Towel Tricks

Embossed monograms on towels are an easy and fun technique. They’re also impressive looking and elegant and can work with most any decor.

An advantage with embossed monograms is that they’re designed to let the nap peek through so you don’t have to worry about the nap poking up though the design or your design getting lost in the nap, typically exactly what you want to avoid under normal circumstances.


Embossing designs can be thought of as “reversed” designs where we’re featuring the “negative space” of the fabric by a sort of sculpting technique where the background fabric is matted down to allow the foreground fabric to pouf up.

It works best on lofty fabrics like towels, blankets, fluffy fleece. Often the thread matches the background fabric to keep the focus on the fabric.

In this photo, the shiney thread is catchiing the light more than the flatter fabric color so it looks more contrasting than it actually is.

I’ve also done this technique with batting placed behind the fabric to achieve the loftand in that situation it’s often called trapunto.

An advantage on towels is that you can often get by with no permanent stabilizer so the back looks just as nice as the front. (Be sure to use high quality towels for a good result.)

Designs for embossing are pretty easy to make if you have digitizing software. This set was made because I showed how to make an almost identical one in Embrilliance Stitch Artist in a YouTube video.

Just a few days ago, I reproduced the technique in Wilcom Hatch and there’s video for that one too.


I really didn’t intend to digitize the set, however, there were quite a few non-digitizers who saw the video and asked where to get the designs so I finally had my arm twisted enough to do the set. 

These are all done in Embrilliance Stitch Artist so if you’re one of the many happy users of Essentials or any other module that supports working with designs, you’ll be happy to know the native BE file is included as on option with the set.

Native files are more adjustable and flexible than a stitch file alone.


The set includes both 4″ and 5″ sizes, which will work just fine for the vast majority of embroiderers. If you want larger monograms for say, a pillow or a large bath towel, you can easily do that with Essentials.

Why two sizes? Towel sets are typically monogrammed in different sizes; smaller monograms for smaller towels and larger ones for larger towels.

These two sizes have borders that are the same width and spaced the same amount apart. The mesh fill is the same density. Depending on what software you use for resizing, you can get mixed results.

If you have Stitch Artist, you can resize parts to maintain the same attributes and spacing as the provided files. Not all that hard, but tedious for a whole set and then of course they all have to be test sewed, converted, zipped, and blah, blah, blah to include on the website.


I originally digitized the 4″ letters with extra tie-offs on different objects. The primary reason was flexibility—it made it easy for you Essentials users to change colors of the various elements.  

Want red satin borders but a white background mesh for white towels? No problem. Select the mesh object and change the color. No worries about missing tie stitches.

I did the one here in pink and blue to make it easy to see. You’ll want to spend some time doing a little resequecning to optimize it and you can do that manually or through color sorting.

However, tie stitches in Stitch Artist apparently trigger the trimmer “on some machines.” Probably not most home machines that tend to look at the length of the space between areas but on machines that recognize actual trim commands, like commercial machines. 

The 5″ blocks have these extra tie stitches removed. The 4″ stitch file versions were all edited in another program that can see trims and delete them. 

You can still change the colors in the 5″ size, you’ll just need to do something to secure the stitches on objects that aren’t otherwise tied off so you’ll need either Enthusiast or a level of Stitch Artist. (Sorry!) 


I hooped my towel with a washaway stabilizer on the bottom and Solvy on the top, all held between the rings of the hoop. You may not be able to do that with really thick towels on home hoops. Check out the linked article below for an alternative method of perfect placement for monograms on towels.

You will need to wash out the stabilizer after stitching. I found that even after a good soaking and dunking in hot water and then a spin through the dryer I was left some stabilizer residue and sent in through the washer for a compete removal.

This sample is actually just a test sew on a wash cloth and if you’re doing a full set, then the washer is definitely the easier route. Do trim or tear off excess stabilzier first!

Also, I recommend pre-washing the towels. Terry cloth does shrink and it can distort even open design like these.

Here’s a thread tip for you. Stitch towels with polyester embroidery thread. It’s more impervious to repeated launderings and doesn’t mind staying damp for long periods of time. (Rayon does…)


One thing I particularly like about embossed monograms on towels is that you aren’t trying to dry yourself with a large expanse of stitches or a big wad of stabilizer. Also the back looks almost as nice as the front, particularly if you choose a matching bobbin thread.

This is a light pink towel and I just used white thread inthe bobbin. It’s actually a little pouffier on the back than the front!

They’re great for single needle machines because they’re only one thread color.

And of course you never have to worry about the terry loops marring your embroidery after repeated launderings!


If you’d rather spend time stitching than mousing around, you can get all 52 Embossed Monogram designs in any of the normally supported formats PLUS native Embrilliance BE format for only .77 cents a piece at full price! (They do go on sale from time to time, making them an even better deal! At $19.95 they’re only 38 cents apiece!)

Definitely download the BE version if you have Essentials or other Embrilliance modules along with your machine format.

I didn’t make a BX version of these because they’re really meant to be used as single design. If you have AlphaTricks, feel free to make them into one. Just remember that if you do that, your monograms will be stitch files and not an object file.

Only want *your* initial? Individual monograms are available too.


This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.