December 27, 2006
A friend said she’d like to know more about how I do the labels on my quilts and since I’ve just done one, this seemed like a good time to document my current process. Here are the steps:
1. If it’s a baby quilt, find a picture of the baby if possible. Usually it is possible; the baby may even have a website.
2. Create label document using word processing software (I used to use AmiPro, now it’s MicrosoftWorks because that’s what came with our PC). Import the picture found in step 1 and format lines of text containing whatever information is desired—usually at least who it was made for, who it was made by, and when.
3. Using an inkjet printer, print the label on plain paper to test alignment and check appearance. Make sure there’s at least half an inch margin around the label to allow for trimming and seam allowance.
TIP: Be sure to double check the name of the recipient. Not that you’d ever actually get to the point of stitching on a label which has the baby’s sister’s middle name on it instead of the baby’s. No, you wouldn’t do that. I did once, though.
4. After a successful test on paper, print the label on Printed Treasures printer fabric. I used to use June Tailor printer fabric sheets, but Printed Treasures are much better. I’ve heard that EQ Printables are also good, but I haven’t tried them.
TIP: If you’ve printed the tests at low quality to save time and ink, be sure to change to high quality for this step. Otherwise you’ll either have to use a label that’s not as attractive as it could be or consume more of the expensive printer fabric. Not that you would ever do that. I have, though.
5. Remove the label fabric from the backing. Because a single label doesn’t take up a whole sheet and I don’t want to waste the fabric, I peel back only as much of the backing paper as needed in order to free the part of the fabric with the label on it. After cutting off that portion of the fabric, I tape down the edge of what’s left so I can use it for another label.
6. Trim the label. I usually trim 1/2 inch from the picture/text, which leaves a quarter inch of white space after the label borders are attached.
7. Cut fabric strips for the label border: two at least as wide as the label, and two at least as wide as the label is high plus the width of the label border strips times two. Labels don’t have to have borders, of course, but I find it easier to sew through regular fabric than the printer fabric when attaching the label to the quilt, plus it’s one more chance to add a touch of color to the quilt. I often use leftover binding cut in half, which makes each label border strip around 1 and 1/2 inches wide or a little less.
8. Sew fabric strips to the top and bottom of the label, then press strips away from the center. Trim strips to width.
9. Sew fabric strips to the sides of the label, then press strips away from the center. Trim strips to height.
10. When all label borders are attached, press the edges under 1/4 inch.
11. Pin the label to the back of the quilt. I usually put them in the lower left corner.
TIP: If it’s important to you that the top of the label is oriented toward the top of the quilt, double check that you’ve pinned it on that way before you start sewing. Not that you are obsessive like that or would ever make a mistake in pinning if you were. But I am, and I have.
Confidential to Amy and Blake: I need your new address.