Friday, October 23, 2009

Creating labels for quilts

I always name my quilts and create a label for them with details of inspiration, the pattern used, and who it is for. Why? This is my art form and I put a lot of effort and work into each quilt. They need to be signed, even when I give them away. Besides, I enjoy designing the label as an extra bit of art.
A few years ago I began using a simple greeting card program for this. I love the wonderful graphics in the program that make wonderful frames or borders for the label. I can usually find a graphic that just fits the theme or mood of the quilt. I create the label and print onto Printed Treasures sheets. Printed Treasures is a pre-treated fabric designed for inkjet printers. I try to create 2 or 3 labels at a time and use a whole sheet. But if I have a half page, or even a quarter page left over, I have found a trick to use. See the end of this entry for details.
I find it very difficult to hand stitch through the Printed Treasures, so I add 2 inch strip of fabric around all sides. I press under a 1/2 inch and spray starch it to get a crisp edge.
This photo is an example. The label is in a jacket I made from fabric my daughter, Deana, gave me from her stash. It was in black, grey and white with art deco-style ladies and graphics. I saved one lady to add to the label. The border graphic is a black line style that is art deco also. Then a 2 inch strip is added to all sides, pressed under and stitched to the lining.
Multiple graphics can be added too. For this mystery quilt label I used a full page. First I found the "footprints" border and set it. Then I ran across the wonderful profile graphic of Sherlock Holmes. I had to include it because I had named the quilt "Sherlock I am Not". I placed it in the upper corner area. For the title and the rest of the text requited 2 different text boxes to fill in the awkward space. To finish the label off, I used the "red herring" clue pieces (the tiny pinwheels), and leftover strips from the binding to create the border. Note that there is a second round of strips added on this one to have a good allowance to turn under.
Another thing I like about using the greeting card program is that you can easily import photos for your labels. That can really personalize the label and make it very special as a gift. One year my guild had a Red White and Blue Challenge. I made a celtic knot inspired quilt--from a Karen Combs class. The label had to be covered as part of the challenge. So I created a "book" style label complete with a knot closure. When opened you see the label text on the right and the left side has the photos of my Dad and Russ, my husband, who both served in the military. I used a celtic knot graphic on the text portion, and a military banner graphic under the photos. The two sections were created and printed separately and the joined with a 2 inch strip of fabric and bordered on 3 sides. The cover was strip pieced on the diagonal with fabrics leftover from the quilt and a narrow strip added to all 4 sides as a border. The cover was then stitched to the photo side pillow case style. Then turned right sides out. Only the text side is hand stitched to the quilt. The frog closure was then added.

I don't always make complex labels. Some are very simple with just a basic scrap style border. But I always include some type of graphic. This label is one one of my watercolor quilts, and has just the simple 2 inch strips added around it. One final note...when I create a label I always do a test print on paper before printing on the Printed Treasures. Then I have a file of ideas for label styles and graphics. I use these when I do a guild program presentation (along with my Bee group members) for other guilds.
Printed Treasures is too expensive to waste from typos or low ink! So I use every leftover bit. If I only have a single label to make and I have a small--quarter page--bit of Printed Treasures that needs to be used, here's a trick. Create label in the program and print it on paper. Check the size by laying the Printed Treasures over it. Hold it up to the light and check to see that the printed graphic and text fit and that there is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch on all sides. If your label size if too large, then adjust in the card program and reprint and check again. If it fits, then use scotch tape and tape the Printed Treasures --on all four sides--over the label you printed. Be sure the tape covers no more than a 1/4 inch on the edge of the Printed Treasures. Then place the paper with the taped on Printed Treasures section back into your printer. And print. You will have exact placement and no waste.
Ok...enough blogging and back to stitching.



1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great info about labels. I'm in the process of designing a new one for myself so this posting is quite timely :)

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