Saturday, April 18, 2015

Quilt Label Making

Quilters have asked me how I make my labels. Here's a photo tutorial.

I start by treating a yard of bleached muslin with Bubble Jet Set. This product prepares the fabric to hold ink from a computer printer, similar to preparing fabric to receive dye. By preparing a yard, I always have pre-treated fabric ready for label-making.

I use Illustrator to create the label, but any text and graphic program would work. Try using a word processor and see what you can create.

Next I cut a sheet of freezer paper 8.5 x 11 inches, standard printer paper size, using a rotary cutter I only use on paper. Cutting paper with a rotary cutter usually used on fabric will dull the blade. Then I cut a piece of the treated muslin 8.5 x the width of my label graphic.

With my iron on the cotton setting and working on a firm surface, I fuse the freezer paper to the muslin. It works best if you fuse the paper to the fabric, rather than the fabric to the paper. With the iron on the paper, count slowing to ten, then move to a new spot to fuse. It doesn't matter if you use a steam or dry iron. Creating a tight fuse is critical to successfully printing your label.

My computer printer flips the paper as it pulls it from the paper tray so I place the sheet fabric-side down in the paper tray. You'll need to experiment with paper and printing to discover which way your fabric sheet needs to go into the printer's paper tray.

If the paper-fabric fuse is tight, you'll get a perfect print job. If not, it will jam and create an unusable mess. You usually have to take the back off the printer to remove the jam. Then fuse another sheet of freezer paper to another piece of fabric and try again.

Once printed, peel off the paper backing and set the ink by pressing it with a hot iron. Wash your label in a small basin of warm water, with a splash of vinegar added, to help set the ink. This will help prevent the colors from fading as quickly.

Cut out the label, including a quarter inch seam allowance around your design. Cut the same sized shape from light weight nonfusible interfacing.

Sew the interfacing to the right side of the label using a quarter inch seam. With sharp scissors, cut a small slash and turn the label to the outside. Press.

The label is ready to be hand sewn on the quilt. I use a blind hem stitch, with thread to match the label's fabric.

Huh. I just noticed this label should've read 2015. Even my proof-reader missed it! Oh well, I hope the recipient doesn't mind.

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