Saturday, June 13, 2015

Labeling in the 21st century

I am a firm believer in quilt labeling. I am because I can't tell you how many times in my rush to get things done and out the door/into the mail, I have neglected to do this.

In the past I hand stitched a cloth label to the quilt back. It typically had the recipients name, quilt title, date and my name on it. It could easily be removed if someone wanted it gone. I tried to get a bit tricky and sew a few through stitches into the label (stitching all the way through to the front) and although it might slow someone down the label could still be easily removed.

I then took to stitching my name and date onto the edge of the quilt, in the same color as the "negative space". I used a preprogrammed alphabet on my machine. Again (and only because I had to once), this too can be removed. Trickier, takes longer, but it can be done. I will continue to do this regardless of it's drawbacks. 2 labels are better than one right??

So, I got thinking. What if I could in some way, add my "Spontaneous Threads" title too. What if I could do it in addition to these other labeling techniques. How would I do that? Some have had labels printed (Spoonflower is a good example) and then they are pieced into the backs before quilting. That's one way, and a good one at that. It's permanent.  But sometimes I can't decide on where to label, or heaven help me, I forget all together….. then the back is pieced and now what?

I turned to my friends at Versatranz for some help. They make commercial heat press labels for teams, schools etc, etc. I spoke to a very helpful young lady who guided me through the ins and outs of designing custom labeling and we came up with something that works perfectly for me. I knew going in that I wanted something reflective. They had something that would fit the bill. Although it's not as striking as the fabric I've been using, (I'm guessing its a nano particle density thing), it's pretty cool none the less.

I got a single run (about 70 labels total), knowing that I may be spending money for something that wouldn't work. The person who helped me told me, several times, this was not an iron on process. I nodded my head, we were on the phone after all, she wouldn't know I also had my fingers crossed that perhaps it wouldn't matter. You see,  I do have an iron and a sense of adventure (even with quilting) and she really didn't have to know that I was going to ignore their only use a heat press directions and give it a try regardless. It's my money and I'll try if I want too.

So, once the labels arrived,  I heated up my Rowenta, got out my test fabric and gave it a whirl. I decided I should start my (mis) adventure by attempting to follow the directions for the type of label/fabric I was using. It was an excellent place to start.  It worked like a charm. I can apply it to a piece of fabric or a pieced quilt back. I can make it go exactly where I want it.  I can quilt right through it like it wasn't even there. It's washable and lightly reflective. It's ME!!!!

If YOU decide to go this route a few things you NEED to consider:
Cut out the labels individually. Don't try and iron directly from the label sheet. If you order any you'll see what I mean.
Use your iron's hottest setting and some muscle. Remember you are the heat press, be the heat press.
I counted out the time in my head, One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand etc. This seemed to work just fine.
Don't move your iron back and forth, just place and press.
Which then states the obvious, if you can't press in place on your fabric at the highest setting of your iron for 10-12 seconds without completely ruining your fabric then this is not the type of label for you (the disclaimer).
Each label cost me about $1.50, I can't remember if that includes shipping but I think it does. (This amount is based on my design and the material I chose). A small price to pay to have your quilt labeled and done!


  1. This is brilliant Stephanie!! I'm guilty of not labelling at all but an iron on/heat press process, I could manage that!!

  2. Fantastic! Thanks for going out into the wilderness for us!

  3. Thanks for some useful information. I'm happy with my labels from Spoonflower now, but you never know...

  4. I might need these, what do they look like when the light shines on them?

  5. I might need these, what do they look like when the light shines on them?


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