Normally I don’t put a lot of effort into quilt labels. Often, if I’m stippling, I’ll sign and date it in the quilting and not even bother with a label. A lot of times, it’s tough to see the labeling info in the quilting, but I think it’s kind of fun to search for it and find it. This type of “labeling” also gets the best reaction from the recipient when I’m giving a gift. For some reason, they usually think it’s cool that it’s hidden away in the quilting.
If I do decide to label a quilt, or if it just doesn’t fit with my quilting pattern, I usually just take a sharpie to some white muslin and print all the information. This is a bit ugly and not at all professional-looking, but it’s quick, and it gets the job done.
However, recently I made a king-size quilt as a wedding gift, and I wanted to include more words as well as make the info more obvious. I also cared a lot more how this label looked since it’s a gift for such a special occasion.
Not long ago, I bought some June Tailor inkjet fabric printer sheets on a whim. Joann’s was having a 60% off sale on quilting notions, plus I had an extra 10% coupon, so I stocked up on a ton of stuff and threw in some things I thought I might like to try in the future. The only thing that had me worried about these sheets is that even though they’re supposedly colorfast, you aren’t supposed to wash them with detergent afterward. How practical is that for a bed quilt?
I don’t have a good embroidery machine, and I’m a week away from gift-giving time, so I needed something fast and easy. I have hand-embroidered before, but not only does it take a long time, but you also have to make the words bigger, and I had a lot of words to include. Enter inkjet printer sheets.
I decided to give them a try, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I’m really excited that I was able to use a picture of the couple since I think the bride will really love that part. I’m also quite confident that the label will hold up to washings, in detergent no less, for many years to come. Here’s how I made my label:
1. Design your label on the computer. I used a digital scrapbooking program by Stampin’ Up!, but you could use Photoshop or even Word to design a label. After designing my images, I then inserted them into a word document. While I was at it, I filled up the rest of the page with labels I could use on other quilts. The only downside to this is that unless you have specific quilts for specific occasions to print at the same time, they won’t be personalized with a message or the date. However, I have a few smaller ones that I sell or give away as gifts to people I’m not so close with that I want to put a message on it.
2. Print a test sheet just to make sure everything looks good. These fabric sheets are quite expensive if you don’t get them on a major sale like I did, so you don’t want to waste them.
3. Stick your fabric sheet in and print.
4. Let the ink dry for 10 minutes. Below is a comparison of my test sheet (paper) and my fabric sheet (note this is the one I scorched). I think the print quality on the fabric is excellent. The only real difference in person is the fabric is slightly less of a bright white than the paper.
5. Iron for 12-15 minutes on highest setting. Yes, you read that right. 12-15 minutes. I recommend pulling up a chair.
6. Rinse in cold water. I added salt and white vinegar to my rinse water, even though the directions didn’t recommend that. However, this is a common method for setting dyes, so I thought it couldn’t hurt. I then rinsed again in plain cold water.
7. At this point, if you plan to use this on a bed quilt that will undergo washings, it would be advisable to wash in detergent just to make sure the ink will hold up. Unfortunately, I only had the Purex sheets and no regular detergent, so I skipped this step, but it didn’t bleed in the least during rinsing, so I really think it will be fine.
8. Blot with a towel and press dry. NOTE: Blotting with a towel is very important. I didn’t the first time, and I ended up scorching my fabric and having to start over. I really think it scorched because the fabric was too wet. I could be wrong, though. You can see the little spots below. I probably could have left it, but I’m a perfectionist, and since I’m putting this much work into the label in the first place, I wanted it to turn out well.
9. From here, you’re ready to use it however you’d like. I framed mine out with scraps from the quilt top, and I just love how it turned out. You can print in color on the fabric, but I opted for black and white so it would stand out against the brightly colored frame.