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Heraldic Crest

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Elegant and classic yet contemporary, heraldic motifs are a great way to add that old world touch to your apparel and decor in a modern way. Single creatures are elegant and versatile on their own, but with some artfully arranged additions you can make a whole big heraldic crest befitting a lordly estate. Add your family name and you have a statement piece for any room that shows off your family pride. It’s easy to make and can be made into pillows, wall hangings, wedding gifts and more!


To make your crest, all you need is:

  • your chosen fabric
  • your chosen heraldic creature design, along with your top frame and corner designs -- all the designs used here are from the medium size of the pack
  • printed templates for placement (here's how to print them)
  • tape
  • cutaway stabilizer
  • metallic thread (optional, but really adds to the grandeur!)

Another great way to do this motif is tone on tone, for a sculptural, understated look.

Designs Used

Start by laying out all your printed templates. You’ll notice you’ll want a mirror image of the crest top frame piece so you can map it out on both sides. The corner piece tips on its side to become the bottom of our crest.

Templates are a great help here because your layout will vary slightly depending on which motif you decide to use for the middle of your crest. It helps to map it all out!

Hoop up your fabric with your stabilizer and start by stitching your first middle motif. We’ll center everything around this.

Using your templates to check placement before you stitch each design, continue stitching your accents one at a time.

I recommend stitching your left crest accent, then your right. Even if your first design moves a bit from where it was intended, as long as you mirror it on the other side, it will all look intentional. You may also find your designs overlap slightly. That’s OK in some areas, but try to avoid stitching satins over satins, as it often has a “splitting” effect on the threads of your first design.

Finally, you can add that corner piece to the bottom, centering it right in the middle below your heraldic figure.

For that extra personalization, try using some of the pre-made fonts on your machine (or try one of Urban Threads' alphabets!) to add the family name above the crest.

Now you can turn that crest into anything you like, from a wall hanging to a classy living room pillow. Let your family name and crest sit loud and proud in an elegant stitched motif.

These designs make just gorgeous family heirloom or wedding presents. Many family crests have multiple animals in the crest, which is easily made by mirroring two. Use the corners to frame your piece in a simple but coordinating fashion.

Tone-on-tone in white is the perfect understated touch for a wedding gift, and sure to be cherished by the newlyweds for many years to come.

Crest-like motifs also look killer on large apparel areas like the back of jackets. Large bold swirls are both feminine and bold, and the metallic adds that touch of class to a military green motif.

Edgy and elegant all in one.

Another look popular in high fashion today is motifs like these stitched on the back of jeans for both girls and guys. Keep it gold on black to be on trend, or make it whatever you please. Jean pockets are easily removed and stitched on -- just check out this tutorial.

Sleeves are another great place to put these designs, since shoulder areas have less drape and hold up to larger stitched designs, as long as your fabric is sturdy enough.

Check out this tutorial to see how easy it is to open up sleeves and add your own stylish designs to your favorite tops.

Little ones too look cute and classy with these fantastical designs. Let your little prince be a great white knight and slayer of dragons on his favorite threads. Little gold wings look especially cute on the back of little girls' tops, for the renaissance faire or anytime!

These motifs work equally well for grown guys too. Tone-on-tone is an especially good look for menswear, as guys usually don’t want their motifs to scream too loudly on their threads. These designs don’t have to be stitched in metallic thread. The dimensional stitching ensures they still look elegantly baroque in any color.

In fact, these motifs work beautifully for everyone, looking both classy and tough, elegant and rugged all at the same time. Try out a rustic copper on a canvas messenger back for a unisex look that anyone can rock.

There’s no end to how you can use them, or what kinds of elegant looks they can create. Pick your favorite motif and let it shine, on a tee, a bag or in your own home!

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