I’ve just finished making a quilt for my first grandbaby (WOO HOO!!!). I saved pieces of all the fabrics I used to make outfits for my daughter and that’s what I used for the quilt. Since I’m so familiar with the Silhouette Studio software, I used it to play with some layouts for my blocks, which was a great help in planning. I also wanted to make a label for the quilt. I may not be a great quilter, but I do know it’s important to document it. Since my handwriting is so bad, I like to use my machine to sketch the words on a piece of fabric. This is something you might not think about using your machine for so I thought it would be a great lesson to share.
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Materials for a quilt label
- I used Sharpie fine line marker (paid link), but any permanent pen works as long as it fits your pen holder. You could try a sketch pen, but I’m not sure they are permanent through multiple washings. Heat helps set ink, so you could try ironing it after you’ve done the sketching.
- Pen holder — Silhouette does have one specifically for the Cameo 4, but I used my old style pen holder in the blue adapter and it worked fine.
- I also used some printable fabric (paid link) that I had in my stash. This is simply cotton muslin that is attached to a piece of paper. That gives it enough stability to send it through a printer. That also makes it very easy to work with on your machine because the backing paper easily sticks onto the mat. After you’ve sketched on it (and cut it if you like), you remove the backing paper.
Even if you don’t cut the shape of the label (I didn’t because I just used a rectangle), it’s nice to have the machine do the writing for you and add some designs. Most will work with any inkjet printer, but they recommend handwashing or drycleaning. Yikes — not the best choice for a baby quilt. That’s why I chose the permanent pen instead. Silhouette America has printable cotton fabric, but there is no information about whether or not it stands up to washing. You could also use HTV. Because the fabric is printable, you could do a print and cut if the ink would be permanent.
If you don’t have printable fabric, you could use regular cotton fabric. I would suggest stabilizing it in some way for the working portion of the project. That could be Terial Magic (paid link), another heavy starch, wash away stabilizer, quilt basting spray (paid link), etc.
Choose the label shape and size
First, determine the shape of your label and decide whether you’ll cut by machine or by hand.
- Take into account that you’ll need to add at least 1/4″ seam allowance you can turn under around the outside.
- The shape shouldn’t be super-intricate unless you intend to cut by hand.
- If you’re going to cut a shape with your machine, I highly recommend a Cameo 4 with the rotary blade. Be sure to leave room for the loops needed for cutting with a rotary blade.
- You can cut with a regular blade on any machine, it’s just a tad harder because the blade pulls on the fabric instead of rolling over it as the rotary blade does. You do not need a fabric blade — it’s just the same as a regular blade but with a different casing color so that you can keep it separate from a blade you use for paper. The key is for it to be a nice, new blade and to use a sticky mat that holds the fabric well. Because the printable fabric has a backing on it as a stabilizer, you don’t need any other one as you do with regular fabric. Again, simple shapes work best here. And be sure to use Line Segment Overcut.
- If you do want a more intricate shape and you’re great with your scissors, you can have the machine draw the shape and wording and then you can cut it out by hand.
Add wording and designs
Once you’ve got the shape, add your wording and maybe some designs.
- You can use a sketch font or just a thin one. I used Sweet and Condensed Sketch.
- I also used the arrows from Swift Arrow Font. They came out a little fuzzy so it would have been better if I’d made them larger or altered them to be a single line.
- I added a sweet little bear face since my grandson’s name is Bear. Isn’t that awesome? They chose it to represent strength and protectiveness. Since he started out at 10 lb. 5 oz. a week early, I’m pretty sure he’ll end up looking like a big ol’ teddy bear.
(That gray is just covering his name — it’s not really on my design.)
Add a seam allowance
You’ll need a seam allowance. I used an offset of .250″ for a 1/4″ seam allowance all the way around. If you’re going to applique it on, do what you normally would.
Notice that my design, label and seam allowance all have a different line color. That’s so I can choose what to do with each separately in my cut settings. For example, I chose Sketch on the black and red lines and No Sketch on the green line. The green is just the fold for where I’ll press under. The red line shows me where to cut the rectangle away from the rest of the page.
Add a small extra shape
One of the annoying things currently is that when sketching the machine pauses at the very end with the pen down. The result is that the pen usually bleeds a little, leaving a dot. When you’re using a marker like this, it’s very noticeable.
But there’s a workaround. Draw a small shape outside the label area after you’ve added everything else. Because it’s the last thing you added, it will be sketched last. The bleed dot will be on that, not on your label. I used a small square below mine, as you can see above.
Sketch the quilt label
Put your pen in the pen holder and load it into the machine. Be sure to choose Sketch as you action. To learn about the pen holder, see this post. If you’ve never used the sketching feature before, see this one. To learn how to sketch with different colors, read this one. Just be sure to have that small extra shape for each line color.
- If you’re cutting the fabric with your machine, do that now as well. I always like to sketch first, then cut.
- If you’re cutting by hand, do that as soon as you’ve sketched and removed the fabric from your mat. Because I sketched that outer line, I know just where to cut.
Sew the label onto the quilt
Remove the backing paper from the printable fabric. Getting that started is probably the trickiest part of this whole project.
Turn under your seam allowance and press. Press over the entire design to help set the ink.
It’s not a bad idea to spritz a little water on it to make sure the ink of your pen won’t run (you can use your small extra shape for that).
Hand stitch your label onto the quilt and you’re done!
I decided to add some hand quilting to make sure the label stays put. I also made a photo book to go with the quilt with pictures of my daughter wearing the outfits I made with the fabrics in the quilt.
Here’s my sweet baby Bear on the quilt (shameless grandma pics):
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