How to label a quilt: 7 ideas from popular authors
Posted byJenny Wilding Cardonon July 26, 2012, inquilting & sewingquilting for beginnersquilting tutorials
The quilt label. The very-very-last-last detail to place on a quilt so you can put a fork in it and call it done. When Ive sewn the last stitch on my binding and spread my quilt out to gush, smile, and smoothand then realize when I turn it over that Ive forgotten to add a quilt labelmy brow furrows. Dang. I thought I was finished!
Nope. Im not. Because you gotta add a label. You just gotta.
No matter what your quilt is intended foreveryday use, special-occasion use, heirloom use (which meansnouse!)quilts need labels. The next time youre nearing the end of a project, ask your quilt a question: Where will you be in 10, 20 50 years? If your quilt doesnt answer, she doesnt know. And thats why you need to make sure a label will link her directly back to you. No matter whereyouare.
After reading several Martingale authors ideas for how to label a quilt, Im starting to unwrinkle my brow a bit. Their collective advice? You made it. OWN IT! Claim and credit your quilts. Make sure your far-in-the-future heirs know how gifted you really were.
From simple to showy, here are a few ways in which Martingale authors create their quilting labels.
Carrie Nelson, author ofSchnibbles Times TwoandAnother Bite of Schnibbles
The labels on my small quilts are machine stitched onto the backing fabric before quilting, while the labels on the big quilts are pieced, and then sewn into the backing itself.
As for what should be on the label, the answer is: whatever you want to include. My friend Karen Housner, a certified quilt appraiser, says that anything and everything I can do on the label to personalize it is a good thing. So my labels always include the following:
The name of the quiltmaker: that would be
The name of the gloriously talented machine quilter who has had to work so hard to make me look better than I am
Phoenix, Arizona, which is where I live
The year and sometimes the month that the quilt was completedespecially if its for a special occasion, event, or purpose
Anything else I deem relevant at the time
Vicki Bellino, author ofEnglish Paper PiecingandBloom Creek Quilts
Ive tried using many different types of quilt labels: preprinted labels sold on the bolt, packaged muslin label sheets, and traced designs from books. There were times when none of them were what I wanted, and I was usually unhappy with my handwriting! So, I started playing around with freezer paper and using my computer and inkjet printer to make my labels. One thing led to another, and now I look forward to creating a custom label for all of the quilts I make. This is how I do it.
Note:This method is to be used with an inkjet printer onlylaser printers could be damaged by the combination of heat and freezer paper.
1. On the computer, center and type the information you want to appear on your label, such as the name of the quilt, the size, who made it, the city, and the date, etc. Choose a font you like, but bold type will show up the best on your label.
2. Iron the fabric you want to use for the label onto the shiny side of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of freezer paper. (The precut freezer-paper sheets work best.) Place the freezer-paper sheet into your printer so that when it feeds through the printer, the label information will print onto the fabric side. Print the label.
3. Peel back the fabric from the freezer-paper sheet and heat set the ink with a hot, dry iron, or use a commercial solution such as Bubble Jet Set to set the ink into the label. The solution is highly recommended if you use colored ink. Its available at many quilt shops and online.
4. Trim the label fabric and add borders 1 to 1 1/2 wide using leftover fabric from the quilt. If youve used fabrics from a specific fabric line, you might want to cut a strip of selvage that shows the name of the fabric designer, the name of the fabric line, and the fabric company, and include that in the border of the label. Another option is to add appliqu that was used in the quilt. You might also insert a 1/4 flange that frames the label prior to adding a border. These are just a few ideas . . . be creative and add your own personal touches!
5. Turn under the raw edges of the label approximately 1/4 and press. Position the label near one of the bottom corners on the back of the quilt and pin in place. Hand stitch to the backing fabric around all four sides of the label.
Another example of a quilt label from Vicki Bellino
Kay Mackenzie, author ofScrap-Appliqu PlaygroundInspired by Tradition, andEasy Appliqu Blocks
When Im making a quilt, I keep the leftover fabrics handy until Im totally done with the project. Its fun to use leftovers from the front of the quilt to frame the label on the back.
I use a permanent fabric marker to write the information on the label. Then I back the label with another piece of light fabric to prevent the backing fabric from showing through. I sew strips of fabric onto the label to make a simple frame, sides first, and then top and bottom (or the other way around). You can use the same fabric on all four sides, one fabric for the sides and a different fabric for the top and bottom, or four different fabrics.
Press under 1/4 all the way around the edges of the label, baste it to the back of the quilt, and hand stitch in place, sewing through the backing fabric only.
Heather Willms and Elissa Willms, authors ofDouble TakeandChristmas Quilts from Hopscotch
We find it easiest to attach the label after the binding has been machine stitched to the quilt top but before its been hand sewn to the quilt back.
1. Place the label at the lower-left corner of the quilt back, aligning the edges with the side and bottom of the quilt, and pin in place. Machine baste a scant 1/4 from the edge of the quilt, sewing along the bottom and left edges of the label. Stop sewing at least 1/4 from the corner of the quilt. The basting stitches should run right alongside the stitching line (in the seam allowance) for the binding.
2. Hand stitch the label to the quilt back along the upper and right sides of the label. Then fold the binding over the raw edges of the quilt and label and hand sew the binding to the back of the quilt.
Kim Diehl,author of the bestsellingSimple series of quilt books, shares these three easy ideas for making and attaching quilting labels.
1. To easily stabilize the cloth while you write, first iron a piece of freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric. After the writing is complete, remove the paper. Press the raw edges under 1/4 and baste or pin them in place. Use a small dot of basting glue in the seam allowance of each corner to anchor the label onto the backing, and then hand stitch it to the back of your quilt.
2. Put any orphan block to good use, regardless of its pattern. Simply add a muslin border to each raw edge of the block, and use a fine-tipped permanent fabric marker to record information about your quilt. Use matching thread to appliqu your one-of-a-kind label to the back of your quilt.
3. For quilts that are extra special and destined to become family heirlooms, try this clever approach to attaching your quilt label. Prepare your label as usual, and then use a hot iron to press under the raw edges approximately 1/4 on all sides. Anchor each pressed seam allowance in place with a small dot or two of liquid fabric glue. Next apply a thin layer of adhesive basting spray to the wrong side of the prepared label, and press it firmly into place onto the back of your layered quilt sandwich. As your quilting stitches are sewn theyll include your label, and it will become an integral part of your finished quilt for a secure and lasting record of your handiwork.
How do you labelyourquilts?Do you use the same technique every time, or do you mix it up depending on the quilt? Share your ideasin the commentsfor other quilters to try!
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On the guild raffle quilt, a member machine embroiders the information directly on the backing fabric.
I either write directly on the quilt back or make sure the label is added to the back BEFORE the quilting is done to make it harder for the label to be removed.
I make a square and print the label information on fabric run through my printer and fold the fabric into a triangle and sew it into a corner while attaching the binding. When I hand stitch the binding it becomes a pocket in the corner.
Thanks for posting this! I have been looking for ideas on quilt labeling for awhile, and your post has really helped me out. I hope you dont mind, but I posted a note and a link to this on my blog to share with my friends and readers!
Gina, were so glad that you found it useful! By all means, spread the word!
I have 2 methods I usually use: 1. I have a friend who has an embroidery machine and shell make any kind of printing for me I request, shes even starting adding design elements into the labels. And now 2. Ive discovered that I can use my inkjet printer to make labels. I use the Paint feature of Microsoft Office and great whatever picture design goes with my quilt, add text and then print it onto fabric that has been fused to freezer paper. Press with a hot dry iron to set the ink. I always press under the edges by 1/4 and when sewing down binding I put the label in a corner and sew the binding down catching the label in the stitch and applique sew the two other sides down.
I use a business card template. Every January I print one page of labels on fusible fabric. Each label has my business name and logo, my name and the year. There is space to write in the name of the quilt on each label.
I can then cut them apart as I need them and fuse them to the back of my quilts. I get 30 labels per sheet and only have to print them once a year.
I machine embroider my labels on muslin bordered by fabrics from the quilt top. It is the last step for each of my quilts. Before I had my own machine I paid someone else to do the labels. I always include a dedication.,full date., my full name and town plus state.
I always sign and date my quilts by writing directly unto the fabric- depending on the colors of the fabric, would dictate where I sign it. I try to find a conspicuous place, but when I am folding a gift quilt before wrapping it, I always try to make sure that my signature is noticed. I write something like made with love for you by. With some of my baby quilts, I include a marker that the parents can use to record babies firsts- ie: tooth, step, baptism/christening, etc.,and of course directions on how to set the ink and also care for the quilt. I have some quilts that MY grandmother made for me when I was very young, but we have no idea exactly when they were made. thats sad.
Questionwhat is the life of a label done on the ink jet. I hope my quilts will still be around for my great grand children.
Using free motion I stitch my name, name of quilt and date onto a piece of fabric used in the quilt, then cut borders to add to the name plate. I ALWAYS slip a small piece of fusible web under the label before I hand stitch it to the quilt and touch it with an iron so that it is permanently attached before adding the binding.
I like the idea of printing on a square, folding it in half and forming a small pocket in the corner. The idea came from a Bonnie on 07/26/12 (thats my name also). You dont have to hand sew it on or have quilting lines over it. Great idea!!
Love all the ideas! I also use my ink jet printer but instead of freezer paper, I cut my material into an 8-1/2 by 11 piece, iron and starch it, and then run it through the printer. Ive never had a jam yet.
I sew quilts for my family and each label I type out a sweet message for my children and then print the label out and handsew on the back of the quilt. My children love their quilts from mom/grandma.
Hi. I have a embroidery machine, I choose a design that I can make adding my information for my quilt in the center. I make up the label by embroidering the design and the name of quilt, maker, quilter, year, place, and anything else wanted on that label. After stitching this out and turning edges of top, and both sides, I place it along the bottom of the back of the quilt and include it in the stitching of the binding. I hand stitch the remaining three sides to the back of the quilt, being careful not to let any stitches show through the front. This way it is not likely to come loose from the quilt.
I love the use of selvages. What a fun ideathank you! I use a wealth of preprinted label forms or blocks with enough white space to allow writing. Im particularly fond of some Lorilei blocks from years ago. The Identi-pens are very stable and do not wash out. I put on the name of the quilt, my name as maker, the date, my hometown and the initials of my guild (just to see who notices!). As I moved, the labels have become a sort of diary. I stitch my labels to the backing before quilting and then quilt through them.
I usually make a handwritten label using a pigma pen on muslin and hand stitch it onto the back (name, year, location, sometimes fiber contents). In addition I try to find an inconspicuous place on the front on which to write my name and the year in pigma pen in case the label comes unsewn over time and wear. If its a special quilt, I will do a hand embroidered label as I did on a quilt for my son and daughter-in-law for their wedding. I like the idea of quilting through the label to make it a more permanent part of the quilt. There are also some really nice quilt care labels available that I think would also be a good addition.
I have labeled most of my quilts over the last 14 years by designing a label on the computer with the usual information and adding my title the Rocking Horse Lady and a little rocking horse.
I recently sold a small table topper and bread basket I had made and labeled. A couple of days later I was at a flea market and spotted it at one of the booths. I couldnt believe my eyes. Then I turned it over, and someone had cut my label out. Talk about being shunned. I quickly bought it back.
Dont think I ever want to sell a quilt again.
I agree, quilts need a label. My favourite method is to print a label then add a border, however I always sign my quilts by hand. I also hide a couple of scraps of fabric from the quilt (laying flat) under the label, just in case it ever needs mending. In the last few years since I started doing this Ive only had to mend one little tear and my small hidden stash of needle turn patching fabric was so handy.
I do a combo of the above. I use already paper-backed fused fabric which can be purchased. (I prefer EQ brand). I use a whole 8 1/2 xy 11 sheet and turn it to landscape set-up with 2 columns. I write using different fonts, sizes all the info I want to put on. I print it out on regular paper. Then on the other half of the regular paper, I put a picture of the person receiving the quilt (ie, baby, wedding couple etc.) I then put this paper into my ink-jet printer and scan/print onto this already made paper/plastic backed fabric. I follow the instructions that come with the purchased paper. I also heat set the picture/ writing. I cut the finished label in half, trimming to a desired size. Then I use fabric from the front of the quilt to frame the picture and writing separately. I hand sew it onto the back. The first thing people do upon receiving the quilt is to check the label.
Rather than try and turn under a quarter inch before hand stitching the label in place, I face the label with some stabilizer. Stitch the stabilizer to the front of the label using a quarter inch seam all the way around with your machine. Then slash the stabilizer and flip it to the back of the label encasing all of your seams. As the stabilizer is now on the back of the label, there is no need to stitch up the slash where you turned it inside out. Stabilizer is so lightweight that it adds very little bulk and can be attached to your quilt by hand stitches or machine. I usually machine stitch labels on quilts that will be frequently washed.
Love the idea of sidestepping the turning-under process, Pennythanks for adding your idea! Im gonna try this.
I do what Heather and Elissa do for the most part, using all the info that Carrie does on the label. On occasion Ive written right on the quilt back, and if I am able to use both sides of a quilt, I will only put my initials in a camoflaged area.
I use an old fashioned method to label my quiltsembroidery! The greatest demand is for baby quilts. I embroider the babys name, birthday, and sometimes weight or other information, per parental request on the quilt. I then embroider the quilt title and date and add one of my preprinted quilt labels that are commercially available through most mainstream craft companies.
I usually make a label using my embroidery sewing machine. Sometimes I add a design, but always my name, date, name of quilt and place of residence.
I usually generate a computer printed label. I attach mine in the lower right corner, anchoring in the right side and bottom into the binding seam, and turning under the remaining two sides. Sometimes, I add a small piece of the challenge fabric, or companion fabric, as an accent, but I admit the last one I did was straight from the computer, fusible on the back, smacked with an iron into the lower right corner, and stitched into the binding seam. Nothing fancy, just functional. I usually use the challenge fabric on the back, and adding another huge flower on the back seemed redundant. Hope the judges dont judge me down for it.
I create a quilt label in my 5D Professional Machine Embroidery software program, send it electronically to my sewing/embroidery machine (or I use a USB stick), and stitch it out in the hoop. I then trim it to size, put a backing wrong sides together with the finished label, stitch and turn, press it, and attach it to the quilt in the lower left-hand corner incorporating it with the binding on the left and bottom sides of the label. I then hand-stitch around the other two sides of the label and wella it is done!
I always do a very basic, occasionally framed, label for my quilts. I just wanted to thank the designers so much for the terrific tips. I think the one that rang the bell for me was ironing the label fabric to freezer paper before writing on it! What a brilliant (but simple) idea! Thanks for that one Kim Diehl 😀
I print my infomation on the computer using my program for labels, I find the address label big enought, I add a picture depicting the quilt theme,I print it on T-shirt iron sheets using reverse print,(Ive also used the freezer paper but it doesnt alwas go through my printer without wrickling),then Iron it on white fabric, after cutting it to size ,I back the piece with another fabric and sew around all sides, then make a slit in the backing and pull it through It makes a nice even piece to sew on the quilt
All of my quilts are labeled with a heart shaped piece of muslin. I turn under a scant quarter on the curvy edges and baste. Then, I baste it into the lower back corner before the binding is applied. The heart needs to have a 90 degree point to fit into a 90 degree corner. When the binding is applied, the heart is permanently attached under the binding. Next I do a lot of hand embroidery on and around the edges of the heart. Now, lots of stitches attach the heart to the fabric of the quilt. The last step is to add the writing with permanent pen to the label. Also, if I have remembered to save some bits of the selvedge from some of the main fabrics, I sew that under the binding along the bottom back side of the quilt to tell the world what fabric I used and slip stitch the loose edge in place.
I use freezer backed muslin or a light fabric from the quilt to feed through my computer to print the label. Then I re-ink the printing using pigma pens to be sure the printing is permanent. Or I use my embroidery module to sew the label. After either of these two methods, I trim the label to size and use left over binding to bind two sides of the label. I sew the binding to the front of the label just like I sew it to the quilt. Then I turn under the binding, miter the corner and press the binding to the back side of the label. The other two sides are machine sewn in one of the back corners of the quilt after the binding has been sewn on but not turned under. Then I hand sew the two bound sides of the label to the backing and catch the rest of the label when I sew down the binding. Thus the label binding matches the quilt binding.
I cut a 7-1/2 square of good muslin fabric and fold it diagonal. Slide a piece of freezer paper between the layers and iron it down with the shiny side up to the side of fabric you will be writing on. Hand write
everything you want to say on the label. Then attach the label to the right side of the back of quilt before you sew down the binding. Sew the binding on and two side of the triangle will be attached under the
binding. You need to hand stitch down the diagonal part of the triangle. This is really easy and looks very nice on the quilt. You can make the square bigger if you have a lot of info you want on the quilt. Happy quilting????
When I label my quilts, I do it on my Embroidery machine. If I have made it for someone I know,I print the following:Name of quilt, designed, made and quilted with love for ______, by (my name),
month/year, location. If it is a quilt Ive made for no one in particular I would print: Name of quilt, made and quilted by moi, location and date.Then I use Heat and Bond on the back, iron it onto the back of the quilt turn under and slip stitch the edges by hand. I try to keep it approx. 4 X 4in size.
Can anyone recommend a really GOOD pen if I decide to write out my label by hand? I keep buying pens that are supposedly everything-proofnope. Same when I try to find pen/pencils to mark quilting lines, etc. Cant find any that are dark enough but wash out. Help!
I have created my labels using Aida cloth and DMC floss from my counted cross stitch supplies. Sometimes I embroider a motif into the label to reflect a pattern in the quilt or the quilt name. I usually fuse it to the back of the quilt and hand stitch. I have, on other occasions, machine embroidered my label. But, after reading all these wonderful tips, I cant wait to create my next label and try something new!
I usually embroider my labels with my machine and add pretty little things that match the theme of the quilt or something that reminds me of that person.
I have heard of the pocket idea before. In that instance, the pocket was used to place pictures of the event the quilt was for. Or sew scraps under the label in case there is an injury to the quilt.
My handwriting is not beautiful enough for labeling. I used cross-stitch to record the information with matching embroidery thread and it looks lovely.
My handwriting is not beautiful enough for labeling. I used cross-stitch to record the information with matching embroidery thread and it looks lovely.
I never thought to label a quilt! I do wonder where they all are! I will have to keep that in mind. Im a dressmaker more than a quilter.
I frequently use my embroidery machine to stitch my labels but the last baby quilt I made I used the alphabet on the electronic machine. I stitched it out in rows and put on back of quilt. Someone commented that it looked like hand embroidery.
I did a fiftieth wedding anniversary quilt made of various blue and white stars for my in-laws. (I was practicing getting neat points.) In each center square I put a photo representing their years together. I quilted it with celtic knot designs. The label was made with white binding tape, hand appliqued and on it, with an indelible Sharpie, I noted the occasion, and all other pertinent info. I just waited for inspiration and it came.
I tried making my quilt labels using Vickis method. After 10 attempts, I have given up. I think it must be a problem with my printer as I have an HP 309 and my fabric and freezer-paper keep getting jammed in my printer.
Im so sorry to hear that you had problems with this technique. Some printers are just fussy, Im afraid, and it sounds like your printer is one of the fussy ones. The only tips I can offer: Make sure that your freezer paper is cut exactly 8 1/2 x 11, or better yet, use the kind that is precut (often available in quilt shops). Also, make sure that your fabric is cut cleanly with no stray threads or fuzzies. If youve tried all of this and still arent getting good results, then you might need to purchase specially treated and cut fabric sheets that are designed to be put into printers-this can get pricey, but it may be your only option.
Thanks this was very helpful. I wanted to create my own and using the freeze paper etc worked.
I simply quilt the name of the recipient, my name, place and year directly into the lower section of the quilt. No need for labels and it wont wash out, as it is part of the quilting. If it is done in the same thread as the main quilting, it is discrete but still legible.
I want to try some of these great ideas! Ive used Bubble Jet Set with muslin, freezer paper and my HP printer, but the ink faded. I used colored ink. Ill try again with different cloth.
Meanwhile, I printed the colorful words in reverse on artist transfer paper (which I found at the fabric store), then ironed the labels to the items, which in this case were tree skirts for my daughters. That worked very well.
Ive traced a basketball for one grandson, a dog with A newspaper in its mouth and a simley face hold scrolling a scroll. Written on each A quilt for . Them
. made with love by nana .
Oh my gosh, I love it. New to the quilt world (December 2013) and needed to label my 1st completed quilt. I tried the freezer paper/printer label and just let me say I am hooked. This was so simple. My label is printed on flannel and I just knew this would probably tear my printer up but NO it didnt. I cant wait to make more and my mind is racing with endless possibilities. THANK YOU so much.
I dont use labels, but quilt the information into a discrete part of the quilt!
I have been labeling most of my quilts for years. I include my name, date and name of pattern, unless its a gift then it gets fancier with colored pigment markers and a design of some kind.
I put Steam-a-Seam on the back of my labels and fuse them to the back of my quilts to better secure them in addition to sewing them on. Typically use machine embroidery for the wording, sometimes add photos printed on fabric sheets along with fabrics from the quilt as a frame. I love the previous idea about using selvage information as part of the label! Thanks for all the wonderful tips!
Last summer I made schlep bags for my granddaughters and put a label on the inside, Made with Love by Granny and the year. Later in the year with help and guidance of a friend we a hummingbird quilt. On the label it allowed me to put who made it and the year.
I have done many different labels on my quilts over the years. So far I havent seen this idea suggested. On quilts I want to be sure the label doest come off, fade or get damaged I print a decorative label boarder onto clear iron on transfer sheets. When Im done making the quilt I use a permanent fabric pen to write the information directly onto the backing,