History of Monogramming

Picture of claire


In today’s world it is always a delight to own something that has been personalised, for example, it is so simple to make what was an ordinary item into a unique object with the use embroidered lettering, commonly known as monogramming.

In its original form monogramming can be traced all the way back to Roman and Greek times when it was used as a royal signature on coins or as a seal to identify a certain ruler.

In particular, embroidered monograms first served as laundry markers, allowing clothing and linens to be washed together without them getting mixed up.

By the 15th century it became more of a higher prestige, as nuns would typically produce monograms on the finest fabrics with gold and silver threads.

In the 16th century the new middle class caught on to how sophisticated the idea of embroidered personalisation looked and the more wealthy households were demanding embellishments for many items including clothing and home furnishing. It was from this time onward that monogramming was seen as the height of fashion and not just a practical label.

It became a necessity that that women in the house, including the small children were to learn this skill so practically every item had a personal stamp.

Depending on your gender the rules when casing was concerned changed. If you were a female the initial of your first name was placed on the left, the initial of your middle name on the right, and the initial of your last name was large in the middle. In the male version all the letters were the same size. When a couple got married a joint monogram was created having the bride’s first initial on the right, groom’s on the left and joint last name initial in the centre.

Today all the traditional rules go out the window and the choices to what style monograms are produced are unlimited. Monograms can be often seen as a piece of artwork and are sometimes incorporated with other embroidery techniques like gold work.

Although this technology has developed and this technique can be produced on a machine, hand embroidered monogramming is still highly popular on garments in particular suits and shirts.


If you would like to learn the art of monogramming, London Embroidery School offer and evening class which shows you how to hand stitch your own initials in a basic font. Book your place now! Our last class has sold out, so book soon to guarantee yourself a place on the 15th June.

More Posts...

Scroll to Top

Sign up to ournewsletter!

    Your Email (required)