How to Label your Quilts the Modern Way,or the Old Way


Welcome to SewVeryEasy, my name is Laura. And let’s talk labeling your quilt. Should you label your quilt? Absolutely, no different than when an artist has finished a fine piece of work that they will put their signature and date on it. It’s really no different for a quilt. After all we’ve put a lot of thought, a lot of time, and a lot of care in the quilts that you make. Labeling your quilts are important because it documents them so in the future everyone will know who made them, what they were made for, and the year that they were made. And you will be surprised on how old those quilts are and you thought geez I didn’t think it was that long ago I made that quilt. Let me show you a couple of quilts that I have here and some of them are quite old and I want to show you some of the labels so that you can see how well they’ve worn, and I’m going to show you some new and creative ways to label your quilts, but let’s start with the quilts here. This first quilt was quilted by my daughter when she was ten years old. And the quilt on the back of her quilt is a pre-made label. And the pre-made labels you buy in a large panel. As you can see I’ve already cut some out of this. And you would just cut them out and you would fill out the blanks and put them on the back of your quilt. Now when you do that, sometimes it’s very hard to write on the fabric because it wants to skimmer all over the place. So if you were to use a freezer paper, there we go, if you use a freezer paper then you can iron that onto the label. And what it does is that it prevents the fabric from moving, so you’re able to write on it. So here’s one here, and you can see that this has been ironed on and it stays on quite nice. So you’re able to write on it. Now when you write on them, there are a couple of things you can buy to write on your quilts with. You can buy a permanent marker for fabric, which is highly recommended. A lot of people do like to use Sharpies. Be very careful with your Sharpies because they do have a tendency to bleed into the fabric so always test them first. The other thing is a good old fashioned pen will work, too. When you finish writing on these labels, hit them with a good hot iron, and what it’ll do is it’ll set that ink. Then you’re able to trim them down and put them on the back of your quilt. The next quilt is a very old “I Spy” quilt and the label on the back of it was just made with a piece of white cotton. And I was a little bit creative and I made it into a circle to sort of match the rest, and I just took my white cotton and, again, I wrote on it with the magic marker that goes onto the fabric, heat-set it, sewed it on, and as you can see it has made many years of wear. The other thing you can do is you can print on labels in advance and have them all set up and ready to go. I had a friend give me a whole pile of labels that she did herself by hand and now I’m able to just fill in the blanks and put those on the quilts, so they’re really nice and handy to have. The next quilt is a Christmas quilt and each one of these blocks are supposed to represent a Christmas gift. So what I did is on all of the tags, I embroidered something with my machine that actually will have words on it. I have the date and what the occasion was for. So now this is actually right in the quilt, the quilt front. You can also as you stitch your quilts together you can instead of just doing a pattern, within that pattern you can put your name and date and there will be no label then on the back of the quilt, but it is right in the quilt itself and the quilting. Here’s another fairly old one and it again is a Christmas one however I use it for many other times. And on this all I did was I took strips of fabric that was leftover, sewed them together and made a little block and, again, I just wrote on the block and attached it on. Now you can do this with the test block that you’re going to use or you can just have a leftover block and put it on the back of your quilts. You can also save your test blocks or your leftover blocks. Put them in your box where your labels go and they can go on any other quilt also. Now here is a wedding one that a customer bought and they do not want labels on the quilts because the quilt is not from me, it is from them. So they didn’t want the label on the quilt, so there is another way that you can do that so there is some mark on it. Especially if you want to put a date on it. I will put in the selvage, before I sew the binding, on a little piece of fabric and it will have the date on it or any other type of names. This one, for example, is going to go on a quilt that’s coming up. So you will stabilize the back of your fabric, get it to your machine, or you can handwrite it and just have the machine do an embroidery, fold your edges over and then what you’re going to do is you’re going to trim this and it will go right into the edge. So all you’re going to see is just this little stitching along the outside. This makes a very nice finish if you do want to have a reversible quilt so that you can have both the front and the back, but you won’t have that label sticking out there. This is a great way. This is just a little piece inside the binding. Now this quilt is very different because it’s made with men’s dress pants and leftover shirts, so I had to do something a little creative for the back of my label. So I put the label that came off of the suits onto the back of the label and actually incorporated it into the saying of the quilt. Now there’s another way to put a label on your quilt that’s going to be very subtle but still very decorative. On the back of my quilts and a lot of times on the bottom I’ll put these little folded corners, and that way I can put a pole in here so when it hangs up it lays nice and flat or I can use this for a hanging in itself. I actually covered this in a video and I can put a link in the description so you can see how to make these corners. But basically the corners just consist of a piece of square fabric folded it in half, corners together, and it would go in here right in the corner before you sew your binding on. Now when you do this, this is a very fun thing to do because you can put the secret message on one side and then information on the other side, so when it’s sewn in they’re only going to see the outside, but anyone who knows will be able to get the message to the inside. So this is kind of a nice way to do and again it’s really easy, just set up your machine if it will embroider and you can put a stabilizer on the back and then this stabilizer is one that just rips off. Then just take off the stabilizer, press it into your corner and you’re ready to go. Now if your machine will not do embroidery, this you can still do with a good magic marker, and it’ll be all set to go. Now there are other ways that you can make a label and it works out really well. You can buy sheets of iron- on transfer paper that actually go through the printer and then you would iron it onto your fabric, trim it, and cut the back. You can also print on fabric in your printer. There are a couple of ways you can do it. You can buy fabric that’s already stuck on a piece of paper, and it comes in a package very similar to this. It’s just white cotton and you can put it through your printer. However, you can make these sheets yourself, and it’s very easy. The things you’re going to need is a temporary spray adhesive, and this is made to spray the layers of your quilt together while you are going to quilt it, but it also works really good on paper in this application. So start off with a large piece of waxed paper or something that’s just a lot larger than the project that you’re going to work on. Then you’re just going to take a piece of paper and you’re going to put the paper on top of this, making sure there is a large area around it. You will spray the paper, then you’re able to put the fabric gently over top of it, pushing out any of the bumps or air bubbles and making it very very tight. Then peel off the paper from the background protective paper, and it’s all attached. Then very carefully trim the paper down to its original size. From there you now have that paper that you’re going to be able to put into the printer This is a free label that I got online from Connecting Threads and I’ll put a link in the description. They have a lot of free labels that you can print out that match the fabric that they sell, but they’re also very nice labels. The first thing I did is I trimmed it down to size. And what I did is I left ½” all the way around the pattern. And then because two out of the four sides are going to be sewn into the seam allowance, I only needed to fold and press two sides down. Then I hit it with a good hot iron and set the ink and now it’s ready to go. From here, I’m able just to peel off the paper and I’m going to stitch right along the original stitch line. So my label is pinned on, but my binding has already been put on. So in order to sew this, sew from the binding side and you will be able to see your stitching line. So you’re going to make sure that this is not going to get in your way and you’re going to stitch down right on the same line. For the second side again, you’re going to sew on the binding side and you’re going to follow the stitching line all the way to this corner as far as you can go. And you don’t have to get really carried away of getting right there in that corner. You only need a single thread. And the first thing you’re going to do is go into your batting in-between your layers there, and you’re going to go up into your label. The next stitch is going to be right opposite to where you have come out and you’re going to pierce your back fabric, and then you come up. But when you come up, you’re going to just catch the label. This is where I’ve come up. I’m going to put the needle into the back of the quilt, not catching the front, then I’m going to take the needle and I’m going to have it catch just the edge of the label. And you can see that I’ve used black thread but you can barely see it because they’re just tiny little stitches that go in, and you’re going to continue this all the way around. So the label’s been sewn on and the binding has been done. Now I wouldn’t recommend using black thread, but at least you’ll be able to see it that way and you’ll see there’s no stitching on the right side. Using your printer to make your labels is really a nice thing to do because you can put a lot more information on it than you would have if you were just to handwrite the label yourself. You could write a whole story if you wanted to. And again, once you have it come through the printer, hit it with a really hot iron and let that ink set. Then you just peel off the paper and sew the label on. Hopefully that gives you a few ideas on how to label your quilts and different ways to label your quilts. If you have something I missed be sure to let me know because, boy, I’d like to try to find different ways to label my quilts. I think it’s kind of fun and it’s a very finishing touch of the quilt. Thank you for joining me and, as always, feel free to subscribe and come on back, and let’s see what we’re sewing next time in the sewing room. Bye for now!

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93 thoughts on “How to Label your Quilts the Modern Way,or the Old Way

  1. Could you please tell me what the black and white quilt pattern is behind you? It is beautiful and I would love to use it for a memory quilt! Thank you very much!

  2. I enjoyed your tutorial.
    I usually just iron freezer paper to my fabric when I want to print out my label. But, freezer paper can't go through a laser printer because it will melt. Using your method of spraying on a stabilizer, can we send it through a laser printer? Just wondering…the freezer paper feeds great in my inkjet printer.

  3. On my last quilt, I printed the label on a white square, and incorporated that white square into the blocks on the backing fabric.  Easy peasy.  It was a 4.5" finished, but there was plenty of room for all the information.  First time I've done it that way, I usually print with printer, and put into corner with binding.

  4. Wow! Great tips!  My young students will love the idea of handwriting a label or a message and sewing it into their projects!  Thanks again for sharing!

  5. Thank you for sharing the 'bonded to paper' technique. My daughter was looking for a way to present her dissertation about 'the white shirt' and she wanted to print the words onto old shirts which she will reconstruct back into a new shirt. The dissertation is 6'000 words so we are not sure if it will work but you have given us a starting point.

  6. I had never thought to label.  Recently I came across some old labels that I had purchased meant to be used on the inside of clothes that I had made my daughter. I was thinking that a quilt could and should have a label sewn in.  While watching another quilt video, I got a glimpse of this video and heading off to the right and was inspired to watch your video.  I love all the label ideas.  A hand made or computer generated personally inspired label is definetly the direction I wish to go.  Thank you for sharing your beautiful quilts and labels.  

  7. Thank you. I will print mine. I prefer your method of spray basting the fabric to the paper – I can do that! Brilliant!

  8. I designed a quilt tag on my computer and then uploaded it to www.spoonflower.com and they duplicate it many times over onto the fabric. Then you can purchase yardage from them of your design. A fat quarter will last me a LONG time! 

  9. Thank you for a very informative tutorial. I prefer to make my on fabric sheets because it seems the store brought ones are very stiff. Plus I like the versatility of making your own gives me☺️

  10. Spray basting didn't agree with my breathing so I experimented. Cut your fabric about five inches wide after starching it well. Lay it carefully on the same size piece of paper for support, no glue, adjust the paper tray to the correct size, and print. A wider piece of fabric tends to jam. Hope this is useful. It is very cheap! Thanks for all these tips, so helpful.

  11. Great ideas! Does anyone know which stands up better to washing / laundering —- laser printing, inkjet printing or permanent fabric marker?

  12. This was just an awesome video!  Some reminders of what you can do and clever ways to label a quilt…Thanks so much

  13. I just have to say, even when this is totally irrelevant, that you look amazing! I love your colors and style. Very, very nice 🙂

  14. Hi Laura, I was wondering if you had a pattern and could share what fabrics you used for the beautiful wedding quilt. Black, white, and pink were my wedding colors and I just adore the way you put them together. Thank you.

  15. I love the idea of using my printer to create labels, since my handwriting is not very good :S Does anyone know if this works with a laser printer as well as inkjet?

  16. At 12:30 a blind stitch looks much better than the small whip-stitch. I use a thread color that matches the label and quilt back.

  17. I'm seriously thinking of selling my quilts and was wondering if putting a date would be wise, especially if it does not sell the year I made it. What do you think?

  18. You should put your videos together on a playlist so that I can watch them all at once please this is a serious request other people are putting your videos on playlists but then you're losing revenue

  19. Thanks for this good information. Can you tell me the name of the quilt on the wall in back of you and is there a tutorial for it?

  20. Very comprehensive. The only other method I can think of is the Transfer Artist Paper (TAP), on which you print, in reverse, and then iron onto any fabric. I have printed my name, very small, many times onto one sheet, and then I can cut them out as needed and iron onto quilt back, front or binding.
    I really enjoyed your presentation. You are a great speaker and instructor.

  21. This is a great tutorial.. Could you write on the paper you are coping to label before printing, so you dont have to actually write on label after printing.. (Hope that makes sense).. Also should you pre wash the material before making
    the label?

  22. Just discovered you and subscribed! You explain everything so well and it's easy to follow! Thanks! Will be watching more of you and sharing you with my quilting buddies!

  23. Thank you for another great video full of ideas. I do enjoy your videos they are always so welcoming. You asked for our label ideas I have a couple to share, like you said printing your own labels is a good way to make personal labels and putting them in the printer on freezer paper which has been cut to size is another way to print with out spray you just iron it on the paper and it goes in well. Another way I recently seen is a video label, you buy a pack of labels which have a QR code which you scan with your phone, video your message. The receiver of the quilt scans the code and sees your video message. It is called StoryPatches and they feature unique QR codes on each label. I like your corner idea and quilting the message in the quilt I thinks that is lovely idea.Thank you Laura for sharing.

  24. Do you realize that the Star Quilt was Finished on Sep 11 2001 the day that will always be remembered in the USA in New York when the towers came down.

  25. Would you instruct us on how to turn under and press the corners of the labels without the folded edges peaking out. My inside folder corners always seem to show. Thanks, love your videos!

  26. Laura~You did a FANTASTIC job in this video regarding labeling your quilts.  So many questions I had thought about was answered by watching this.  I now know that I can be very creative or very simple in labeling.  SO happy this was available to us quilters.  Also~ I love your voice, it is very articulate, soft & slow and easy to understand each step as you describe things very well.  Thank you for taking the time making this.

  27. Thank you for sharing the information, your suggestion to make your own paper & fabric to put through the printer is wonderful. One question, when you use the iron to set the ink, should it be a dry iron? Your instruction & different ideas- just awesome.

  28. Thank you very much for explaining many options. I am new at quilting and learn so much from you. The final touch can now be done. Brilliant ideas!!

  29. I love your tutorials, thank you so much. Have you done a tutorial on the black and white quilt behind you, if not could you? I love it, and would love to make it

  30. I was looking through your videos and came across this one and saw the quilt hanging in the background and was wondering if you did a tutorial on that quilt. If not, would you happen to know the pattern name as I think it would be perfect for fabric that I currently have and want to use. Thanks so much. Love your You Tube channel!

  31. I think since it is a handmade art piece, it should be signed for sure. Those are good ideas. For me though, I think I shall embrodier my name and the date on a special piece of white cloth and probably quilt it into the back. At least when it hits the Goodwill Store after my demise, someone will know who did it!
    Thanks for all you do.

  32. You are an amazing and talented woman. Thank you so much for the sweet gift (everything you have taught me in the last year, ) some day I hope to say thank you in a much better way.

  33. Laura, would you suggest pre-washing the fabric going to be used for the label? I ask, as I know many fabrics have sizing and are treated with chemical to preserve the fabrics. If you do suggest pre-washing… how would you suggest pre-washing and with what? I did recall you used a salad rinsing bowl.

  34. Hi Laura,
    Thank you for the wonderful tutorial. I don't see a link to "how to make corner pocket-like labels" where would I find that?

  35. Thank you for the very informative video! I had been using the embroidery module for my Bernina 440QE for making quilt labels or embroidering my name/date into the quilt binding. I was just told by Bernina that they no longer support the Art Design software and that the Artlink software for my embroidery module DOES NOT have lettering. Seems pretty stupid. Guess I'll have to come up with a plan B that works for me without having to spend a lot of money.

  36. When attaching my labels, I like to tuck some small fabric pieces from the quilt underneath to use for patches in the future. Hopefully they will never be needed! 😍

  37. Great ideas. I have used a photo of the couple (sometimes with me in the pic) and printed on muslin, and use that as a label. Writing on the white spaces…. I usually print it as a B&W pic…. makes a nice addition to the quilt.

  38. I have watched quite a few of your videos, and I just want to say that you are very knowledgeable regarding sewing – anything and sewing equipment – old and new. Not only that, but you are a terrific teacher! Thank you for all of the hours you put in to your "lessons". I have learned a lot from you and expect to learn a lot more as I watch more of your videos – and I have been sewing for years! Thank you again!

  39. I love your videos! I notice on you baby lock there is a light coming from the back of your machine. Can you tell where you purchased and attached the light?
    Thank you. Cathy

  40. Excellent tutorial on labeli g. I have made a few quilts, but not until the last few years had I thought of labeling. I love the prairie corners in the binding.. My favorite by far. Thanks Laura! Love your name😉

  41. I've seen myself, for whatever reason at the time…. take a permanent marker and write directly on the back of the quilt…. If it's a donated quilt, going to a unit at the hospital, for example, I'll put, "Property of Saint John Regional Hospital"… directly on the back of the quilt. Hopeing, that will deter sticky hands…

  42. Now, hubby has a longarm machine and HE prefers when people add their quilt to the back BEFORE he quilts it. He says its harder to remove the label, that way…. if, once again, you had sticky fingers. BTW…. I LOVE your videos, Laura!!!!

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