Friday, February 17, 2012

Fabric Heart Tags: Written Instructions {Gail}


Supplies I used:
Fabric for front and back of tags in various pinks and reds
Fabric for the “banner” where you write the sentiment in very light pink
Thin batting (Warm and White)
Disappearing fabric marking pen, chalk pencil
Pinking shears, scissors
Freezer paper
Bottles of acrylic craft paint (white, light/med pink, dark pink)
Stiff flat edged paint brush
Permanent markers to write sentiments
          I liked Micron Brush marker and Zig Memory Writer narrow end best.
Embellishments, such as buttons, ribbon or trim. etc.
Hanging loop: narrow ribbon, cording, floss, elastic cord, etc.
Straight pins
Sewing machine with pink all purpose thread (I used a darker color of pink in the bobbin) and a size 80/12 or 90/14 Universal or Sharp needle

Fabric Prep:
1.     With heart template and disappearing marker or chalk, trace heart shape onto fabrics and batting. It is easier to mark batting by using dots around the template instead of drawing a line. If your template is asymmetrical, turn it over when tracing onto backing fabric. Don’t forget to take a look at the reverse side of your fabric – you can use it, too.
2.     Cut out fabric using pinking shears. I like to cut the fabric just to the outside of the marked line and the batting on or just inside the line so it doesn’t stick out very far. You can trim things later if needed.
3.     Tear one crosswise edge of banner fabric starting at least 1/2” up from cut edge; try again at least ½” up if you didn’t get a good tear all the way across. Clip selvage about 1” up from torn edge and tear a 1” strip to use. Cut off selvages, then pull the loosest threads away. Press flat, then press onto the shiny side of freezer paper taking care to cover freezer paper with another sheet of something so shiny stuff doesn’t melt onto iron.

4.     With lightest and dark shade of paint, dip wet brush into both colors, one color on each corner, picking up about twice as much light color as dark if your fabric is light. In an empty area of your palette work the brush back and forth to spread the colors into the brush. Add water if needed. Leaving as much paint behind as possible, touch brush to scrap cloth to dry for an instant.  Brush fabric very lightly in parallel strokes with paintbrush already in motion before it touches fabric. Keep brush just whispering across the surface as much as possible. Don’t go for full coverage, just get a textured look. I then went back with full-strength light pink paint and a dry brush to add Hardly Any extra highlights. For added visual texture, go back and “kiss” the fabric here and there using watered down medium tone paint (blend your paints) and a dry brush. Let dry. Cover with scrap paper and press to heat set. 
5.     Using light shade of paint (I used the med pink), very watered down, and a damp brush, highlight front heart fabric. Try not to saturate fabric. You can go back in and do more, but you can’t do less ;)  Use a clean wet brush to dampen disappearing ink lines. When dry, cover and heat set.

Very watered down acrylic craft paint, for highlighting fabric heart pieces.
      Banner writing
6.     Select any embellishments you might want to use, such as buttons.
7.     Experiment with pens on the end of banner fabric strip – ink will bleed on unpainted parts, use a light touch. Mark out a length to use for each heart (clip it out of the strip if you want but leave it on freezer paper backing). Write sentiments. I like to practice writing just before I do this to get the right sizing: outline a space on scrap paper the same size as your fabric area, place any embellishments you need to work around, and practice writing your words a few times, remembering to use a light touch and leave space for the ink to spread.

Stack up the layers. Batting can be cut with pinking shears and peek out the edges of the finished tag,
or it can be trimmed smaller so you rarely see it, as on the left.
Don't get too precise; these are a simple, quick project and casual look.

Stitching it all together
8.     Set machine to narrow zigzag and 20 st/in (1.2mm). Zigzag top and bottom edges of banner strip to front heart piece, leaving ends unsecured. Clip threads at both ends after evening up the tension if bobbin thread shows on top, to 1/8-1/4”. Stack three layers, pin parallel to the edges ½” tin all the way around. Shorter pins work best for these small areas. Place pins with the points pointing counter-clockwise!
9.     Set machine to straight stitch, 12-15 st/in (2-2.5mm). Starting at bottom corner, stitch about 1/8” to 1/4” away from edge. Every so often, backstitch about 1/4 inch: stitch forward and backstitch to “sketch” the border of the heart in stitching. This makes going around curves really easy! Also place fingertip in center of heart lobe and anchor it to help your machine stitch the curve. 
10.                        At the inside corner, stitch past point several stitches, then reverse one stitch at a time, testing for the correct pivot point. When you find the right point, stitch backwards one or two stitches, then continue forward around second lobe. This gives the inner point a sketched look, too. If you want to skip the sketchy look, mark your pivot point with marking pen.
11.                        To end, stitch to the corner, meeting up with starting stitches; pivot and stitch over starting stitches ¼” then reverse to corner. Clip all 4 threads to ¼” long and leave loose.

See previous post for a quick and easy way to use your machine to stitch down buttons!

12.                        Touch all ends of stitching lines with fray blocking product if desired. Stitch by hand or machine to add embellishiments. Stitch on elastic or ribbon hanging loop just below point of heart on back.
13.                        TA DAAAA! Fabric heart tags to use for whatever you think of!

© Gail Colvin 2012 Please credit if using directions for mention or project.

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