Learn to Make A Family Memory Quilt
How to Make A Family Memory Quilt with Photos
When I really get excited to begin a new quilt I put every bit of myself into it. Often times it’s a piece of fabric that I absolutely have to sew or a pattern I really want to try. When it comes to creativity, most of us probably rely a lot on our sense of sight and the ability to clearly see our progress. Our vision is an amazingly inspirational component to our creative nature. So much of what we see defines what we think. But, following your heart is based more on emotionally driven inspiration than just doing the same old thing you usually do. This is when it’s time for a family memory quilt. There are so many different ideas to try. I particularly like to print photos onto fabric and use them in quilts. With the right color placement, a rail fence block makes a great autograph pillow. I made one for a friend who was moving away and it provided a perfect place for everyone to write a farewell message. It was a beautiful keepsake to bring to a new home.
Family Memory Quilt Is A Heartfelt Project
For me, a heartfelt project is particularly special because it conveys such a strong message. When our nephew sadly passed away a few years ago, he left his wife and young son behind. Fortunately, they were able to spend an incredible week together as a family away from doctors and hospitals to simply enjoy each other. When I saw their pictures, I knew immediately I had to make a special keepsake. After printing the photos onto fabric, I created a Family Memory Quilt. Our great-nephew and his mother now have a reminder of the wonderful times they enjoyed together as a family. Following your heart will definitely take you where you most want to be. It also may take you on an unexpected sentimental journey. Either way, you will find inspiration when you follow your heart.
Download this Free DIY Quilt Label PDF to Create your own labels!
Making Quilt Labels with Printable Fabric
While making and gifting memory quilts is a great way to commemorate somebody or an event, don’t forget the most important thing…your label. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to express the significance of your quilt to the recipient. Including a personal message that can be frequently re-read emphasizes how meaningful the quilt is.
This is the label I added to Tucker’s quilt. I photoshopped it to include text over the photo. By simply adding a color-filled shape on top of the photo, the words are easily read. Now, whenever this quilt is used there’s a special message as a reminder of its intent.
Printable Fabric for Quilting
Gifts personalized with photographs are always cherished. They bring smiles and conjure old memories. Photographs may be used to commemorate a milestone event like first steps or the first day of school. An oversized pillow emblazoned with familiar faces enjoying time spent together will be held close forever. Or it can become a collection of autographs for a farewell gift. Get creative and personalize your quilted gifts to become forever keepsakes.
My Favorite Printable Fabric
I recommend Colorfast Printable Fabric Sheets. It’s a sheet of cotton fabric that is stabilized to feed through inkjet printers. It’s easy to use in the printer and sews great. I’ve used it for dozens of quilts and pillows with great success every time. Be sure to use an inkjet printer or you won’t get a good quality, long-lasting photo to work with.
The ink is printed directly onto the fabric and sets quickly. The instructions on the package are very self explanatory. I prefer this product over the iron-on sheets because I found those don’t hold up very long. I have a number of pillows with blank centers where the ironed on photo disappeared in the wash.
Here are two tips I strongly recommend. First, when you prepare your photo to be printed, darken or increase the contrast a good 20% – 25% before printing. This will give you more ink saturation and a stronger image. Secondly, be sure to heat set the photo once the ink dries by pressing the back of the photo with your iron. Then let it cool. This will give more permanency to the ink.
Once the ink is set and cooled, trim your image to size including seam allowance. If used as a label, I generally like to add a binding around the edge for a nice finish. It also gives me an easy way to hand-stitch the edges to the quilt back. I also apply a piece of Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 on the back of the label. The adhesive holds it in place as I am hand-sewing, but also creates a more permanent bond once it is pressed into place.
Tips for Printing Personalized DIY Quilt Labels
There are some important steps to keep in mind when printing your own DIY Quilt Labels. First, use printable fabric sheets and an ink jet printer. For the best results, set your printer properties to ‘Best Quality‘. This will allow more ink which gives you a better quality printed label.
Do not use transfer sheets as they are not permanent. The recommended printable fabric sheets are 100% cotton and stabilized to feed easily through the printer. Secondly. for writing on your label use a permanent marker that will not wick or bleed as it will make the writing difficult to read.
Once the labels are printed onto the fabric sheets, let it dry for 15 minutes or so. Then heat set the ink from the back, pressing with a warm (NOT HOT!) iron for more permanency. Sometimes the printable fabric sheets may have a bit of a curl at the edge. If this becomes a problem when feeding the sheets into the printer, simply give it a light pressing on the back side. This will smooth out and straighten the edges, making them easily fed into the printer.
Once this is complete, write the details you want included and sign your quilt label. Then I heat set the quilt label again, from the back. Once it cools, it may be trimmed if needed and prepped to be sewn onto your quilt back. Additionally, pressing a warm iron on the quilt label back can also help if you find the paper difficult to peel off. Then the paper will be easily removed.
More Memory Quilt Projects
Below are more projects using printable fabric for memory quilt photos.
These are members of my Island Quilting Group I belonged to for many years. This photo printed on fabric was used for both going away quilts and pillows. Each member made a block for the quilt top, and they were placed around the center block of this printed photo on fabric. It was a fabulous keepsake for departing quilters to always remember the creativity and friendship shared through quilting.
Looking at this photo today brings back memories of weekends spent quilting and sharing potluck dinners together. Yes, there was also a lot of quilting accomplished, too!
Group Memory Quilts
This quilt was a farewell gift for a departing school principal. The class picture is printed on a fabric sheet and placed in the quilt center. It is surrounded by blocks with each child’s handprint and name. The kids loved being involved in making this special quilt and enjoyed being part of a lasting keepsake. It was a big hit!
How to Make an Easy Blue Jean Rag Quilt Filled with Memories
This denim rag quilt is a compilation of the jeans my son wore as a teenager. We spent a fortune on these embroidered pocketed jeans over the years, and I wasn’t about to throw them away. Every pair had a story to share. Now when his son receives this quilt, he’ll get to relive some of those memories firsthand with his dad. Making a blue jean rag quilt is fun to design and will keep those memories alive for years to come.
Make Your Own Memory Quilt
Whether it’s for yourself to keep personal memories close, or to gift a special quilt to a friend, memory quilts are very meaningful. I hope you have the opportunity to make one soon. Please share your memory quilt projects with me. #inspiredmemoryquilt #createmorebeautyinyourlifeeveryday
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