How do you make a 3 letter monogram with a larger middle letter?

Monograming with built-in fonts

If you use the fonts and letter designs built-in to the Brother SE400, you have to stitch each letter separately because you can’t change the size of the individual letters in a “word.” You can set the size of the pre-programmed letters to small, medium or large on the Layout screen. And then you can resize to a certain extent with the size buttons. But you can’t size the letters individually. So if you want a monogram with a large center letter, you have to stitch the letters one at a time, setting the size for each.

If the complete monogram is less than 3.9″×3.9″, it’s easy to adjust the placement because you just move the layout using the positioning keys in the Layout – Adjust screen.You don’t have to re-hoop and the machine stitches a little stitch to help you line up the letters. See the Operation Manual on page 146 for instructions.

Going beyond the built-in styles

If you don’t like the built-in letters or want them smaller or larger, or want a fancy monogram, for example on a towel with letters in a diamond or circle, you’ll need a monogram alphabet design set. It will include three sets of letters: the large center, left and right that you can put together into three letter monograms. Some of them also have designs for borders or flourishes.

Each letter comes in a separate design (PES) file and the SE400 can only stitch one file at a time. See my tutorial on transferring design files from your computer to the SE400.

There are two options. You can stitch each letter separately and learn how to line them up. This isn’t so difficult if all three letters fit inside the 3.9″×3.9″ embroidery area.

If you want a really big monogram that won’t fit, your only option is to split the design, rehoop and stitch each section separately. But it’s not easy to get the sections lined up and spaced correctly.

The quickest and easiest way is to combine the letters using embroidery editing software, save the design as a PES file, transfer it to the SE400 and stitch it all at once. This will give you a nice design and you won’t have to fuss with spacing and lining up the letters. This only works if the whole monogram is less than 3.9″x3.9″.

Embroidery Editing Software

I can’t recommend particular software because there are so many choices that I can’t keep up with and because so much depends on individual needs and preferences.

Many people like Embird. Some people say Embird is very powerful, but has a steep learning curve. Others prefer different software as less expensive and easier to use. You need the Basic Embird for combining letters from alphabet designs. There are also add-on modules for lettering. One lets you take ordinary fonts from your computer and convert them to embroidery designs. You can also change the shape for a circular or diamond monogram, etc.

People also like SewWhat Pro.

Both Embird and SewWhatPro have free thirty-day trials so you can try it before you buy.

If all you want to do is combine letters, have a look at Combine Design. I haven’t tried it, but it was recommended by one of the ladies on SewForum. At $10 it’s much more affordable than the others (but also much less powerful), and it’s nice and simple to get started. If you go to the site, there is a link to a Youtube video showing how it works.

You can use special monograming software. I don’t know anything about them because I prefer general purpose software that I can use for other things.

I use Embrilliance because it runs on my Mac as well as on a PC. Embrilliance Essentials has 12 built in Alphabets that you can use to make text, names or monograms and you can resize the lettering and the program adjusts the stitch count as you resize. It also offers some different style options for making monograms from the built-in fonts. It’s also very easy to learn and use.


Emblibrary has some of my favorite and most helpful tutorials online. Here are two on monograming and while you’re there, check out the others on stabilizers, etc.

Standard Monogram Rules & Placement for various types of items:

Monogramming Techniques (video and written instructions with photos):

Monogram Letter Design Sets

Basically monograms are either 1, 2 or 3 letters which are combined or merged together. Many designers offer monogram letter design sets online. Since the maximum embroidery area of the SE400 is 3.9″x3.9″, I would suggest you look for alphabets that have several sizes such as 0.5 to 3 inch.

Depending on the width of the letters, for a three letter monogram, you maybe able to use a 1 and a half inch or 2 inch letter as the middle letter and .75 inch letters or 1 inch for the left and right letters so that all the letters fit in your 4×4 hoop.

Having several sizes of letters for one alphabet gives you lots of options to play with when making monograms.

Here are just a few examples of alphabet designs:

Emblibrary has a variety of styles and designs:;alphabets&showtop=true

Digi Stitches:

Here is the Natalie Monogram Framed Font:

Circular monograms: and

Bold and thick letters:

Large letters: This set comes in sizes from 1″ to 6″. The largest ones are too large but there is a 3″ one. The 4″ one may or may not work since the actual maximum size for the SE400 is 3.9″. You could scale it a little with embroidery software. If you don’t have software, try the free Wilcom TrueSizer.

8 Claws And A Paw has other large ones too: and many other styles too –

Jolson’s Designs:

Vine style Interlocking Font:

Hang To Dry has appliqué letters as well as alphabets:

Purchasing digitzed Alphabets allows you to choose the style of letters and size of letters you would use the most.

Our Readers Respond ...

  1. Delores Jones says

    I am totally new at sewing, how do I complete a word that want fit into my hoop and keep the monogram straight when I re hoop it?

  2. Cindy says

    I am new to embroidering and I have the SE400. I am trying to embroider words to attach to quilts I have made and cannot figure out an easy way to do this. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  3. wendy luciano says

    I want to put a letter inside the round circle frame. I made the frame as large as it would go and embroidered it. Without re-hooping, I chose the letter, made it as large as it could go (again wtih the layout adjust feature) and pressed start. The letter did fit inside the round frame, but wasn’t centered. Why not? What do i need to do instead?

    • TNShaw says

      I had the same issue. They may have been italicized which effected it centring properly. I have since then started using SewWhatPro. Much easier, although I haven’t figured out how to put a satin boarder around my letter. The SE400 has several boarders that I like so I’ve stitched my monogram using the software then stitched the preprogrammed boarder. I did a test stitch first and it centered perfectly.

      I just got my machine in January and have so much to learn. But I’m loving it! I purchased a large hoop to do larger projects. Important note: the SE400 can only stitch 4×4 and smaller. But with the larger hoop, you don’t have to rehoop as often. Example I did a Minnie sillhoutte with a bow and my granddaugther’s name below. I had to do three separate files, one for the head, one for the bow, & one for the name. But I didn’t have to rehoop so it lined up perfectly.

  4. diana says

    just got my se400 and happened across your website. Just had to send a quick note to let you know I just love the tips they are helping a lot. I am very new to embroidering. Is there a need to always match the bobbin thread with the top thread?

    • Michelle says

      I hardly ever match my top thread to my bobbin thread when doing embroidery or applique. Embroidery thread can be expensive, so i bought a box of pre-wound white bobbins. It may sound funny…..but it is thread only….and you put it in the bobbin hole. It will work fine most of the time, but it will stop working about 2/3 out, so there is some wastage but they’re cheap. I hate winding bobbins, and these you just pop in. (I also use these pre-wound bobbins on a lot of sewing such as quilting where the thread can be white). You can buy pre-wound in other colors such as black I think.
      Also….I bought all my stuff in bulk when I purchased my machine….large quantities of the bobbins, needles of various sizes, and a set of 150 different embroidery colors, three different kinds of stabilizer sheets….and doing this has been awesome! I have only had to go purchase embroidery thread at a store once, and none of the other supplies…and I have made many projects for friends and family. I got it all on ebay, and just watched the auctions or buy it now, and looked for larger quantities. I am cheap, and I hate having to go shopping every time I’m in the mood to create, so I went this way.

  5. Jessy says

    I’m just starting to learn the basics of sewing and really want to become skilled in monogramming. I have a se400 and I’m confused about a couple things. If I can buy the monogram fonts/files, what is the need for buying the high-priced software? Can I not just purchase the files I want to use, upload them to my machine, and that be that? Please give me some insight on why I may need additional software and if my thoughts are correct. I love your site and appreciate all the good info you have on here!

    • Michelle says

      You have to have a program to “read” the file you download. I personally like embroidery magic 2, but have head there are other good ones. I bought that program from ebay cheap). I have heard embird is good, and used to be free or cheap, but I couldn’t find a good price. I also found a program called “sophie sew” which is very basic and free for now (in the works for upgrade and then will have a price). There are good, cheap programs out there, but yes you need a program.

  6. Eileen McDade says

    i own the Brother 770. I’m elderly and am proud that I learned to use the machine and have done hundreds of projects in the last year. You tube has been a wonderful help. I was wondering if there is a way to backtrack on a design. If the top or bobbin thread cause a problem the machine skips stitches before it notes the problem. I’ve been able to correct the design by sewing a scrap piece up to the point of error than putting the original project back on the machine. There must be an easier way. Do you have any suggestions on what books would have good machine use instructions. I feel it is difficult to keep referring to the online help.

    • Brenda says

      I am thinking by now you probably have the answer to your question but if not, yes there is a much easier way. I own a brother se400 but I believe your machine probably has the same features that I have on mine. If you still need some assistance, feel free to email me. Someday I hope to own the 770 for the larger hoop size. It is a learning curve for all of us!

      • Sandra says

        I have the SE400 also and would like to do at least 3.9 size monogram. Can I do this by simply downloading one of these programs?

  7. Cathryn says

    I am new to this and searching for a machine… I came across the brother se400, but I have a question. Can it do shirt pockets, so that the pocket is still functional? I have searched high and low for this answer and have not found anything that actually refers to this issue…

    Thanks for any additional information you can provide…

  8. beverly petrovich says

    I have figured out how to transfer my design from my pc to the se400 but when I go to save it, it comes up and says peacock blue. I want to save the initals without any specific color. When I have the letters showing and I click on the save icon I get a beep , I can highlight the letter and I still get a beep, but when I push the retrieve button at the top , it says peacock blue, I do not want that color, I just want to save the letters. I am going to use a hot pink. How can I save the letters?

  9. tamara says

    Thank you finally a great tutorial on my machine only thing is that my machine is a se 425 is there a big difference in 400 and 425 ? Thank you such a great help

  10. jessie says

    I want to use a pattern that is already on my machine but how do I make it larger? I want it to be 3 inches and it only goes to one inch. I so my question is can we make a pattern larger??

    • Kamala says

      Hi Jessie, No, there is a limit to how big you can make the built in patterns. Enlarging a pattern 300% and having it stitch nicely is more complicated than the SE400 can do. Basically, you can’t just make the threads larger, you have to add new stitches, in the right color, and the right place. You need to find a similar pattern that is the right size and transfer it into the SE400.

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