Monday, August 8, 2011

Making a Quilt Label

A label is an important finishing touch on a quilt. After all the time cutting, piecing, quilting, and binding is complete, it is tempting to skip the label just to get er done. But including the detailed information of who, what, where, when, and how it was made will be a treasure to look at in the years to come. The label below was made by Andrea for the feedsack quilt I repaired and quilted for her.

Every quilt label should contain a few basic facts: name of quilt, the maker or makers of the quilt, who the quilt is for (if designated), when it was made, and perhaps where it was made. It can be written simply on a piece of muslin, or even more simply written directly on the back of  the quilt.

One of my most used books for label making is Iron-On Transfers for Quilt Labels by Barbara Baatz of the American School of Needlework. I love the simple drawings and usually clip away some of the printed words so I can write in my own.

I begin with some muslin and a piece of freezer paper. The shiny side of the freezer paper is lightly ironed to the back of the fabric. This stabilizes the fabric for writing. On the non-shiny side of the freezer paper, I often draw dark, evenly spaced lines as a guide which can be seen through the right side of the fabric. Then I iron the quilt label transfer to the fabric.

It often takes a bit of trial and error to get a label that satisfies. With the Sunbonnet Sue quilt's label, my first attempt squeezed in all the information I wanted to include.

Next I over compensated and left too much room at the bottom of the label. Still I used this one to try out different colors and styles of pens.

Finally I reorganized the order of the information and everything balanced out. Using the same fine-tipped micron pen as I did for the writing, I outlined the design and colored it in. Besides micron pens, fabric markers, colored pencils, even crayons can be used to enhance a label. Sharpies can be used but tend to bleed, so use with care.

The final step is to peel the freezer paper off the back of the label and lay it face down on the front of the label. Use the iron to heat set the design. Peel the paper off the label and you will see some excess ink and waxy residue.

A border of fabric may be sewn to the edge of label, or just press the edges of the muslin under and whip stitch it to the back of the quilt. I usually place it on the lower left, a few inches in from the edge of the quilt.

Copyright ©2011, Sharon Baggs

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