Friday, February 4, 2011

Labeling My Quilts

First off I will admit that labeling my quilts is one of my least favorite activities. I would much rather be designing, or quilting or even attaching a binding then putting a label on a quilt. So I tend to let the finished quilts stack up before I tackle the project, then I will do several at a time.

In this instance I have 4 quilts needing labels. Three that I did for the FFFC group challenges and one quilt that I started years ago and only recently finished the quilting.

My real first step in creating a label is to write the text in Microsoft Word. This way I can check spelling and grammar before I actually create the label. I include any information that I think might be interesting, why I am making the quilt (for a Challenge) the fabric content of the materials used, any special techniques or materials used including threads and embellishments. My name, the date the quilt was finished (month and year), and the city and state where I lived. I also usually indicate the size of the quilt. Last but not least, I name the quilt if I haven't already.

When this has been done and printed out, I then move to the next stage. For this I use a high thread count white fabric that has been backed for stability with freezer paper. The above image shows the process of prepping the fabric for writing. The fabric I use has been washed, dried (don't use a dryer sheet when drying) and ironed.

I cut freezer paper strips about 6 inches wide, ironed onto the fabric, and then cut into a strip. When I place the freezer paper on the fabric for ironing I leave a bit of open fabric at the bottom (note: place freezer paper shinny side down on the fabric, you want the plastic film to come in contact with the fabric not the iron).  When I cut the fabric/freezer paper strips I also leave some extra fabric at the top, not quite a 1/4 inch. Leaving these open areas makes it easier to peel off the freezer paper and the edges will be turned under when the label is sewn down so you don't need the support.

The above image shows the next 3 steps. I cut the freezer paper/fabric strips into sections, usually about 6 inches. For me this is a good size, and I can usually fit my label text into this space. The next image shows some written labels with the pen I use. I use a Micron Pigma pen with a 01 tip. That is simply my preference, though I found the .005 too fine, and with the 02 (larger) it was harder to keep it from bleeding ink on the fabric. Note that I mark a rectangle on the fabric with a ruler and pen before I start writing. The ruled lines are at about 1/2 inch in from the edge. This allows me space to turn under a seam allowance while still showing the lines. When using the pens on fabric you have to keep the pen moving, if you stop with the pen in contact with the fabric ink will bleed and form blotches.

Next step is to heat set the ink and to turn under the edges of the label making it ready to applique to the back of the quilt. I use a hot iron. I leave the freezer paper on when I create and iron the seam allowances, I think it helps to create an edge, but it could be done after the paper has been removed.  

My last set of images show the heat set label being peeled off of the freezer paper. The last image is of a label pinned in place on a quilt ready to be sewn down. Edges are all turned under, the label is placed in the lower left on the back of the quilt. I use either a blind hem stitch or a ladder stitch to attach the label. Occasionally checking to make sure that I don't sew through to the front of the quilt.

I know there are other ways to label a quilt, but this method works for me. That is it for today, comments and questions are always welcome.