For my art garments, I make 2 different sort of labels. I really need to have some nice woven labels made for sewing in my regular garments, but I think I'll use one of these methods until then.
Method #1 - Pigma Micron Pen on Fabric.
Advantages: Ink is virtually permanent, with little fading after washing if heat set properly.
Disadvantages: Since the lettering is handwritten, if your handwriting isn't clear, your label won't be either.
How To: I use a Pigma Micron Pen with a .25mm line width made by the Sakura Co. of Japan. These pens are available at art supply stores and at places like Jo-Ann's in the quilting section. Many people like to sign their quilts with these pens. They're available in different colors, I prefer black.
I iron the fabric for the label - usually a scrap from the project to coordinate the label with the garment - to the shiny side of a piece of freezer paper. This stabilizes the fabric so that you can write on it without it shifting. I then write the text and add additional artwork if needed. I then peel off the freezer paper and iron the fabric on both sides with as hot of an iron as the fabric will take, with no steam, to set the ink. After that, I stitch the label to the fabric by applique methods.
Method #2: Printed fabric using a photocopier. This method is not new, as people have been putting images on fabric with photocopiers for years. Do be sure it's OK to run fabric through your copier of choice with the owner of the copier. Doing so may void the warranty.
Advantages: Lettering is perfect. Images can be created and artwork arranged via a computer before printing.
Disadvantages: Although the ink is heat set after printing, it tends to fade after washing. This method works well for garments that will be washed a lot or where the label can be easily replaced if needed.
How To: First, cut a piece of freezer paper to the exact dimensions of a sheet of paper, 8 1/2" x 11". Next, cut a piece of fabric slightly larger and iron the fabric to the shiny side of the freezer paper. Using a ruler and rotary cutter, trim the fabric edges to match the freezer paper exactly. Make sure there are no stray threads at the edges of the fabric - they could jam the copier. Below you can see the fabric and freezer paper separately and then after they've been ironed together.
Next, produce your desired image on your computer in a word processing or art program and print it out. You can see the image on my screen is the same as the paper in my printer tray. You don't have to flip or reverse the image for this type of printing. Just print it out.
Take your original and prepared fabric/paper to the copier and place the original in the machine as if you're going to make a copy on regular paper. Some light printing or fonts may benefit from making a paper copy with the copier set to make a darker copy. Place the fabric/paper in the by pass tray and make the copy:
The resulting image is now ready to be heat set and applied the same way as you would for the Micron pens.
Neither technique is difficult, but it's fun to play around with it. I haven't tried running organza through the copier, but that's something I might try some day.
Parting Shot: I was going through some photos the other day and discovered this one of my son. This was taken at the Boston Aquarium last year when we took a field trip there. Even though you only see his silhouette, it's one of my favorite shots from the trip.
When it rains, it pours. Not only do I have to finish a couple of Easter dresses, I just got two custom jobs in today as well. Add to that the wedding dress and Diamonds and it looks like I'll be busy for quite a while. At least I'll have stuff to post about . . . .