Making Your Own Quilt Labels
Use 100% cotton, usually tone on tone or otherwise some lighter color. Though darker fabrics and lighter print colors can used if desired. Personally, I prefer the lighter background fabric and either black, brown, or colored ink.
Wash the fabric without softener, using only plain unscented no bleach detergent – Arm & Hammer. You can even dry the material in the clothes dryer. Again, no softener or dryer sheets!
While this is going on cut freezer paper to the size you want to use. Generally I cut a 8 ½ x 11 ½+ sheet. Yes, that is a bit over 11 ½ long so the leading edge can be trimmed [I’ll explain further on.]
Iron the fabric without any additives such as starch, sizing, Best Press, or other such product. This is vital to the integrity of the finished label. The printer ink will not ‘take’ if there are additives used anywhere in the preparation of the fabric!
Cut the washed, dried, and ironed fabric to the desired size. Then iron the label fabric onto freezer paper with the wrong side of the fabric onto the shiny side of the freezer paper. After ironing these two together, let them cool, then trim what will become the leading edge of the fabric/paper with a rotary cutter so it is straight and @ a 90 degree angle to the sides. This eliminates any loose threads going into the printer. Now iron this edge again to make sure it is secure.
Now compose the label on the computer. I use the WORD program on my computer but could just as easily use one of the greeting card programs instead. The font style, font size, and font color can be adjusted to my liking here. If there is to be a scanned design, as from the fabric or a picture, paste the scanned item into the word document being created. Remember to have blank space for seam allowances for sewing the label onto the quilt later. Print out the label on regular printer paper to check for errors or see if anything should be changed. If you are going to have a smaller label you might want to pencil in the area you will use to make sure the printing goes onto the correct placement on the paper, before printing on the fabric/freezer paper combination. Check for those seam allowances. I like more than ¼”seam allowances for my labels. Remember you can choose the orientation of the printing: portrait or landscape.
Before printing the actual label go to the printer preferences on your computer. DO NOT use the Best quality for this project as it allows too much ink to be used and can smear the end result. I usually use the next level below the best quality.
Insert the fabric/freezer paper so that the printing will be on the fabric side. The “leading edge” is the edge of this combination to go through the printer first.
Iron the finished product to set the ink. Keep the freezer paper on the label til ready for use. When ready to use the label remove the freezer paper and proceed as you normally would.
Remember you can make sayings, poems, or other things on your label. The label can become a design element and be sewed into your backing in any manner you desire. You can frame it with small blocks mimicking the front or frame it with Broderie Persed fabric [that is a form of appliqué that follows the design of the fabric.] See below.
I have literally made thousands of labels as I make them for one of my quilting groups for our charity quilts. When I make a lot I request someone else do the washing and ironing of the material. Then a close friend and I cut out the material and the freezer paper at our homes and get together to do the ironing, trimming, and printing. We also iron after the printing to set the ink.
I know my picture is less than desired but hope it helps.
Some printer stores will let you use their printers. Check first before you go as some won’t allow this.
Of course you can always buy the sheets of prepared fabric for printers. Just costs more ... does take less time ... and you can't choose your own fabric with store bought printer prepared sheets.
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