QR Codes on Fabric?

Let’s talk about out of the box uses for QR codes. As an amateur crafter, quilter, and all around lover of fabric, I would love to see what uses we can find for QR codes in this field. Visions come to mind of QR code fabrics with black and white patterns so that your tech-savvy children can scan and decode the quilt you made them years down the road to get special messages or life lessons passed down. And with that thought I realize that with today’s fabric stamping technology and the ease of QR code generation, this is not a far fetched idea at all. In fact, someone else has probably already done this. However, I originally had some different ideas in mind for use of QR codes on fabric.

As anyone who has ever made a quilt or really anything out of fabric can most likely attest to, there is a box somewhere in your house with scraps of fabric left over from every project you have ever completed or attempted. Inevitably, you will be looking through that box at some point for fabric to fill some void in a new project you have started and you will inevitably find the perfect fabric in that box, only to discover you are a yard short. Now since you probably bought the original fabric years ago and cant even remember what the heck you used it for originally, the chances of remembering where it came from or how much it cost, are pretty slim. But what if there was a QR code on the fabric that provided you with all that info?

I am not sure at this point exactly how this would work, the QR codes would need to be stamped somehow on the back of the fabric in a color light enough to not bleed through, but dark enough to be scan-able, and with enough of a frequency that you are likely to find this code remaining on any scrap you may have. This does sound difficult but not impossible. Or maybe it would only be along the finished edge, where the fabric pattern typically stops short anyway, so it wouldn’t get it the way, but it would be along the whole length of the pattern. This may be less likely to be found on any random scrap, but still a feasible solution.

Then the QR code could even provide additional information. It could link to store databases and alert you to how much is left in stock and if there are any coordinating items. This could include any matching fabrics, or fabric from the same design series If it is from one, or even a recommended thread match. Maybe it could also provide the basic material composition, care instructions, and any special sewing machine requirements, such as tension settings or recommended needle gage.

Now, I’m not saying that QR codes are necessary for fabric in any way, as crafting and quilting is a field that is certainly not always fixed on staying on top of technology. I am sure there are those of you out there who laugh at the idea of quilting with a sewing machine. But if QR codes are the wave of the future that they seem to be, why can’t the benefits extend to this field as well. And to be honest, I am sure there are hundreds, if not more, of additional uses for QR codes in fabric that I have not yet begun to think about. I hope someday I will be pleasantly surprised when I walk into my neighborhood fabric shop.