Preserve the heritage of your quilts for future generations while expressing your creativity with labels.
Here are some ideas for what to include on the label:
- who made the quilt
- the quilt pattern name
- date and place where it was completed.
- whom the quilt was given to
- the occasion, such as a graduation, retirement, or anniversary, that prompted the making of the quilt
- care instructions
Here are some ideas for making a quilt label your own:
- Draw or embroider the words and add embellishments, such as vines, flowers, or French knots.
- Incorporate one or more extra blocks from the quilt top into the label.
- For a framed finish, bind the label edges like a mini quilt. Sew leftover binding from the quilt around the label edges, then turn the binding over the edge to the wrong side. Hand-stitch the bound label to the backing, taking care not to stitch through to the top.
- To ensure a label can’t easily be removed from the quilt, stitch the label to the backing fabric and quilt through it.
2. Select fabric in a color that allows the ink to show. Avoid white-on-white prints because the pattern is painted on the fabric rather than dyed into it.
3. Prewash your fabric (cotton fabrics usually contain sizing, which acts as a barrier to ink penetration).
4. Purchase pens that have permanent ink and are made for use on fabric. A fine point (size 01, .25 millimeter) writes delicately and is less likely to bleed as it writes. Lines can be made thicker by going over them more than once. For larger letters or numbers, a size 05 (.45 millimeter) pen works well.
5. Test the pen on a fabric sample, then follow the manufacturer’s directions for setting the ink. Wait 24 hours for the ink to set, then wash the sample as you would the quilt. The extra time it takes to run such a test will pay off in years of durability.
6. If you don’t care to use your handwriting or just want to ensure nicely spaced letters, type your words using computer software. Adjust the size and spacing to fit your label size; space out letters a little more than normal to allow for the width of the marker tip. Print out the words onto paper and trace.
7. Practice on fabric scraps first. Write slowly and with a lighter touch than you would normally use when writing on paper. This allows time for the ink to flow into the fabric and lets you control the letters.
8. Stabilize the fabric and create guidelines for words with freezer paper. To do so, cut a piece of freezer paper bigger than the label. Use a ruler and a thick black marker to draw evenly spaced lines on the freezer paper’s dull side. Press the shiny side of the freezer paper to the fabric’s wrong side with a hot dry iron. After marking on the fabric, peel off the freezer-paper guide.
Printing By Computer
1. To print a quilt label directly onto fabric using your computer, look for printer fabric sheets, which feed into an ink jet printer, in fabric and quilt stores. Or prepare your own fabric using a fixative, such as Bubble Jet Set 2000, to ensure the printing will be permanent.
2. First print the label on paper to ensure the design and words appear as desired and there is room for seam allowances. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for printing, peeling off the paper backing, and setting, then trim the label to the desired size.
3. To create a custom label design, use word processing, desktop publishing, scrapbooking, or label-making software to combine text, photos, and clip art.
Tracing By Hand
1. Make sure the design you want to trace is dark enough to show through your fabric, or locate a light box or sunny window on which to work.
2. Lay a piece of fabric over a paper printout of the label. With masking tape, anchor the fabric and the paper to your writing surface so they won’t shift.
3. Using a fabric marking pen, trace slowly, drawing a steady line. Darken the lines by drawing over them again, or add color with permanent-ink pens or brushes.
Every month, we highlight a trend in quilting and show you how you can add this hip style to your projects!
Watercolor-look and painterly fabrics are emerging in many different fabric lines. Providing anything from a bold pop of color to a calming ombre brushstroke, these fabrics look great as blenders or the main focus!
Watercolor-look fabric for your shopping list (in order going clockwise):
- Artisan Spirit Falling Leaves by Elaine Quehl for Northcott Fabrics
- Sunshine Serenade by Iza Pearl Design for Windham Fabrics
- Sunday Morning from Dear Stella
- Painterly from Michael Miller Fabrics
- Blossoms from Andover Fabrics
- Interlace from Frond Design Studios
Once a month, we highlight blogs our staff is reading right now!
Don’t Call Me Betsy
Designer Elizabeth Dackson is the paper-piecing queen. Her use of color (especially solids) is so fun. And besides that, she’s a Craftsy teacher, so you know her tutorials are super helpful! Even if you’re not a person who likes paper-piecing, Elizabeth’s blog is so fun to look at. Her quilts range from bold and stunning to tiny and cute. And she does a great job mocking up her blocks in different colorways, so you can visualize the project with your own fabric!
Fresh Lemons Quilts
Designer Faith Jones makes stunning modern quilts that use both traditional patchwork and paper piecing. From common blocks to complicated designs, Faith’s quilts are not only eye-candy, but totally make us want to start digging through our fabric piles. Plus, she gets scrappy with fun ways to use a variety of prints in her projects.
Sew Mama Sew
This is one-stop-shopping for sewing projects. Blog owner Kristin Link (and her talented contributors) offer free patterns for handmade quilts, gifts, clothes, and more. With new tutorials popping up daily, you’ll never run out of sewing ideas! Whether you’re looking for something specific or just want inspiration, this blog is perfect place to jumpstart your creativity!
Trying to ignore color and just study contrast is not an easy task. When looking at fabrics in a store or from your fabric stash, try these techniques to determine the contrast or value. Select possible fabrics for a project, then perform one or more of these tests to see if you’ve included enough contrast in the group. If you need more contrast, substitute lighter or darker fabrics until you have a variety of values.
1. Try squinting. Closing your eyes slightly limits the amount of light they receive and reduces your perception of color, so contrast becomes more evident.
2. Use a reducing tool. Purchase a reducing lens or a door peephole. These tools reduce an image, making color less obvious and contrast more apparent when the fabrics are viewed. Taking pictures with your phone or looking through a camera also works in this regard.
3. Look through red cellophane. This technique conceals the color and allows you to see the continuum of values from light to dark.
4. Make black and white photocopies. Photocopying completely masks color and can give an indication of contrast between and within pieces of fabric.
In the February 2015 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, designer Jean Wells teaches us how to expand our piecing horizons with a new technique — freehand curved piecing — and shows us how to play with color. The editors were so excited to learn this technique and create their own projects. See what they made below and share your own creations inspired by Piece & Play using the hashtag #apqlearnalong on Facebook and Instagam. And follow along with new projects and inspiration at www.allpeoplequilt.com/learnalong.
CORRECTION: If you order the Palette Box fabrics from The Stitchin’ Post as shown in the February issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, you will receive 1/4 yard (fat quarters) of the solids instead of 1/2 yard solids and 1 yard of the theme print for $65 plus shipping.
Elizabeth Tisinger Beese, editor of American Patchwork & Quilting
Elizabeth says: “I had so much fun making this pillow! I’m not an art quilter at all, so I was a little intimidated by the improvisational nature of this technique, but I ended up getting addicted to it! (I was only going to make a pincushion but got so wrapped up in this that I made the entire Four-Patch Pillow!). I chose my Palette Box by starting with some multicolor batiks that had an interesting mix of brown and pink combined with bits of coral, orange, and green.”
Jill Mead, editor
Jill says: “I find color and fabric inspiration in collections. I love the colors in this collection of Aurifil embroidery floss from a stitch kit from Moda Fabrics. It makes me think of spring. Using the threads as a visual guide, I select matching solids from my stash. Then I fill out the basic collection with lighter and darker, more saturated/less saturated solids.
Lindsay Fullington, assistant multimedia editor
Lindsay says: “I started with a fat quarter bundle of the Hadley collection from Dear Stella. I chose one colorful print and pulled in tone-on-tone teal, purple, orange, pink, and brown to pull out colors from the main print. The darker teals play nice with the lighter pinks. The brown tones the bright prints down and offers an unexpected color to the palette. I loved playing with color placement and the freeform cutting technique. It felt so creative to cut without a ruler and use colors outside my normal palette! It was a very forgiving project and I felt like I could experiment without fear of failure!”