How to Make A Wedding Signature Quilt

Make a Monogram QuiltEDIT – This post was updated September 2013. I’ve been making wedding signature quilts as part of my Etsy business for a few years now and have streamlined things a bit. Here are some signature quilts I’ve made recently for more examples! And here are some tips for bringing a completed quilt to your wedding.

I made a signature quilt for our wedding – you can read more about it here, it was very fun and my sweetie and I love it – we look at it and use it more often than our wedding albums.  It is crazy and colorful like our life and our friends and our house. However, you can make elegant, subdued wedding quilts for your elegant lovely house and lifestyle! One of my favorites is this monogram wedding quilt – instructions on the monogram here~

Wedding Signature Quilt

 Fabric Markers! 

Fabric markers work essentially as a fabric dye, which means the dye may fade over time with many washings like any other fabric. I have washed this quilt 4 times and there is zero fading. I had a test swatch where I’ve tested out the following markers through about 20 washes with only the lightest fading. Since markers work differently on different fabrics, I recommend doing a test run – it only takes a minute!

–I recommend Pigma Micron markers (by Sakura) - in size 08 for the largest tip – which are artist’s markers and found at any art supply store and many craft stores. They come in many colors, are easy to find, easy to use, and very permanent. Yay! 

Wedding Signature Quilt Close UpFabrico Dual markers (by Tsukineko) are nice because they have a two ends — a fine point and a blunt tip. I think the fine tip is a bit small, but the broad tip end is just great to write with. However, these are pricey and hard to find.

–I used FabricMate for my wedding quilt because I found some at a yardsale. They are chunky and bright and dye really nicely. They bright childish colors allowed our guests to express themselves in bright, colorful ways. 

I also have washed and had good results with VersaCraft ink for stamps – NOTE THIS NEEDS TO BE HEAT SET.  One fun option could be to set out some alphabet stamps and random cute stamps with an ink pad for people to play with. I forgot to do this at my wedding.

 

Wedding Signature QuiltsFabric! 

You can use pretty much any quality cotton fabric for a signature quilt. To prep your fabric, you should wash out the sizing – a starch that is put in fabric before it is sold. The sizing/starch can prevent your ink from fully setting in the fabric. After that, iron the fabric and you’re pretty much set! You’ll want to test your markers and fabric!

I don’t recommend: linen, burlap, or any other textured fabric – you should test the fabric first, but I’ve found that these fabrics don’t take ink well and had one disaster (!) where almost all the ink washed out of a linen quilt. Happily, I was able to see enough of the leftover ink to touch up the signatures so you could still read them. BUT STILL.

Pattern:

If you can’t decide which quilt pattern you want, no worries!  My tutorial will allow you to procrastinate this decision until after the wedding when you have way more time to waste staring at quilt patterns.

Some people make the quilt first and then have people sign it, and I have seen this work really well! If you do, however, you might want to have someone stand near the quilt  – because you never know when people will get crazy and write all over the wrong part of the quilt, or spill wine on it, or, golly, have you been to any weddings? I’m sure you can imagine the terrible things that could happen to your quilt!

But! All you really need is a quilt with some places to write on it. 
Is there a more clear way to instruct than "don't write on the tape it won't be included in the final quilt. " #comeon
Prepping your quilt for the Wedding!

If you are bringing unsewn blocks to the wedding, I recommend marking off the edges with 1/4 inch masking tape – as pictured. People DO NOT UNDERSTAND how quilts work and will write all over the seam allowances and even on top of the tape. But the tape really does best to reduce signatures lost to the allowance.

I used to back the blocks with freezer paper to make them more stiff for signing, but I don’t anymore. It doesn’t really make them much sturdier than the tape, and it takes a long time and wastes a lot of paper.  I find people are very able to write on the signature squares without the paper backing.

You can tape the fabric in fat quarters like this to cut it up after the wedding:

August 2011 245

Or you can can tape up each block individually:

Quilt squares prepped for Wedding Signatures!

Random bits of advice: 

  • People will try and use their own pens which are not permanent. I don’t know why. 
  • The sign “Please do not write on or under the tape as it will not be in the final quilt” is not as effective as you might think!
  • You generally need about 50-75% of your guest list in signatures – many people sign by family or simply forget to sign
  • A couple “example” signatures are a great way to get the party started – people can be shy to sign the quilt without some leadership!

36 thoughts on “How to Make A Wedding Signature Quilt

  1. dana Post author

    Hi Sam ! Let me know if it didn’t answer any of your questions. I can go into actually how I cut the fabric to make my quilt if you like, I didn’t have time for this but if it’s helpful, let me know !

    Reply
    1. Sam

      Hey Dana! You definitely answered my questions – and the pictures really helped, too! Thanks again! I really liked your suggestions for other patterns for signature quilts.

      Reply
  2. Kay Postell

    Do you really iron on freezer paper? I make t shirt quilts I wounder if it would on the back for stabilization?

    Reply
  3. dana Post author

    I remove the freezer paper before sewing – I only have it on there to increase the stabilization for writing on. I believe they make specific stablizers for t-shirt quilts – I’d ask a sewing shop!

    Reply
  4. Robbye Carr

    Hello,
    I was wondering if you sell the pattern(instructions) for your Wedding Signature Quilt or list the cutting instructions etc somewhere.Thank you so much !
    Robbye Carr

    Reply
  5. Amy

    Quick question….heading to a destination…decided at last minute to make a signature quilt…I bought pre cut squares and and taking them with me….I’m in mid flight and just had a panic….should I have washed them bf…wondering if ink will fade if I do after it…I’m a novice and not sure…if I need fabric washed bf signing I can probably find a laundromat. Please advise

    Reply
    1. dana Post author

      Hi Amy,

      No, you don’t need to wash them. You might pre-set them by ironing after they are inked to make sure the dye sets as much as possible before washing. I think you would actually probably mess them up by washing them because then they would be all wrinkly and frayed.

      The main issue is always keeping folks from writing in the margins – it is really hard to get people to understand that the outside edge will be covered in the final quilt! You might mark a sample one with tape covering the seam allowance (I usually to 1/4-1/2 inch) with a note that says – “Don’t write along the edges of the fabric, they will be hidden in the final quilt.

      Good luck and safe travels!

      Reply
  6. KimCJ

    I’m making a signature quilt where we’re having everyone sign in a 2x 4 inch box as part of the invitation package- to be sent back with the replies so the quilt can be completed before the wedding and displayed at the reception.

    Reply
    1. dana Post author

      I love this idea! But I don’t always trust guests to remember to send them back – I’d love to know how it turns out! I did this for a graduation quilt and it was a huuuuuuuge effort to get the squares back.

      Reply
  7. amy

    any suggestions for those quest who DID sign their names and draw on the fabric edges? I have to include the pieces but it will look odd that they are ‘cut off’ by the seams-
    I am sure I am not the first person to encounter this :)
    Any suggestions would be appreciated!!
    Thanks-

    Reply
    1. dana Post author

      All I can say is that it is generally less noticeable in the final quilt. Twice when a large number of the blocks have all had signatures on the edge, I have used a seam allowance that was a bit scanter than the standard 1/4 inch on a wall hanging style, then quilted around the edges of each block both to secure the smaller seams and to add some visual interest to distract from the cut off words.

      Reply
    1. dana Post author

      If you use a thin thread (like 50 wt aurifil or a polyester thread), it is not as much as an issue as you might think, you can sew right over the words and it doesn’t really make a difference. You do want to have really accurate piecing to reduce puckering, of course. But if I am worried about it I just sew around the edges of each block or stitch in the ditch instead of free motion and then I’m not sewing over the text. I’ll try and take a picture next time I sew over text to show.

      Reply
      1. Belle

        Thanks, Dana. I’ll try this, but I would like to see a picture if possible! Some of my blocks have quite long messages on them and some don’t. The blocks are 8″ squares, and I’m not comfortable just stitching the ditch.

        Reply
  8. Anne

    Thanks for the tutorial! I’m thinking of making one for my friend’s wedding (pending her approval), but since she and her new husband will be leaving for Asia for six months immediately after the wedding I was planning to have the quilt completed beforehand. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  9. Helen

    Very nice to see your work. I am planning a wedding shower for my niece, and I was thinking of having guests make blocks using colorful fabric markers. Since I will be there, I can make sure that they don’t decorate to the fabric’s edge. Having done several other group quilts, I agree with you that that is the biggest issue, no matter what instructions you give people. I like the idea of taping the edges.

    Reply
  10. Ginny Kandrack

    I’m getting prepared to do one of these for a dear friends sons wedding. This was so very helpful. May I ask what size your blocks are in the first quilt (JHK) and the fourth quilt (BJD)? Also what size are those letters in the monogram?
    Thanks,
    Ginny

    Reply
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  12. Lauren

    Can you explain how you made the rounded corners on the monogram square? White in the center with letters jHk and then the lovely brown rounded corners to make it a square. I’d love to make a block like that.

    Reply
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  15. Barbara

    On monogram large initial last name of couple. Is there a certain order of initials for bride and groom?

    Reply
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