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Marking on Quilts

Sandra Hatch

Permanent Markers on Quilts.

Ginny comments: "Hi! I love your conversational style; keep it up! Regarding marking pens, I have switched to gel pens, instead of Sharpies or other fine-point types of permanent ink for labels and such. A quilt-shop owner showed me her test sample, on which she used several types of permanent pens. She had washed and ironed it a few times, and the gel was the only one that didn't blur or fade. They do roll nicely across the fabric. Another trick when writing -- put masking tape across the back of the fabric where you're going to write. This provides a stiffness and keeps the fabric from stretching while you work."

Thanks for these useful hints, Ginny. I did not know gel pens were permanent on fabric.

Sharon has a comment on the subject. "I am writing in regard to the subject of Sharpie markers. When you purchase Sharpies, if you make sure they are the markers marked 'industrial' in red on the marker, they are much more stable. This is just a tidbit I have learned working as a theatrical wardrobe person for Broadway shows. Hope it helps."

I did not know there was such a thing. Thanks for the hint, Sharon

Carol tells us: "Perhaps this has been done before, but I haven't seen it. The note in a past Quilt Connections about using masking tape behind a label while marking it prompted my memory.

"I always have trouble writing on fabric, even when using most suggestions. The other day I happened to have a small embroidery hoop by my machine. I just put the fabric in, adjusted the tension and wrote the label without any problems. Of course, the label wasn't cut out from the small piece of fabric until after the label was made. The writing was then centered, cut to the proper size and put in place on my finished quilt. Why didn't I think of this before? Using the gel pens sounds like an idea worth trying, too. I will borrow some from my granddaughter."

This is another good idea to make writing on fabric easier. Thanks, Carol

Mary says, "I mark my quilts with Crayola washable markers, and I have never had trouble removing the marks. I have to wash my quilts after they are done, but the marks all come out. I can even iron the marks. Some people don't like to wash their quilts, so this would not work for them. Also, I enjoy hearing about your grandchildren. I have some myself."

I can't recommend this method without having tried it myself, but Mary swears by it, and it works for her.

Mickie says: "Sharpie pens are not permanently permanent! I tried using them to label my mother's clothing when she had to leave her home for a nursing facility. After repeated washings, depending on the fabric, the names fade to nothing.

”One could embroider over signatures written with so-called permanent ink, or simply touch them up from time to time as necessary."

Caroline writes: "A regular Sharpie pen used on fabric will indeed fade away with repeated washings. I bought a couple Sharpie Rub-a-Dub Laundry Markers to mark my mom's clothing in the nursing home. I think I bought it at a grocery store, in the aisle where they have thread, shoelaces, notions, etc.

"Also, I figured out a great way to write labels on fabric. Cut a square of freezer paper a couple of inches larger than your desired label size. With a Sharpie pen and ruler draw lines about an inch apart on the shiny side of the paper. Place the fabric on top and iron it. Now you have not only a stable fabric to write on, but lines show through so your writing can be centered and straight. I find a Pigma .05 pen is fine enough for easy writing."