Thursday, January 31, 2019

A Lettering Tutorial

Well it has been about a month since we wrapped up our Flora and Fauna of Germany Stitch-Along and I (Kara) have been diligently sewing the blocks together. I put together the fabric blocks and even got the border on them, but I felt it needed a little something now that I could see them all put together. Lettering popped into my head as just that something. Since each block has a name, inking that on the block—reminiscent of the old botanical prints—seemed like a good idea. It was a bit of a gamble because once done, it cannot be undone. In spite of that I forged ahead and thought I would show you how I did it.

My handwriting is certainly not nice enough to freehand the blocks, but Microsoft Word has all sorts of options for fonts. I created a document with all the block titles on it in the Edwardian Script font. This font seemed to work best for that vintage look. Two columns with a line down the center  of each allowed me to line them up, correctly centered on the blocks as you will see further on.

The next step was to spray the whole paper on the front with a temporary adhesive. I used 505 as it doesn't get too sticky. 

Next, I cut out each title and put them aside while I prepared my blocks. Ideally, you would do the inking before you put the blocks together but I wasn't going to be taking mine apart just for this. The blocks finish at 6" square so I found the center, made a small line, and then drew a line 1/4" from the bottom edge.

Ready to line it up.

Once my lines were drawn, I turned on my light-box and positioned my paper title underneath the block. I double checked multiple times to make sure I had the right title for the right block. 

Lined up  and ready to ink.

The temporary adhesive on the paper holds it to the fabric without having to worry that it will shift while inking. Before I inked on the blocks, I practiced a bit on a piece of scrap muslin. I then took the plunge and traced over the letters with my Micron pen. 

Micron pen in size .05 and color #117

The best advice is to go slowly and gently. Downward strokes are usually easiest and I tried to write with a light hand.

A nice bright light-box is essential! 

I took my time on each one and I tried not to hurry. After you are finished, you need to let the ink set for a couple of hours before you try to remove your blue marking pencil if you used one. Here are a few of the blocks once they were finished:

The inking is a subtle detail but I think it adds that little something to all the blocks. I have only inked the cotton blocks because the light box I had borrowed was not bright enough to shine through the linen background of the wool blocks. It may be that the wool version will be sans inking! 

If you would like to ink your blocks as well, you can download the titles HERE, Let us know if you have any questions about inking.

Soon we will show all the blocks together, both cotton and wool. If you have created any of the blocks, we would love to see them! 


  1. Nice job.
    Pat Lauen

  2. Such gorgeous blocks! And, thank you for the tutorial!

  3. I love this script & have been using it for several years for my quilt labels. I searched for a method for writing on quilts after taking a couple of classes with Elly Sienkiewicz & having her inscribe the student's blocks freehand. I am not yet good enough to freehand, but the tracing works well for me.

  4. Normally I spend too much time trying to find the right font for something but this was one was perfect right from the start! Someday I would love to be able to freehand my lettering but not sure when that "someday" will be :)