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Thread: Best fabric for people to write on? What pens to use?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Kryssa's Avatar
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    I'm doing a guest quilt for my wedding and people will be writing on pre-cut squares of fabric to be pieced together after the wedding.

    Does anyone have a specific brand or type of fabric they'd recommend?

    Also, what type of pens?

    I've never done a quilt like this before!

    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    Pigma pens I think is what they are called . Textile pens .

    Also will the squares be on a table ? You might want to have a way to mark off the signing area, so when you sew it together you don't lose part of the signature, message !

    Congrats on the upcoming wedding :lol:

  3. #3
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Any cotton fabric will work, except for white on white, it is embossed and doesn't take the ink as well. Ironing freezer paper on the back, makes it easier to hold the paper in place while signing it. The shiny side will stick nicely and it peels right off, leaving no residue :wink:
    If you put blue painters tape around the edges, it keeps people from signing out past the seam allowance :D:D:D

  4. #4
    Super Member Gramof6's Avatar
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    It might be a good idea to iron on freezer paper to the back leaving a 1/2 inch or so around the edge. That way people will not mark clear into the edge & you lose that when you go to put them together. It will be awonderful quilt!

  5. #5
    Junior Member barbgooch's Avatar
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    I've done quite a few wedding quilts with guests signing blocks at the reception. Any light colored fabric that will show up a black or blue ink will do fine. I've even used a light cloud fabric. As mentioned before, no white on white fabric.

    I use fine point sharpie markers. For an extra fine point, a gel point pen works great. In addition to ironing the blocks to freezer paper, I sew around the edges at least a quarter inch or 3/8" from the edge. I use an inexpensive thread and widen the stitches to a 2.8 or a 3.0 for ease of removal. This helps with keeping the guests from signing to close to the edge.

    If possible, I try to tell each guest about staying inside the stitched lines, or have a sign posted on the table where the blocks will be.

  6. #6
    Senior Member AtHomeSewing's Avatar
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    Fabrico pens ARE permanent. Wash it, bleach it, whatever Fabric Pens will stay. They are made for this purpose, and come in LOTS of colors.

    Lots of pens which are labeled permanent, are not. I learned that at a fabric inking class. The instructor had samples of many supposedly "permanent" pens and they don't hold up washing, but Fabrico pens do. They are made by Tsukineko.

    See here:
    http://www.tsukineko.com/store/cart....duct_list&c=49

  7. #7
    Junior Member Kryssa's Avatar
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    Thanks all... I have never used freezer paper before. I will look into it!

    Also, is there a certain quality cotton you like that would come in a solid light yellow?

    Thanks!!!

  8. #8
    Super Member Carol W's Avatar
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    What a great momento from your wedding. I'll look forward to the picture of your quilt.

    Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.

  9. #9
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    A nice grade of muslim will work great. Also, as far as the pens go. I've used:

    Pigma - not crazy about the tip on them, find the fine tip on them makes it hard to write with.

    Y&C FabricMate - Works well, just have to make sure the tips are solid and if written with too hard they'll bleed (probably wouldn't work well with a group).

    ZIG Memory System- Found these in the papercraft area. Absolutely wonderful, ballpoint tip makes for very easy writing (no drag as with the Pigma). They're Photo Safe, Acid-free, Archival quality, lightfast, waterproof, fade-proof and non-bleeding. Will end up purchasing these in more colors.

  10. #10
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    "Also, is there a certain quality cotton you like that would come in a solid light yellow? "

    I like the quality in the solids of KAUFMAN KONA - watch there are other Konas out there. I get mine at Hobby Lobby I think it was on sale last time for $4.29/yard. I've used the Red, Snow and White. Their Yellow is beautiful...

  11. #11
    Junior Member QuiltingQueen's Avatar
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    I have done a couple signature quilts. One for a retirement and one for our son & daughter-in-law's wedding.

    I ironed freezer paper on to the back of my fabric and then cut fabric into the size I needed.

    Then I made picture frames out of cardboard that allowed for the seam allowance. People slipped the fabric underneath and signed in the box. It worked quite well and most people managed to stay inside the seam allowance.

    I also used the pigma ink pens. Some are better then others the jel ink ones seem to be the best. Scrapbooking stores carry alot of this type pen.

    Good luck and make sure you post pitures.

  12. #12
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharon b
    Pigma pens I think is what they are called . Textile pens .

    Also will the squares be on a table ? You might want to have a way to mark off the signing area, so when you sew it together you don't lose part of the signature, message !

    Congrats on the upcoming wedding :lol:
    great ideas, congrats

  13. #13
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    Have done several signature quilts and used Southern Belle with great success. In the process of doing this type of quilt block - I have also discovered that if you place the signature square on a piece of fine grit sandpaper it creates a stable base which makes it easier for the person to sign the block. Good luck with the project.
    Sue

  14. #14
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    I like the Kona fabric and the Pigma pen #8. I have used the #8 for signatue quilts since a quilt shop owner/designer/author suggested it to me.

    Freezer paper works to stablize the fabric, but I have put the blocks out with out it. When you show up to a baby shower and the grandmother to be says Oh I meant to call you.....I had just ironed white muslin, high quality and it was on the ironing board; I called DH and he brought me fabric, pens, ruler, and mat...LOL

  15. #15
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I am not that crazy about Pigma Pens. I like ZigWriters a lot better. They have a fine tip and a fat tip on the same marker. They're sold in the scrapbook department. They're archival and don't bleed. Anything that's archival for cotton rag paper is archival for cotton fabric.

  16. #16
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    I've made several signature quilts and always use an extra-fine point Sharpie. Tried a pigma pen at first because that's what was recommended but I had no luck with it. The fine grade sandpaper sounds like an excellent idea for keeping the fabric from slipping. Try one or two yourself before your big day to see what feels comfortable to you. And happy wedding!

  17. #17
    Super Member pollyjvan9's Avatar
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    I use Pigma Pens. They are not supposed to fade when you wash the quilt, but I think they do a little. I like to use a good quality muslin, heavily starched, and unfortunately, expect some people to write over the seam line, even if you mark it with pencil or stitching. Just can't be helped because if they don't quilt or sew people don't think about why they can't write all the way across. Also I would mark the seam line about 1/2" if possible.

  18. #18
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Pigma pens and don't forget to heat set the signatures.

  19. #19
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    If you do use the sharpies stay away from the red ones , even though they are suppose to be permanent they do run when washed, trust me on this

  20. #20
    Junior Member Kryssa's Avatar
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    Last night I ordered 6 yards of Kaufman Kona in the Maize color so I will keep you guys updated on how it goes. My plan is to cut it in the squares and make cardboard "frames" to keep people from writing in the seam allowance and provide fine grade sand paper and super fine sharpies. I'll post instructions on what to do at the table.

  21. #21
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    I started my search today to find what pens are best for permanently marking a friendship quilt. Found some great suggestions, thank you!

    However in my reading about pens, I discovered I should not use white fabric! I have already made pinwheels in a variety of colors, with white as the alternate color in the pinwheel. The alternating blocks are are also of the same white fabric. These are the blocks to be written on. The white is a white fabric is white-on-white with small dragonflies. I bought everything at my local quilt shop, so nice quality fabric.

    What will my problems be with the white fabric? Should I abandon the idea of this quilt as a friendship quilt?

    Thanks for your help.

  22. #22
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    I didn't ask the question but have the same project idea for my daughter. I was having issues with writing on the fabric neatly and your response will help me with solve that issue! Thank you so much.

  23. #23
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    my favorite pens are the black fabric markers you find in Michaels or JoAnns in the TSHIRT paints aisle. Sharpie markers wash out...I have had trouble with others bleeding. try out a few with the fabric you are using and wash the block. See what works for YOU
    Beth in AZ
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  24. #24
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    A very fine grade of sandpaper placed under the block will 'grip' the fabric so it doesn't stretch while being written on. You could make a paper frame to place over the blocks, which only allows writing to happen 1/2" or so from the edges. That way you don't have to mark or tape each piece. These ideas will work best if someone is sitting at the table to set up the blocks for signing.

    Congrats on the wedding!

    Also, Sharpie markers are NOT permanent. They will be totally gone after a few washings. Always use pens that are made for fabric, like Pigma. Then be sure to heat set them with the iron.
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  25. #25
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i keep my pigma pens in a special place so they are not used for anything else.
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