Quilt Label Tips
1. Choose a smooth-surface, high-quality, 100%-cotton fabic. Permanent ink pens perform better on all-cotton fabrics than on blends.
2. Prewash the fabric; cotton fabrics usually contain sizing which acts as a barrier to ink penetration.
3. Select a fabric color that will allow the ink to show. Avoid white-on-white prints because the pattern is painted on, rather than dyed into, the fabric. The paint makes writing difficult and the ink doesn't penetrate well.
4. Purchase pens that have permanent ink and are made for fabric. A fine point (.01) 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 .05-diameter pen works well.
5. Test the pen and fabric together. Write on a fabric sample, then follow the manufacturer's directions (if included) for setting the ink. Wait 24 hours for the ink to set, then wash the sample as you would any fine quilt. The extra time it takes to run such a test will pay off in years of durability.
6. Stabilize the fabric and create guidelines with freezer paper. Cut a piece of freezer paper large enough to cover the fabric's writing area. Use a ruler and a medium-point black marker to draw evenly spaced lines on the freezer paper's dull side. Iron the freezer paper waxed side to the fabric's wrong side with a hot, dry iron.
7. Repeat Step 6 several times so you have samples for practice.
8. Practice writing. Write slowly with a lighter touch than you would normally write on paper. This allows time for the ink to flow into the fabric and lets you control the letters.