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 Print a tiny quilt -- on FABRIC!



 Creating Gift Tags and Ornaments

 Printing Miniature Quilts

 Santa and the Elves Search for the Perfect Christmas Tree

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Among quilters with computers, transferring images from computer to fabric seems to be a very hot topic. I'll show you some special gifts you can make for the upcoming holidays by printing your quilt designs onto FABRIC.

What you can make: Printed Quilt Objects d' Art

How you can do it: Transferring Designs to Fabric


Printed Quilt Objects d'Art

This quilt is a printout on fabric.

Print a mini-quilt

Print a quilt with a holiday theme onto fabric.
Lay the printed quilt on a very thin batting, cover with backing, then quilt and bind it. Create:
    • DOLL QUILTS: Create a mini-quilt to coordinate with a child's favorite doll, as pictured.
    • WALL HANGINGS: Make a printed quilt to match a special friend's decor so she can hang it year-round. Don't forget to add an easy or clever way to hang the quilt.
    • DOLL HOUSE ART: Print a tiny block to hang in a dollhouse.
    • DOLL HOUSE RUGS: Create a mini-rug. Choose a pattern and colors appropriate for a rug and turn your mini-quilt into a dollhouse rug to present to a child or even an adult dollhouse-fanatic.
    • FRAMED ART: Frame It! Put your printed quilt behind glass

      Tips: Be sure not to get your quilt wet, or the ink will run. Don't forget to add a label to the back of the quilt or frame warning the recipient to never get this quilt wet! While you are at it, you might suggest keeping it out of direct sunlight.

Tiny quilt tree skirt
    • TREE SKIRTS: Print a quilt to lay beneath a miniature tree. Some fancy star blocks in EQ and BlockBase have great designs for a tree skirt. In EQ's Contemporary Library - Kaleidoscopics, there are two perfect blocks: Rose Window and Electric Fan (pictured in the tree skirt above).

      To create a more circular tree skirt, stitch around just the inner hexagon of the block. (See the picture below.)

    • ORNAMENTS: Create a fabric ornament. Print up 2 to 4 inch single blocks and quilt them into ornaments for family and friends.
    • WEARABLE QUILTS!: Get creative and wear your quilt! Devise a method for temporarily attaching your mini-quilt to a jumper or sweatshirt. Create a mini-quilt for each season and wear your quilts all year! I think putting buttonholes in the quilt itself would be a nightmare. Consider these alternatives:
      • Sew functional buttons to the back of the mini-quilt.
      • Sew buttonholes into the jumper or sweatshirt.
      • Sew decorative buttons to the front of the quilt and place tabs or frogs on the jumper or sweatshirt, long enough to loop over the buttons and hold the quilt in place.

Motivated? Let's explore options for getting your computer designs (including EQ quilts) onto fabric.

Warning:  printing directly to fabric does not always give washable or fade-resistant results. Before using computer-printed fabric in a quilt, test to ensure your print-out will not run or fade and ruin your beautiful quilt.


Transferring Designs to Fabric

Iron-On Transfers
  • You can get colorful (but alas - not soft, hand-quiltable) results from any inkjet printer by using the readily available iron-on transfers. A quilt full of iron-on transfers may not be quite as snuggley as you'd like, but you can create great quilt labels, wall hangings, decorative accessories and clothing with them. (Just remember to reverse any words or directional images before printing!)
  • Iron-on transfers are available from Canon and Epson, Dharma Trading Company and numerous other companies (many of which have web sites).
Printing Designs on Fabric
Bubble Jet Set Treated Fabric

  • Currently my favorite method of treating fabrics. Bubble Jet Set was originally designed for printing imagery to silk ties and is now marketed extensively in the quilting and sewing industry. If you can't find it locally, try http://www.bryerpatchstudio.com , Caryl Bryer-Fallert has experimented extensively with this product and keeps her site up-to-date with the latest product information.
  • Once the fabric is treated, you can either iron the fabric to freezer paper and trim to the required paper size, or you can apply Avery's Full Sheet (8.5 x 11 inch) Labels to the fabric - it makes them nice and stiff for moving easily through the printer.
  • For detailed information about how to prepare and use Bubble Jet Set treated fabrics, visit the Fabric Printing of our web site.

Pretreated Fabric Sheets

June Tailor Fabric Sheets

  • Packaged in sets of three - 8 1/2 inch by 10 inch sheets, these fabrics are treated for washability and stabilized with a freezer paper style backing.
  • Select the fabric sheets carefully, some say they are washable, others say they are dry-clean only. The dry-clean only variety were the first ones June Tailor created and apparently have no treatment to make them water-resistant. In other words - they can't get wet, or the inks will bleed!
  • These same sheets appear to be sold under the Husqvarna-Viking brand name also.

Canon Fabric Sheets (FS-101)

  • Work beautifully with many of their Canon printers. The fabric is very smooth and densely woven to give more surface area for the inks.
  • A package of ten 9 1/2 by 14 inch fabric sheets comes with a post-printing fixative which must be used with Canon printers. Non-Canon printers produce mixed results.
  • Each inkjet maker uses their own chemical formula for their inks, so the colorfastness varies even if you use the fixative.
Freezer Paper-backed Muslin

Many people print directly onto fabric that has been backed with freezer paper. Ironing freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric stiffens the fabric so it will pass through the printer. Quilters have experimented with and written about techniques for setting the ink.

Toner from a laser printer and ink from most dot matrix printers can usually be heat-set with an iron. If you really want color, then you can use fabric ink pens to fill in the colors.

Other methods of setting the ink
  1. USING A "HOME BREW": For their book Quilter's Computer Companion (No Starch Press), Judy Heim and Gloria Hansen tested numerous techniques for making inkjet inks washfast. Then they devised their own "home-brew" method for pre-treating fabric to prepare it for printing and for applying a fixative after the printed fabric has dried. They tested their solution on Canon and Epson printers only. Their new book is available from numerous web sites and many local quilt shops and book stores.
  2. PHOTOCOPYING: In her revised book Imagery on Fabric (C&T Publishing), Jean Ray Laury describes not only potential inkjet setting methods, but also techniques for using a color copying machine and heat-transfer sheets (iron-on transfers) to get images to fabric. * Speaking of transferring color copies to fabric, many products are already on the market to make this quick and easy. Ami Simms and other authors have taught and written about these methods So you might consider photocopying your gorgeous EQ work and using a tried and true method to get them to fabric. Note: color copy transfers are just another form of iron-on transfer and will have the stiffer plastic feel to them.
  3. AND MORE: Finally for the adventurous and determined, Jane Dunnewold in Complex Cloth (That Patchwork Place), and Jean Ray Laury in Imagery on Fabric detail several ways to get color copies on fabric. These include using bondex mending tape and solvents. These techniques take longer, but have the advantage of not stiffening your fabric.

 Creating Gift Tags and Ornaments

 Printing Miniature Quilts

 Santa and the Elves Search for the Perfect Christmas Tree

Return to Quilt Designs

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Page last updated: November 13, 2001