Tips and Tutorials Tuesday – My Quilt Labels

March 31, 2015


Welcome to Tips and Tutorials Tuesday! I hope you’ll link up your own tutorials at the bottom of this post, and spend some time perusing the great ideas the bloggers in our community have this week (see below for their links)!

Today I thought I’d share with you a quick tutorial for my method for making my quilt labels.

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I love looking at the backs of other people’s quilts so I can see their labels.  They’re so personal and unique, and they say so much about the person who made them.  It feels so sneaky. Like peeking into someone’s purse… (not that I ever do that).

Do they like to neatly print theirs on a computer (OCD)? Are they quickly patched (ADHD) or painstakingly pieced and carefully embellished (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)?  Do they scribble a few lines directly onto the quilt back (Psychotic)? Do they leave a detailed note for the intended recipient, chronicling their desire to please them with the quilt (Attachment Disorder)? Or maybe they forget to make a label altogether (Dementia)…

I could go on and on with the possibilities.

It’s like a personality test!  Hey– maybe I can start analyzing people based their quilt labels! It could be something between a psychic reading and a psychological evaluation.

Anyway, to get to the point of this post….my design was influenced by quilt labels made by Eric Wolfmeyer and Amy Sinibaldi.  After being inspired by their labels, I came up with my own twist on a label that feels handcrafted, vintage, and a part of me.

Here’s my method:

1) I started with these paper gift tags I bought at Michaels.  You may have some like them hidden away in your craft room.  They are approximately 6″ x 4″.  I grabbed some extra pieces of quilter’s linen I had set aside from an earlier project (I think this one is by RJR fabrics), and I traced around the paper tag, leaving 1/2″ extra room for the seam allowance.

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2) I trim on the line I’ve drawn.
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3) Then I use the paper tag to help me fold over the seam allowance. I fold over somewhere between 1/4″ to 1/2″ and press with the iron — fold over whatever amount you like. No one will see it! Then I pull out the paper tag.
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4) Then I top-stitch approximately 1/8″ away from the edge of  the label, around all 4 sides.

2015-01-24 17.42.54-15) I then rough cut a piece of freezer paper (*affiliate link 🙂 ) If you don’t have any freezer paper in your sewing room, I highly recommend it!  It’s got many wonderful uses.  Iron the freezer paper to the back-side of your label (shiny side of the freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric). This stabilizes the fabric so you can write on it a little more easily with your pen of choice.

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6) At this point, you are free to decorate your little label in any way that you like!  I bought these cute little handmade buttons from Etsy that have my blog name on them. They were totally an unnecessary purchases, but ohhhhh, do they make me happy. I also like to embroider a little decorative stitch around the edges, using my rule of thumb for helping me maintain somewhat even stitches (I have no idea why this continues to be a challenge for me. I must be missing a particular neural connection in my brain for distance between hand-stitches)

A note about pens.  I usually use a Micron pen, like many of you probably do.  One time recently, after I wrote on my label with my Micron, I decided it looked a little wrinkly, so I hit it with some Best Press starch and pressed it.  And holy *&^%!  Look what happened! I snapped this sad picture to send to my quilting confidant, Kitty, from Night Quilter. She said she always uses fabric markers these days for this very reason.  Good to know. I have a pack of Tulip brand fine tip permanent fabric markers that I’ve used with good results on other project; I’ll have to dig those out for my next labels.  I suspect that if I had adequately let the Micron writing dry and heat-set it with a dry iron before wetting it, it would not have run.  But I’ll test that theory later and let you know.

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7) I know, my hand-writing is messy.  But I’m ok with that.  I want my kids to know my messy handwriting someday.  Maybe they’ll love it.  I hope they love it.


Up close Quilt Label

8) Finally, peel off the freezer paper, save it for later to use the same one again, and attach the label with a blind applique stitch.  I don’t have pics of that one tonight, but ooooooo, I think I feel another tutorial coming!  Good thing I committed to doing this Tip and Tutorial thing once a week.

I look forward to seeing your links!

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  • Reply Mary March 31, 2015 at 12:54 am

    I laughed at the psychological “labels” – loved them. I liked the post and the cute label.

  • Reply Ruth March 31, 2015 at 4:02 am

    Love the little buttons – a really nice touch in a label

  • Reply Serena @ Sewgiving March 31, 2015 at 6:35 am

    … I’m definitely in the dementia zone … I have printed satin labels and always forget to attach them when sewing my binding on 🙂

  • Reply Kathy March 31, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Yikes! That bleeding!! The fear of bleeding is why I’ve failed to label any of my quilts. What kind of fabric markers does Kitty use?

    • Late Night Quilter
      Reply Late Night Quilter March 31, 2015 at 10:30 am

      I’m definitely going to experiment with washing various fabric bits that have been written on with fabric pens versus Micron pens to see if the drying time and heat setting matters. I will report back with my results! Luckily, this little label was for my recent wall hanging (which is not machine washable), so it’s not going to be getting wet anytime soon (I hope!) But if you read my friend Mandy’s post about getting fabric bleeds out, which she linked above, she points out that sometimes our best intentions to keep a quilt dry and protected do not always work out!

  • Reply quiltingjetgirl March 31, 2015 at 8:47 am

    What a super cute label, and I agree with Ruth, the little buttons / coins are great!

  • Reply Joanna March 31, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Your diagnosis has me at OCD and psychotic!! I have computer printed labels with my name but have been writing the “to” part directly on the back (when applicable)!

    The buttons are adorable. I’m almost tempted to start justifying why I need some too…

  • Reply Terri Ann March 31, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Your psychology behind labels cracked me up! I’m a mixed bag of all of the above but I think it’s cause I haven’t fully settled into *my* way of labeling. I hate my handwriting but haven’t decided how custom each label should be. Great tip on the freezer paper, make perfect sense, I just needed someone to tell me to do it that way 🙂

    I really just love the button on your labels – have you mentioned before where you got them made?

  • Reply Jasmine March 31, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Your analysis made me laugh. I think I have labeled different quilts most of those ways (except computer printed labels) before. Great tutorial. I hope you will share your findings on markers vs. the Micron pen.

  • Reply leighlaurelstudios April 1, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Love your labels – they’re fabulous! I need to rethink my use of Micron pens. . . :O

  • Reply cheryljbrickey April 1, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Great tutorial. My labels (if there is one) are the quick handwritten type that would label me as lazy 🙂

  • Reply Marly April 2, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Certainly a unique label. I’ve experimented with hand written and machine and hand embroidered, but none of them is a definite favourite. Machine embroidered is the most legible however!

  • Reply Chelsea Huckins April 6, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    I love your personality test/label theory! So funny. What do you call the person who quickly embroiders the persons name on the back and love Chels. Usually it’s in the “psychotic” fashion as its usually moments before I need to give it away! I love your buttons that would be a great idea to take away some time, going to look into those. The rest looks like a lot of work 😉 Thanks for the share!

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