EDIT – 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~
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!
–Fabrico 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.
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.
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!
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:
Or you can can tape up each block individually:
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!