Learn monogram embroidery at the library

Courtesy of the Gloucester County Library System
The township library’s Maker Studio hosts the free embroidery sessions, where patrons can bring their own towels, bandanas, handkerchiefs or other pieces of fabric to customize.

The Mullica Hill library’s Maker Studio features a free monogram embroidery program every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon.

Guets can make use of the library’s sewing machines to create a variety of designs. Monogram embroidery is an art form where people stitch a series of letters together – a name, initials or a phrase – using a single thread. The embroidery has been traditionally used to mark ownership of belongings but also has other uses.

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Patrons can bring their own towels, bandanas, handkerchiefs or other pieces of fabric to customize them in the Maker Studio. The program is run by the library’s Media Technician of Digital Services, Matthew Costello.

“This is more of an introductory class to machine embroidery,” he explained. “Interested patrons come in with a small handkerchief or scrap of fabric to use for their first project. I teach them how to set the machine up, load (or hoop) their project, thread the machine and tell the computer how to create the embroidery.

“They leave with something nicely finished and experience using the machine for the first time.”

The idea for the program came about when Costello found a set of sewing machines at the library. In a year-long process, he taught himself how to sew and embroider.

“I discovered the three sewing machines we have in a closet 14 months ago,” he recalled. “I asked my boss if I would be allowed to train myself on them. Through YouTube video tutorials, trial and many errors – as well as a chance encounter with Dianna Kelly and Beverly Betz from the American Sewing Guild – I taught myself over the course of a year how to sew and embroider, both by hand and with the different machines.”

Costello has since shared his newfound passion with others who use the library studio as a space to offer tips and techniques to each other.

The next monogram embroidery class will take place next Wednesday, June 5, and requires advance registration on the GCLS website.

“I have had maybe 25 or so patrons come back for additional lessons and continue use of the machine,” Costello noted. “We swap techniques and tricks and come up with some cool projects.

“All who’ve attended the program have absolutely loved it.” 

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