Have you ever wondered how those beautiful monogrammed letters on your pillowcase got their unique style and font? Monogrammed items are popular for gifts during big occasions, like graduations or weddings, but the letters you see on that personalized gift actually have a long and storied history. The embroiderer didn’t just choose that font because it looks good!
You can’t learn about the history of monogramming without first considering the history of letters. For a while in the ancient Greek and Roman empires, letters were simply used to convey messages, stories and information, but around the first century B.C., writers and scribes began to use capital letters in some instances, and lowercase letters in others. This was the beginning of stylized font, notes Cresk. In the seventh and eighth centuries, lettering became more ornate and decorative.
The monogram started out as more of a signature than anything else – artists in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries across Europe and other parts of the world used monograms to sign their name to their work rather than a proper signature, for example. Monograms were commonly used on prints, ceramics and even silver.
A monogram in the sense that we know it today – that is to say an interlocked, decorative combination of letters that spell out initials – grew in popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries. But when it comes to embroidery and needlework, a monogram started out as a tool that was used to distinguish laundry.
Monograms were also used on religious garments. After a law that banned the use of monogramming or any other embellishment or decoration on religious garments, it became fashionable to have one’s personal items monogrammed. Children were taught to monogram from an early age, and it became customary for the women of the household to monogram nearly every fabric in the home.
Today, while we may not be monogramming every stitch of fabric that passes through our front door, we can most definitely appreciate an artistically embroidered monogrammed item. Something with a monogram of your initials, whether it’s linens or canvas bags, gives an item something extra and special.
To give the gift of embroidery to someone special in your life, check out our gift ideas page, call us at 330-832-5152 or stop in and see us on Poorman Street in Southwest Navarre, Ohio today.