Quilt Labels

Friday, December 02, 2011 5 Comments »
A few of you commented on my last post, asking what I used to make my quilt labels.  The label on Owen's flannel quilt was printed on EQ Printables printable fabric.  Packs of the printable fabric are available at many quilt stores, and on-line from the Electric Quilt website or from Amazon.  I'm sure there are scads of other on-line vendors as well.    It is the best printable fabric that I have found in a pre-packaged format, but it has limitations: 
  • It can be expensive because the tendency is to print one label per sheet.  You can actually fit several labels on a sheet, but that takes some planning -- something that my ADQD brain has a hard time with. 
  • It is not as soft as it looks.  In order to hold the ink well, it's a very tight weave  and somewhat stiff -- although not as stiff as other printable fabrics I've used.  I used to hand-sew the labels on, but the fabric is very though to get a needle through, so now I am machine stitching. 
I use MS Word to create the label, adding graphics and color just as I would for something I'd be printing on paper.  I do several test print-outs on paper just to make sure everything is to my liking; once I am satisfied, I print on the fabric sheet.  The printable sheets are the same size as the paper you would normaly use in your printer, and feed through the same way; they have a plastic backing that allows them to keep their shape during the printing process. 

The ink on your label needs to dry for 15 minutes after it's been printed.  I usually let mine dry overnight.  Then the fabric sheet gets soaked in cool water for 10-15 minutes and allowed to dry.  Once that's done, I iron the fabric, cut the label out with a rotary cutter, turn the edges under and iron with spray starch or Best Press.  All you need to do after that is position it on the back of the quilt and sew it down. 

I think I will try something different for my next label.  I am told that you can iron freezer paper onto the back of good quality white fabric and run it through your printer in the same manner as the EQ Printables.  My white background fabric of choice, and something that I usually buy in quantity, is Southern Belle Premium Muslin, made by Springs Creative.  It's used a lot by doll crafters for doll faces and is recommended for quality photo printing on fabric.  I get white, but I believe it is available in natural and cream.  The reason that it works so well is that it's not dyed and it is 200 thread count (higher thread count means that the ink won't bleed into the fibers).  I first fell in love with Southern Belle when I started making quilts for the grandkids and wanted a white background and backing fabric that had a soft hand and crinkled up to a nice, soft antique quilt look.  I like it ever so much better than Kona.  You can get it by the yard from Joann's and from Nancy's Notions, or here.  I'm almost out, and may have to see if I can find a bolt at a good price. 

Here are a few of the labels that I've made this way.  Suzie Q's Garden label was hand-colored and printed with fabric pencil & a micron pen. 


Michele said...

Thank you so much for this informative post Pat! I am a believer in putting labels on quilts. They are such an important way to pass on information about a quilt's origin. I have many older family quilts that I wish I knew more about, so I try to label the quilts I make for future generations........and so I remember when I made them too LOL!! I will definitely try some of your tips :-)

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Yep, I'm a Southern Belle gal; You can definitely make your own printable sheets by pressing a piece, 8.5" X 11", to freezer paper, run it thourgh your printer and then heat set the ink with your iron. I've been doing it for years and they do hold up. His quilt is adorable, his burpsters are amazing... but, OH... that precious little face!

OT Quilter said...

I have been using the freezer paper/fabric trick for years. Now I'm going to track down some of that Southern Belle muslin! Thanks for the tip. (And he's gorgeous, just like all your grands!)

Denise in PA said...

Good info Pat! I've done the fabric on freezer paper trick, but most I use preprinted label panels and hand write. I want to get more creative with my labels though!

Susan said...

Pat, thanks so much for the information about your wonderful labels. One of my goals for 2012 is to improve my labels. Like Denise, I handwrite mine and they certainly don't have the pizazz that yours do!