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Friday, 22 February 2013

Fancy Clothing Label DIY

I realized, as I was finishing up my Sweetheart's jacket, that I wanted to put a label in there as a reminder that I love him and also so he could show it off to people.

I was inspired by this post on the Victory Patterns blog but after much frustration, I couldn't make it work (it's a long and sad story, but you don't need to hear it).

Finally it dawned on me that I knew of another transfer technique that I had used when my Sweetheart and I were making circuit boards for custom guitar pedals that he was designing.

After a little experimenting, I've come up with a process that works pretty well, and allowed me to make much fancier labels.

Of course, I've had to obscure Matt's last name, but the actual label looks really nice in real life, I swear!

You'll need:

  • an iron
  • a hard, flat surface to iron on (I used a clapper)
  • torn out magazine pages
  • access to a laser printer
  • silk (I used a second-hand silk scarf)*
  • tissue paper

1) Design your label. Remember that you need to print it as a mirror image for the transfer to look right when you transfer it. Also, you'll be printing it onto the magazine pages, which are a little narrower than standard letter sized printer paper.

2) Print onto the magazine paper using a lazer printer and making sure that the settings are at the highest quality.

3) Choose where you want your transfer to go on the piece of silk you're using. Arrange the silk face up on the surface you will be pressing on. (I used a clapper with a couple of layers of cotton canvas.) Place your transfer face down where you want it and cover that with a piece of tissue (to protect your silk from getting a shine and to prevent the ink from the magazine page from getting on your iron). From the bottom up, I had: Clapper; a few layers of cotton canvas; silk, facing up; transfer, facing down; tissue; iron.

So pretty, right?

4) Using high heat, press the iron down over your transfer, being careful not to shift anything, and hold it there for about 10 seconds to start the toner melting. At this point, the transfer will be stuck to the silk which is good. It will prevent it from shifting for the next step, which is to continue to press the transfer with little rubbing motions.

Press down firmly and rub that transfer (through the tissue) on to your silk. Thoroughly. Use different parts of the sole plate, use the tip, make sure you get the corners of the transfer. Use little burnishing motions like transferring letraset. (Did anyone else get to play with letraset as a kid? I really enjoyed having a work-from-home graphic designer dad.)

Anyway, keep on rubbing on your transfer for about a minute and then let it cool. It'll only take a second.

5) Remove the paper and admire your gorgeous label! Well, it isn't a label yet, but it will be once you cut it out, stitch the folded under raw edges and sew it into a garment. I used a little card jig to press it into a rectangle.


  • I now have collage-making capabilities, so watch out!
  • I bought a yard of gorgeous wool plaid. It cost $40 which was my first clothing-related cost of February.
  • And then I bought more fabric. $40 worth of shirting cotton.

*If you're going to be putting this label in a garment that will be getting machine washed, you may need to use something other than silk. That's fine, just make sure that it has a very fine weave with as smooth a surface as you can find, or try prewashing your silk and see how it holds up.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Dana! I'm really glad to have met you yesterday and I look forward to immersing myself in your blog. Thanks for the tip on making labels. I usually order them online, but I might consider making them myself next time. Also, the pictures from the meeting are up!