Embroidery on Bulky Items

This step-by-step guide shows how to take the difficulty out of personalizing a quilted bag.

By Talia LeBlanc, Contributing Writer

October 7, 2021

Embroidery is a creative, fun and expressive way to personalize bulky items, including bags and luggage, to create a one-of-a-kind, timeless piece.

Make a statement and show off your favorite large embroidery designs or monograms on quilted bags. Monogramming is the oldest ­— and probably the most popular — way to personalize bags and luggage. Names, initials and monograms have a high-end effect on almost any product.

Monogramming consists of two or three initials, representing a person’s first and middle names, and surname. Fonts play a large role in the monogram’s style and design, and they can range from simple and clean to bold block letters or swirly scripts with an intricate design.

Step outside the box when embroidering and experiment with specialty threads. For example, you can make a design pop with a matte-finish embroidery thread; the possibilities truly are endless.

Embroidery on bulky items like quilted bags and luggage doesn’t have to be difficult or bothersome if you have the correct embroidery supplies to help you along the way. The following is a step-by-step guide to help you when stitching on heavy fabrics.

Step 1:
It’s important to choose a simple design when monogramming. A single color works well on a patterned quilted bag, which is being used in this example, to add a personalized touch. This design creates clean edges on the satin stitches or the edge walk (the two outer running stitches), along with the zigzag stitch in the middle. This helps to flatten the quilted material, creating the clean look.

Step 2:
Finding the correct stabilizer is important. With a heavy, quilted fabric, choose a medium tearaway so it can be completely removed.

Step 3:
Choose a thread type. Many different thread colors, types and thicknesses are available on the market to fit your preference. This is where you truly get to be creative and can experiment with specialty threads. For this bag, we chose a navy Frosted Matt embroidery thread that gives the design a high-definition appearance, adding dimension and clarity.

Finding the right colors to coordinate with the bag also is important. With this bag featuring a floral design, we tested two colors: a white and a dark navy Frosted Matt thread — colors that are part of the fabric.

Step 4:
Test your designs. This is a crucial step in the embroidery process. For this bag, both white and navy embroidery thread were tested on felt fabric that was similar to the bag’s color.

Step 5:
Magnetic hoops make hooping a “snap” with heavier and quilted fabrics. They typically have clamps that fold down and hold the stabilizer in place. Once you have placed your item to be embroidered on top of the stabilizer, there are arms that hold the top part of the hoop. You simply lower the top part of the hoop and the strong magnets snap together. Then, you can bring the item to the machine to embroider.

Step 6:
Once the embroidery is done, simply, tear away all backing. Tweezers may be needed to get into those small spaces.

Step 7:
You’ve created a beautiful, personalized quilted tote bag. With these simple tips and tricks, embroidering on heavy items doesn’t have to be hard or tedious. Sit back and relax as your machine is finishing a one-of-a-kind, embroidered item that’s sure to satisfy your customers and add to your shop’s bottom line.

Talia LeBlanc is a product marketer at Madeira USA, specializing in embroidery thread and bobbins. Skilled in embroidery and communications, she manages the marketing of Madeira thread from the company headquarters in New Hampshire. For more information or to comment on this article, email Talia at tleblanc@madeirausa.com.