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Monogramming Convention Questions…

fireflyinva | Posted in General Discussion on

Greetings all!

I have been reading the lastest magazine and was inspired by the article about monogramming and was quite inspired, especially for wedding presents…though I think I am a bit lazy…I’m liable to use the machine embroidery utility!

One question I have–when it’s for a couple, what monogram do I use?  I know in my grandmother’s day, the only monogram was a bride’s maiden name–that convention seems very out of date, but I don’t know what the current trend is…Presumably both members of the new couple will be sleeping under my nice monogrammed sheets!

Let’s say Jane Elizabeth Doe is marrying Mark Herbert Smith…  Assuming the bride adopts the groom’s last name, is a correct monogram for both of them something like jSm (putting smaller versions of their first initials on both sides of their new last name)? 

And what the heck do you do if the bride does not take the groom’s last name?






  1. carolfresia | | #1

    Hi, Mary,

    I'm glad you enjoyed that article. Pamela Burke also published an article in issue no. 94, "Luxurious Linens for Elegant Slumber," which deals with embellishing bed linens with machine or hand embroidery. Meanwhile, Richards Jarden (the author of an article in issue no. 100 on digitizing a monogram), has written about the conventions of monogramming in Designs in Machine Embroidery, Feb/March 2002. Although there used to be standard practices for arranging the initials for a couple or individual, he says that today, with blended couples, wives using their maiden names and so on, there really aren't any definitive rules any more, and that "Decisions on monogram construction should be based on satisfying whatever best suits the end user."

    In other words, do what seems most appropriate to you. Perhaps use a single initial (if the couple shares one), and make it decorative by mirror-imaging it, or framing it, or anything that strikes your fancy. Monogrammed linens are a much less common gift these days, so I'll bet anything you make will be greatly appreciated.


    1. fireflyinva | | #2

      Thank you so much...I think that --thankfully-- the convention of monogramming is becoming more fluid...

      I'm thinking that for the couple at hand, making their shared initial large, then putting both of their initials vertically inside the initial...Of course, DH pointed out that I'm creating a political correctness problem:  whose initials should go on top?  My rather indignant response was that as my friend is the woman, her's will, adding that if we women can't get to the top of the heap on a monogram, where can we?!!! Then I am going to personalize each of the shams so each of them gets something with their own monograms..

      By the way, I was thinking of also making the shams...After reading the recent article on making linen bed sheets (Carol, I know you probably know exactly the article I'm talking about <g>), I was inspired, but a bit turned off by the yardage cost (yikes, $40-60 yd for the wide stuff).  So, I'm sticking to shams. 

      The linen fabric I find locally isn't really appropriate for bed linens--too open, not a tight weave, too slubby and a really low thread count.   Plus, most of the stuff tends to fuzz up when laundered.  I've been looking at the one linen bedsheet that I do have (handme down from an older aunt)--the fabric is really different from the linen they sell in most stores now.  Has anyone had any luck finding nice, tight, smooth linen fabric?  If so, where?  Or is the old linen just better than what is sold today?

      1. carolfresia | | #3

        Mary, high-quality, wide linen is expensive, isn't it? I looked into it when that article was in development, but couldn't find anything inexpensive that was wide enough, let alone tightly-woven enough for fine linens. Even wide cotton in a high thread count is tough to locate. But when I found out how much a purchased set of linen sheets costs, the yardage started to seem a lot more reasonable! Still, I'm probably going to stick to my percales for now. Shams are a good compromise--they'll be decorative and useful.

        I like your monogram design idea, and agree with you that the bride should get top billing! Mr. always comes before Mrs., so she should get her initial first in the monogram, at least.


      2. Tish | | #4

        Firefly, years ago I bought lovely handkerchief linen by the yard from the Vermont Country Store.  It was narrow and I don't know if they still sell it.  You might need to buy your sheeting from Ireland.

        1. Theodora | | #5

          One of my favorite genres of reading material is very old ettiquette books. Love 'em. If I recall correctly (too lazy to run up the stairs) linens should be monogrammed with the young woman's initials, those of her "maiden" name, because when she would have been working on her hope chest and its contents as a young lady, naturally she would not have known with certainty yet who her husband would be.

          And you know, what with the world today, there's some reverse logic there as well. But perhaps toady we at least buy/create new sheets for each new marriage!

          (Hey there Tish--great weaving thread. And I really miss the exposure I got to other fiber media in the earlier years of Threads, too.)

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