🙂

  • Sue Schick
    Posted at 14:58h, 04 November Reply

    The white on white is so elegant!

  • MonicaAD
    Posted at 15:44h, 04 November Reply

    There’s nothing like EMBROIDERY!!!! FIESTA 🙂

  • Lisa Frendberg
    Posted at 16:21h, 04 November Reply

    You did a very nice job on all of your monogramming 🙂

  • Julie Seiler
    Posted at 16:44h, 04 November Reply

    Sarah, Thanks for sharing all the wonderful features of your new machine! I love following your blog. You are an inspiration to many sewers. I’m hoping to purchase my first machine soon. Love all monogrammed things too!

  • Pamela Giannetto
    Posted at 18:30h, 04 November Reply

    Would love to receive monogrammed towels. I think they look very classy. Love all the monograms you did.

  • Cheryl Sautter
    Posted at 20:19h, 04 November Reply

    You are inspiring me to consider a new seeking machine!

  • Cheryl Sautter
    Posted at 20:21h, 04 November Reply

    Auto correct : change seeking to sewing

  • Alice Elliot
    Posted at 20:24h, 04 November Reply

    OMG! I want to send you all my fleece and my mother’s old linen napkins!!! AME!

  • Sharon S. Kane
    Posted at 22:19h, 04 November Reply

    Great article and wonderful samples! Who knew that a plain old monogram could be jazzed up with reindeer antlers, or that Walmart bibs costing less than $1.00 a piece could be made to look like $10.00 each. Of course, Birdie’s bib – priceless.

  • Janice Delahunty
    Posted at 22:37h, 04 November Reply

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Maureen Lacey
    Posted at 00:09h, 05 November Reply

    Monograms are so classy!! Thanks for a new spin on an old Favorite.

  • Kathy Hills
    Posted at 08:35h, 05 November Reply

    The bibs are definitely an improvement over the plain style. The towels look very nice.

  • Kay
    Posted at 09:16h, 05 November Reply

    Thanks for the give-away. I have always wanted a sewing/embroidery machine. Hopefully, I will get one when we finally move into a regular home 🙂

  • Catherine
    Posted at 09:39h, 05 November Reply

    I love seeing your beautiful projects in embroidery! They’re so unique and tasteful. You’re giving me embroidery machine fever!

  • L J Harris
    Posted at 09:53h, 05 November Reply

    I am an avid follower and would love to have something you made!

    Posted at 11:06h, 05 November Reply


  • PsychicSewerKathleen
    Posted at 11:19h, 05 November Reply

    I was visiting my local sewing machine shop yesterday to pick up a few odds & ends and asked the manager about the Icon – I knew she was a Pfaff fan from forever ago and wondered what she’d have to say about it 🙂 She said she went to a conference recently hosted by Pfaff, watched a demo and promptly ordered one 🙂 I’ll have to forward her your posts on the Icon!

  • kristina daniels
    Posted at 12:03h, 05 November Reply

    All of these look so professional! Thanks for the chance to win one!

  • Linda Berube
    Posted at 13:51h, 05 November Reply

    Every piece is beautifully done! I’ve been doing machine embroidery for about five years and it is addictive! I don’t have any grandbabies of my own yet, but have enjoyed making embroidered bibs, burp cloths and towels for others. I have also embroidered numerous vests and tops for an elderly relative living in a nursing home. Items with her name on them seem far less likely to “disappear” in the laundry! Old Navy is a great source for inexpensive vests and fleece jackets to customize.

  • Jeanne Longo
    Posted at 14:57h, 05 November Reply

    Hi Sarah,

    Love that post! I am machine shopping and also LOVE monograms! I laughed my head off scrolling through all the monograms you tested. OMG, those frames are adorable! Didn’t know they existed! Thank you so much for sharing all your trials. Keep it going!

  • Patty
    Posted at 16:44h, 05 November Reply

    WOW !! Such inspiration – this is why I follow your blog. You lead us through intricate steps and make us believe we can do it too!

    What type of threads did you use for the white on white?

    Many thanks!

  • Maria
    Posted at 17:01h, 05 November Reply

    I would love to win some monogrammed towels, lol. Apparently I am not alone.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted at 19:52h, 05 November Reply

    Such tasteful choices. Though I seldom post, I am always in awe of your choices, talent and determination. I am making making a very small attempt at sewing for myself, though my talent nowhere near comes close to yours. 🙂

  • Carolyn Holmes
    Posted at 20:51h, 05 November Reply

    Love your work! Looking forward to the arrival of my Icon!

  • Marcia Clever
    Posted at 21:33h, 05 November Reply

    You are living my dream…I’d love to be able to machine embroider. For now I continue iron on transfers. Your work is beautiful!

  • Nancy
    Posted at 03:46h, 06 November Reply

    Beautiful work – I love monograms as well.

  • Meg McDonald
    Posted at 09:58h, 06 November Reply

    Me too, Sarah, monogramming everything in sight with my loaner Bernina 790 Plus! Have you tried bath towels yet?

  • linda williams
    Posted at 22:47h, 07 November Reply

    Love the monogramming…as much as everything else you do. You get my creative juices going. Thanks so much

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