Thursday, October 25, 2007

An Embroidered Quilt Label by Serena Smith of Embroidery Treasures

Quilt labels are a fun and essential addition to any quilt or wall hanging. It is very important that you label your work. It is also very fun to create different kinds of labels. My favorite method of applying a label is to machine embroider it directly on the backing fabric before the quilt is completely quilted. Here's how it works:

I safety pin the quilt top, batting and backing together. The pins need to be 3-5" apart to hold the layers securely. I use curved safety pins which make it easy to go down and back up into the fabric. This is just a small lap quilt so I put a pin in each corner of the block and in the border.

After it is completely pinned, I am ready to stitch. I am stitching in the ditch on the outside of the purple sashing. I use a walking foot with clear thread in the needle and yellow thread in the bobbin. I will quilt all the squares except one of the bottom corner blocks. This will be the block where the label will be stitched on the back.

After all the blocks are quilted, except for one corner, I'm ready for my label. I mark where I will be stitching on the corner block by placing straight pins in the ditch along the stitching line. I put the straight pins in on the quilt top, being sure that I go all the way through to the back. It is difficult to see the pins because of the print, but my finger is pointing to where they are pinned in the fabric all around the purple sashing.

I turn the quilt over to the back and the straight pins allow me to see exactly where the stitches will be. Don't confuse the straight pins with the safety pins! Following the straight pins as a guide, I can easily mark a guideline with a blue water soluble marker to show me where the stitches will be. My label should not extend beyond the marked line.

I can mark a vertical and horizontal line to mark where I want my design label to be placed. The marked square easily lets me stitch my design so it is straight with the block instead of guessing and ending up with the label being stitched crooked.

After I have taken out the safety pins and straight pins, I can separate the backing corner from the rest of the quilt. Then I can place the area of backing fabric I want to stitch in the embroidery hoop, put the hoop on the machine and embroider the label. I am only stitching through the backing, not the entire quilt!

After the embroidery is complete, I take the fabric out of the hoop, carefully press the design and lay out the quilt. Once again I put straight pins in the ditch of the purple sashing on the top of the quilt, going through to the back. When I turn the quilt over, the straight pins should be pretty close to where my blue marker outline is drawn. If it is not, I may need to shift the layers a bit to make them match a little better.

I can go back to the machine and stitch in the ditch on the outside of the purple sashing from the quilt top. This finishes my quilting and keeps me from quilting into my label. Spray a little water on the blue lines and they will disappear. Then I can finish and bind the quilt as normally done.

Here's the finished label after the quilt is bound! I usually include in the label a design that matches with my theme on the quilt top, the quilt name, my name and the finished date.

I hope this gives you some ideas for applying quilt labels! This method works very well if you are not doing a large amount of quilting that is very close together. In that case, you would need to stitch the label on a separate piece of fabric and then handtack in onto the quilt.

You can see some other ideas for quilt labels here.

Serena Smith is an avid embroidery and quilting enthusiast living in Kansas. Creating new projects and sharing them with others through local classes and online lessons is one of her greatest joys. Visit her website, Embroidery Treasures, for fun projects, helpful tips, inspiration, notions, fabrics and embroidery supplies!

You may freely reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter provided the entire article, author's name, bio information and URL remain intact. Thank you! ©2007 Serena Smith Embroidery Treasures

Copyright ©2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Serena Smith. Serena is the owner of Embroidery Treasures

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