After paper crafting my second craft love is to sew. I had been wanting to make some fabric luggage tags for ages. The Bower fabric pens were a wonderful way to decorate them how I wanted and to see how the pens performed at the same time.
1. Cut 2 pieces of thick Calico fabric ( or any cotton fabric ) to the size you want your finished tag plus 1/2 inch seam allowance. Don't make your tags too small or they will be difficult to sew and turn later.
By seam allowance I mean add 1/2 inch to all 4 sides of your tag. Then when you stitch the tag together sew 1/2 inch in from the side all the way around. This is called a seam allowance.
2. I wanted to see how well the pens did when using them with rubber stamps and through a stencil.
First the stamps.
I carved myself a little aeroplane stamp, you can use any stamp you have, and then just used the fabric pen to scribble over the stamp until it was well covered in the ink, then I stamped it onto my calico fabric.
I chose to use the light blue for my Aeroplanes.
I also stamped onto the second piece of Calico for the back.
I then needed to cut an aperture out of the middle of my front piece of fabric.
To make the aperture I drew a rectangle onto the reverse of the stamped fabric where you want your aperture to be. I then drew a cross from corner to corner and cut along the lines and folded the triangles back along the lines as shown. If the tops of the Triangles poke out over the edge of your tag, just snip them off.
Then I tried the pens with a stencil.
This worked well too. I chose the red pen and a star stencil.
3. You need to set the Fabric pen ink by ironing your fabric. I recommend doing as they say and cover your fabric with a cloth to protect your iron. If you do get ink on the base of your iron, let it cool and then wipe it off. Do check that you get it all off your iron before you iron hubbies white work shirt though!!
4. Now to sew our tag together.
First stitch around the aperture to hold your triangle flaps down.
Then, with printed sides together, sew all the way around your tag. You don't need to leave a gap to turn your tag as shown in the photo, you can use the great big aperture to do that. I would of worked that out if I had thought about it!! I did realise after I had struggled for a while to turn my tag through the tiny gap I had left.
5. So turn your tag the right way out and then give it a good press with your iron, not forgetting the cloth.
6. I then sewed a button hole through both layers of the tag, I found that quicker than doing 2 separate ones on each layer of the tag before I stitched the tag together, as I had done on my star tag here. If you don't want to do a button hole then just stitch your ribbon to your tag.
7. To finish my tag I cut a piece of card and added my details. I also cut a piece of thick plastic to cover my details and protect them from rain etc. I used a piece of plastic packaging you get on everything as this will hold the tag stiffer. Once I was happy with the fit I used a fabric glue or any strong glue and glued the plastic piece in place by applying the glue around the edges of the aperture and then putting something heavy on top until the glue is dry.
8. Then add a nice piece of ribbon through your button holes and attach to your bag! You might want to put a couple of stitches through the knot just to make sure you don't loose your beautiful new tag.
So now we have a finished the tag what did I think of the pens?
Well, to be honest I have not used many fabric pens before but I found the Bower Fabric Pens -
* Nice and easy to use and come in nice sturdy carry case too.
* They didn't bleed into the fabric and the colours came out nice and bright.
* They worked very well on the stamps.
* Didn't bleed through the stencil.
* Great price too
Only one down point -
* The nib did felt up as you used them. I don't know if this was the fabric I was using but it was a bit annoying. I could just remove the fluff and it was fine again. Although you did loose the point from the nib a bit.
I don't think the felting would stop me recommending then though. At £8.99 for 10 pens, 8 different colours and 2 blacks ( when this blog was written) on Amazon they are a great price and if you want to try fabric pens out they are a great set to go for. They would be great for children to use too.
Bower are a young British company who sell through Amazon.
you can find their fabric pens here -
Bower Watercolour pens here -
Thank you Bower for sending them to me.