Have you found yourself looking at the calendar asking, “Where did the school year go”? With summer quickly approaching, students are counting down the days until the last school bell of the year, while teachers are reflecting on the leaps & bounds made throughout the year (ok… they may also be thinking about that last bell too!) Need a little help dreaming up a thoughtful end-of-year gift for your child’s teacher? Spoonflower team member Meredith demonstrates how to make a personalized cheater quilt for approximately $50 using student artwork and Spoonflower’s newest feature, Fill-A-Yard™.
Every handmade project deserves a label to let the recipient know just who made it, and to carry the artist’s name for generations to come. Emma from the Spoonflower help team is here with beautiful label templates that you can customize to make your quilt unique and personalized.
EMMA: It always makes me a little sad when I see a beautiful quilt hanging in a museum with a tag that says “artist unknown”. Labeling your quilt is just like signing a painting–you made it, why not sign it! Especially for gifts and heirloom quilts you’re handing down, a label is an essential addition to any quilt. But quilt labels are a tricky thing to make! Embroidering or hand-writing a label with a fabric marker can take a lot of time, but there’s no need to order a ton of custom labels for just one project. That’s why we’ve created an easy way to create your own custom labels–order just one, or a whole yard! There’s no fancy software required, and we’ve included some templates below to get you started. Read on to learn more!
I decided to make a label for a quilt meant for a friend who’s about to embark on a big adventure. Since it was for just this special quilt, I knew I only needed to order one, and could customize it just for him.
We’ve created a series of templates already sized at 4.5 x 3.5 inches, a great size for a quilt label. If you want to make them even smaller, you can adjust the size once you’ve created your label. To create your own special label, save the template you want to use (scroll to the bottom of the page for more!) to your computer, and log onto Spoonflower.
First, click Create at the top of the page, then select the template file from my computer and clicked the Upload File button. Don’t worry–I give you all permission to use these templates, so you can click the copyright confirmation button without fear!
Once the template uploads, just click the Edit with PicMonkey button on the left-hand side. This will make a open of the template in PicMonkey, a free (and very easy!) editing platform.
With the template open in PicMonkey, it’s time to get creative! I started by adding text to my label–just click on the button the left that says “Tt” to add text. You can pick a font, change colors, arrange, and re-size your text however you’d like.
You can also click the button on the left that looks like a butterfly to add overlays (which work like digital stamps and stickers). Since Oscar is going on a big sailing trip, I picked out a few nautical-themed icons.
Once you’re done adding text, click the Save button at the top, and the X in the right-hand corner to go back to the Spoonflower preview page.
For just one quilt label, select Centered repeat and order a test swatch. For just $5.00, this will get you a single label. If you need more, you can order a fat quarter. This is also the page where you can adjust the size–click the Smaller button until the size listed is what you want. Go ahead and add it to your cart and you’re all set!
You can even add your own images. For this label, I added a picture of my grandpa that I had saved to my computer. Just click on the Overlay button that looks like a butterfly and click Your Own at the top. Then you can use any image already on your computer–photos, logos, even scanned kids artwork!
We’ve included some templates to get you started below, including a few sizes of blank labels that you can open in PicMonkey and edit the same way. Between PicMonkey’s great free tools and images from your own computer, creating your own labels is a breeze!
Need an easy way to use up those fabric scraps? Making a quilt using free-pieced strips is a great way to bust through your scrap bins. Quilter and blogger Nicole Neblett of Mama Love Quilts is teaching a series of modern quilting workshops this fall in the Greenhouse, our classroom and community space here in Durham, North Carolina and she’ll be sharing tutorials from her classes here on the blog for those of you who can’t visit us here at Spoonflower HQ. From her first class in the series, use this improvisational piecing technique to create a modern quilt that is all your own style!
This week we continue our “Market Yourself” series of posts on getting the word out about your creative enterprise with tips and practical project ideas from creative business folk.
As a quilter, I find that a quilt isn’t truly finished until the label is added. Not only is it a great way to remember when and where you were when you made a quilt (especially when you move as much as I have the past few years!), it can act as a calling card for your blog or business.
When you sell or donate your quilts, your label is a great way for you to brand your work in a polished way, as well as help people find and connect with you online and off.
Below is a tutorial for a simple quilt label using a logo and text. While the directions are specific to Photoshop CS5.1 on a Mac, they can easily be adapted to other Photoshop versions, on either Macs or PCs.
To start, open Photoshop and click on File >> New. Enter a file name and dimensions for your label. My preferred size for quilt labels is 4 inches wide by 3 inches tall, but feel free to do whatever size works best for you and your projects. Enter 150 pixels/inch for your resolution and click OK.
I love English paper piecing and fabrics with great big prints, but these two things don’t always play so nicely together. So I decided to experiment with super-sizing some traditional paper pieced hexagons. I love the way they showcase these three beautiful designs from Spoonflower designer Holli Zollinger: Coral Lined Mosaic, Fish Scales Slate Full, and Diamond Circles Aqua, and the chevron lines of quilting make a nice frame.
Materials (per placemat):
- ½ yard background fabric (I’m using linen-cotton canvas here, but cotton would be lovely, too.)
- ¼ yard flannel (for batting)
- 3 Spoonflower Kona® cotton test swatches in prints of your choice
- Thread that coordinates with your background and hexie fabrics
- Sewing machine with a walking foot
- Downloadable hexagon template
Choosing fabrics for your hexagons:
For this project, you’ll need prints that are large, but not too large for the hexagons. So, download the hexagon template. The hexies I’m using in this project are 4″ across, and this measurement is useful as you’re browsing for fabrics. Compare that 4″ measurement to the same measurement on the handy scale ruler that’s pictured with each fabric. How much of the pattern repeat will appear in a 4″ x 4″ area?
Now, we’ll create the big hexies and sew them together. This video shows you how:
Making the placemats:
When you have your set of three hexies all sewn together, it’s time to assemble your placemat. I highly recommend that you install a walking foot on your sewing machine for this project. We’ll be sewing through several layers of fabric here, and a regular presser foot has a tendency to shift those layers around too much while you stitch.
Check with your local sewing machine dealer, or try an online search for “(make and model of your machine) walking foot.” If you don’t have a walking foot, I’ve added some suggestions below for alternate ways you can this project.
Cut three 12″ x 16″ pieces of fabric: two from your background fabric and one from flannel. You may notice that my flannel doesn’t match my project at all, and this is okay! It’s just used as a batting layer here, and will be invisible in the finished placemat. This is a great opportunity to use up any scrap flannel you have in your stash.
Layer these three rectangles as you see here, with the flannel between the two pieces of background fabric. (The wrong sides of the background fabric pieces should be facing the flannel layer.) Match all four edges.
Now, head to your sewing machine. Depending on the colors you’re using, you may want to thread your bobbin with a color that matches your background fabric, and thread your machine with a color that matches your hexies. Stitch the hexies down, sewing close to all the outside edges.
If you don’t have a walking foot: You can hand sew along these edges, using a tiny hand stitch.
With the hexies in place, we’ll do some quilting to solidify all these fabric layers. I’m using “echo quilting” here, which simply follows the shape of the hexies. Start by stitching ¼” away from the edge of the hexies. Then, stitch another line ¼” away from that line, and repeat until you’ve covered the entire background with chevron stitching. I think this design accommodates precise lines or wonky lines equally well, so if your quilting lines get a little crooked, go with it!
If you don’t have a walking foot: You may want to play with hand quilting – a placemat is a nice, small project for that technique. Try drawing the lines you want to quilt with an erasable fabric marker, and then sewing through all the layers along these lines with a small running stitch.
Once the quilting is done, it’s time to bind our placemat. We’re using a time-honored technique here called a “double fold binding.” For this placemat, you’ll need to make about 60″ of binding. Take your leftover background fabric and cut two strips measuring 3″ high by the width of the fabric. From here, you can follow Heather Bailey’s excellent PDF tutorial to finish and install your binding. The’s just one small alteration to this process when you’re binding a placemat. Heather’s tutorial says to begin sewing the binding on “in the middle of one side.” With a placemat, begin sewing the binding along the bottom edge of the placemat, about 2″ from one corner.
Give your freshly-bound placemat a good pressing, and you’re all set! Variations: You can do all kinds of fun things with this design. You might use a background fabric with a tiny, subtle print alongside those large print hexies. You might quilt it in a more free-form pattern. You might bind it in a contrasting color. You might even arrange your hexies in a different configuration. Have fun giving this project your own unique stamp!
About Our Guest Blogger
Diane Gilleland blogs, podcasts, publishes, teaches, and makes videos about all things crafty over at CraftyPod.com. When she’s not doing those things, she’s doing whatever her cat tells her to do. And what’s wrong with that?
I’m a little behind on my blogging lately and have been meaning to post about Soph’s lovely duck quilt for the last week. (Sorry, Soph!) She blogs in detail about things she learned while making it here, but just looking at her quilt, I had no idea she wasn’t a total pro at quilting already! I mean, check out that detailed quilting, y’all! Love the curtain wire idea, too (courtesy of A stitch in dye).