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Friday
Apr052013

How to Make an Embroidered Signature Block

After I posted this photo of a quilt top I finished a few weeks ago, I got a lot of questions about how to make an embroidered signature block.

So I thought I'd write a tutorial for you.  (I've put a link under Tutorials on the right side of this page for future reference.)

No, I confess this is not my handwriting. 

My handwriting is terrible.  I blame it on college note-taking in the "olden days" before laptops when all we had was paper and pens.

Yes, I could take my time and write out something semi-decent.  But it never looks nice enough to me.

Ironically, however, I encourage other people to use their own handwriting because ... well, I think we can all agree that it's more ... special, right? 

(And yes, I am familiar with the definition of the word "hypocrate".) 

I love seeing things written by my own ancestors.  But I'm just not proud enough of my own penmanship to want to immortalize it with embroidery.

So I cheat - just a little bit - and use computer fonts. If you'd like to cheat too, here's how.

First, I think it's important to note that fonts have personalities.  Non-crafty people think the idea of fonts having personalities is ridiculous.  They don't get it.  Kinda like how I don't get chemistry or football or jazz music, I suppose.  But fonts can convey mood, style and tone.  I'm not kidding.  So use them to your advantage.

I always start with the fonts on my computer.  But when I get an idea for a look that can't be represented by one of those fonts, I go Googling for "free fonts".  The stuff that's out there!  Whoa!  Sometimes it takes a while to find the right font if you've got something specific in mind. 

Also try searching for fonts on Pinterest.  There are lots of font boards over there too, and many of the original posts also have links to the font source.

Inspired by the colors in the fabric - especially the blue/green and tomato red - I started looking for a font with a fun, retro vibe.

I decided on a 50s /60s era style that reminded me of a diner ... or the tv show "Bewitched".  I found this font called Stalemate, downloaded it, opened Word on my computer, typed my text onto 2 lines, centered them, adjusted the font size to fit my block and printed it on regular paper. 

Voila!  My customized embroidery template.

Then I used a Micron Pigma Pen to trace my design onto the fabric.

I could have matched my embroidery floss to any color found in the quilt.  But I wanted my stitches to be bright and the words easy to read, so I went with the red. 

When choosing a font to embroider, size matters!  The smaller the font - and the less space you have to apply your text onto the fabric - the simpler it should be. 

Now I prefer stitching with 2 plies of floss most of the time.  If I have a large, thin font, I might go with 3 plies.  Or if I have a tiny, delicate font - like I used here for my Farmer's Wife quilt - I'd use a single ply.

My best advice is to really study the letters in a font, see how much detail they have and decide how much work you want to put into stitching them.  My signature block here didn't take much work at all - one clean font, one color of floss, one easy stitch, one plain fabric ...

I hope I've convinced you that clean and simple doesn't mean a complete yawnfest either.  I think this font has loads of personality and interest.  I like the character it adds to my quilt.  And I like that my "label" has become part of the quilt top, instead of being hidden on the back.

Hope you find some stitching time this weekend.  Maybe dig out a quilt that hasn't been labelled yet ... ;)

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Reader Comments (31)

Love this tutorial, Kristyne! I can't wait to try it! Thanks o:)
April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDenise in PA
Thank you for posting this tutorial! Love it!!
Have you ever used or heard of FriXion pens from Pilot? They are amazing. You can write on fabric and after you quilt or embroider on the fabric just take a hot/warm iron and lightly go over it. The ink disappears! Magic!! It comes in different colors and can be found in most office supply shops.
April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie J
I'm going to definitely try bringing my quilt labels to the front whenever I can. And you make it look so beautiful, that it should be showcased! Thanks for the tips!
April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
It adds the perfect touch! Thanks for your tips! And I'm so proud of you, using red floss and all! ;)
Thanks for your tutorial! Most of the time I forget to lable my quilts (yeah, I know!) but now I hope to lable my next quilt with a little embroidery!
Have a wonderful weekend, Hildy
April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHildy
I'm gutted, I thought that was your handwriting ! ;)
I loved Bewitched, I always wanted to be able to deal with people with a wiggle of my nose.
Happy weekend K,
V x
April 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergreenrabbitdesigns
Thank you for this post! This is exactly what I needed right ow. I am getting quilts ready for a Canadian exhibit of our quilts in Glendive, Montana this month. I don't k ow why I don't put more thought into the label like I do for the rest of the quilt!
April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChrista
Thank you so much! This is excellent information. I'm guilty of not labeling my quilts at all. I like how you just put your name, place, and date. I think I can manage that. :)
April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSheri Salatin
You are AWESOME!
April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Sanders
Your timing is perfect! I am guilty also of not labeling,too much trouble.. This looks really impressive! Great tutorial!
April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBonnie Nyquist
Thank you for this great information, you have given me an idea. My mom had lovely handwriting and I've just been sorting through old cards and letters of hers, some include poems or poetic descriptions...I think I will enlarge one and embroider it. Thanks for the inspiration!
April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDhonna
Thanks, Mom! xoxo
April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBari Jo
Wonderful idea and THANK YOU for the tutorial!! Is it okay if the quilting happens to go over/through the embroidery or is this not a problem?? Thanks for your help!
April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTina
I just love this idea of yours, and the font you've chosen too! Such pretty patchwork and I love your colours.
April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobin
Thanks for this tutorial. I have many quilts without labels so I will have to get stitching. On another note, my copy of "S is for Stitch arrived today from Chapters/Indigo and I am just making a cup of tea now that the kids are in bed and I can sit down with it and enjoy without interruptions. :) It's a good day when fun stuff like that comes in the mail.
April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnita
Fascinated by your work and the wonderful blog!
Greetings from Ukraine :)
April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVasilinka
Thank you for the tutorial, I can't wait to add an embroidered label to my next quilt! I also really enjoyed the pictures of your house construction. We have built 3 houses, and it is so much fun to see it come together! Did you show us where your sewing room will be?
April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaryE
Thanks so much for sharing your technique with us! I totally agree that fonts have personality! Even when printing a label for a package I'm sending, I'll spend time trying out different fonts - crazy, I know! But an embroidered label would be lovely on the back of a quilt as well.
April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDonna
Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us I didn't know that you could do download a font and use it in wordperfect. It looks just perfect on your quilt I personally wouldn't have chose red and not to say it was a bad chose its just I'm scared to use red on my quilts. I have had problems with bleeding when I have used red thread before. Do you do anything when it comes to certain colors before using them on your projects?
April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLindy
What a beautiful, beautiful blog!! This tutorial is amazing!! Hugs ♥ Vicky ♥
April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVicky Lovejoy
Thank you for the tutorial! I will attempt an embroidery label for my next finished quilt.
April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJacqueline
How wonderful idea and beautiful fabrics!!
Your work is sound like fun! :))
April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSakae Yoshihara
This is so lovely...I love your blog and your adorable header...so happy you came to visit me.
April 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkoralee
Beautiful idea, thorough instructions and fabulous execution! So, so lovely.
April 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnn
Thank you so very much for this tutorial. My handwriting is really bad and this will be so great to make labels for my quilts. YAY you!!!
April 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatti
I really like your Log Cabin version, very interesting. I've wanted to make a small block, so
I am going to try it !!

Thank You,
Linda
September 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Janovitz
I have tried downloading the font and it says it isnt't available??
May 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAudrea
I LOVE your site!! Thank you for such an informative post. I don't quilt much, but I embroider A TON!! I've used this process many, many, MANY times in the past, and your post explains how to do it very well!!

Another site for FREE FONTS (I hate to sound like an ad bot or something!) is www.dafont.com. It has a ridiculous amount of free fonts.

One last thing, and I hate to point this out because it sounds critical, but you misspelled "hypocrite" as "hypocrate."
October 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
A fabulous idea. It looks so pretty. I love it!
March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGrace
I have been "studying " labels and how to make them for too long! I finally found your's and not only did you have the same charm pack, but I love the way you see the personality of each font, and how important it is to get the right one!
This quilt is one I just finished for my granddaughter to be in a month, and it has to be just right because it is my daughter's first, and I am feeling very attached to this precious child already :)
I have yet to find the right font, even though I have searched for days....but thank you for your imput,and the "hows" to get this accomplished. I finally feel like I could go forward and do this!!
April 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia
Thanks so much for the tutorial. I have machine embroidered labels, but as a novice, I use the fonts that are loaded into the machine (I know....I should learn..). I have done the signature download thing and used a pen, but like the floss look so much more. You have inspired me!

(PS: we are thrilled that a stunning, smart, crafty young lady from Calgary will be joining our family this summer!)
April 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMary Fee

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