Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Quilt Label Tutorial and Giveaway

After the #IGQuiltFest on Instagram, and one of the day's postings was about quilt labels, my friend Paige of QuiltedBlooms and I decided to both write tutorials - they're different from one another - about how we make quilt labels.

(I had only a moment to meet Paige in person at QuiltCon and say congratulation on the two ribbons she won! See those beautiful quilts: "Mustard Stains" here and "Cursive" here.) 

I use my MacBook Pages software to design quilt labels. If you're a PC-user, you can design with Microsoft Word or Publisher.

I print labels on inkjet printable fabric called Printed Treasures, purchased from JHittleSewing who is the sponsor of my giveaway. JHittleSewing is where I purchase many of my quilting and sewing supplies and notions - from thread to zippers, rotary cutter blades to safety pins, and more. You name it, and JHittleSewing has it.

A package of five 8-1/2" X 11" paper-backed fabric pages is $14.51. Because Printed Treasures is fed through a printer, it's less wasteful to design and print multiple labels at one time. If you were to design and print only one label, you'd end up with a remaining partial page that's nearly impossible to feed through the printer a second time.

All kinds of information can be included on a label. Here's what I think is important:
  • Quilt name
  • Quilt dimensions - I've learned from entering quilts into shows that it's helpful to have that information handy when completing an entry form, and if it's needed for your Guild's show and tell communications
  • Quilt recipient's name (if it's a gift)
  • Why the quilt was made - Was it a wedding, birth, or anniversary gift? Was it made during a workshop? Elaborate! In the case of a baby's birth quilt, include the birth date, weight, height.
  • My whole name,  first, maiden (or middle), and last
  • Quilter's name, if the two are different!
  • Machine(s) used - Since I quilt all my own quilts, I include specific information about which sewing machine I used for quilting.
  • Location - My city and state
  • Date - The month and year the quilt was completed.
  • Optional additions: An icon or two. I always include two that are specific to me: a palm tree and Christian cross; a border; a photo; and occasionally I'll even write a poem.
Think about future generations looking at your quilt, and what they want to know about it when you are no longer around to tell them.

After the fun part of creating labels, print the design onto a sheet of regular paper. This is to:
1) decide if the chosen colors are appropriate and read-able
2) review the accuracy of the information
3) check spelling
4) verify that the arrangement of the labels allows for trimming 3/8" to 1/2" from the border or text.

Then, position Printed Treasures in the tray with the fabric side down (This is the position for my Canon MX870 inkjet printer.) and print. 

Prepare for trimming.

Cut 3/8" from all four sides of a label. If your label has a border, it's easy to measure.

Next, remove the paper from the back of each label.

Then, to completely set the printer ink, put the labels into a sink of water. Yes, the fabric curls up like that on its own.

After a bit of sloshing, remove the labels and allow them to air-dry on a towel.

When they're dry, press them with a press cloth like a handkerchief, or another piece of fabric. Without a press cloth, I've found that if my iron is too hot, the label sticks to the soleplate.

Now you have the option of adding fabric borders, or just turning under the edges of the Printed Treasures. I prefer to add fabric borders because the fabric is a little easier to hand sew to the quilt back, versus the thicker rubberiness of the Printed Treasures. 

Whichever you prefer to do, turn under a 1/4" to 3/8" seam on the label's outside edges and press. Use a regular needle and sewing thread, and a blind stitch to hand-sew the label to the quilt back...

... usually on the bottom right corner, as you're looking at your quilt back.

Now for that giveaway from J. Hittle Sewing. Mr. Hittle himself will send one package of five sheets of Printed Treasures (a $14.51 value, plus shipping) to one winner.
  1. Comment to tell me your quilt label-making habit. Do you make labels? What information do you like to include? Do you have a favorite method?
  2. Be sure I have a way to contact you if you win. NOTE: If you're a "no-reply" commenter, be sure to include an email address so I can contact you.
  3. USA addresses only. So sorry, international friends!
  4. This giveaway is open through Friday, April 7.
After you've commented, be sure to stop by Paige's Quilted Blooms blog to learn how she makes her quilt labels.

And then visit Yvonne's blog QuiltingJetGirl. I'm linking this post to Yvonne's "Tuesday Tips and Tutorials" where you can find lots more quilty-good information. Linda


  1. Although I have a WIPs list a mile long, I have only completed 1 smaller baby quilt. I machine pieced charm squares together, added borders and used perle cotton to hand quilt on the diagonals. The solid color back showed a argyle pattern on the back, which was a great surprise! This quilt was made as an experiment to see if I liked piecing and quilting. I do! I'm not sure I will give this one away so I might just sign and date a label, for future reference as the one that got me started. Thanks for sharing your labeling method! And for the chance at the giveaway!

  2. Usually I make the labels similar to how you make them. I have never rinsed them though. I just checked the instruction on my Printable fabric sheets (I use Matilda's own) and it does indeed say that if one wants better colourfastness to rinse. Ha, next time!

    PS: I know I can't take part in this give away ;)!

  3. I always put a label but now just plain handwritten ones. I used to machine embroider them but it takes too much time

  4. Right now I have a page of labels printed out, awaiting fabric borders and stitching down (having procrastinated for way too many years on a few of my quilts!) I occasionally make a handwritten label, though the printed ones are way easier to read! Thanks for your tutorial and the giveaway.

  5. Linda, thanks so much for the great idea to do joint tutorials on label making! I've used Printed Treasures like you and also EQ Printables which are similar. I love how you added aborders around the labels! Funny, I always sew abels on the bottom left hand side of a quilt! Thanks for sharing the details of how you make labels!

  6. Thanks for the tutorial and such good information. My labels get better as time goes by, but I think it is cute to include a picture of the child, if the quilt is made for a little one.

  7. Great tutorial! I have been really lax in not labelling my quilts. I always say I will do it this time and then once finished I put it off and then completely forget. I've really got to make a determined effort in doing this.

  8. Awesome! I have tried printing on fabric ironed onto freezer paper only to create messy paper jams in the printer. I have the same printer you use and with this product I will give it another try! I love the fabric border around the label too!

  9. Great tutorial! I completely agree with adding a border so I don't have to wrangle a needle through the Printed Treasures fabric, and have been doing this for a few years. Just looks prettier too! The rinsing was new to me, so I'm glad to have picked up that tip ��

  10. I am getting better about labeling my quilts, but I still occasionally either forget, or opt not to. I've not ever printed my own (great tute ~ thanks!) but I've done as little as a 'for x, from x' hand written on a tag stuck into the binding, to ordering machine embroidered labels from a friend. I once made a super cute label, which got pieced into the back of the quilt, and when the quilt was finished, I realized I hadn't added the name of the quilt OR my name! just who it was for, and why. sheesh ;-)
    My favorite labels have a tiny pieced version of some element from the front of the quilt (for example, if the quilt has stars, I'll make a 2" star to add to the label) I've never included even close to all of the info you put on yours, but I can see, especially for show purposes, how it'd be good :-)
    happy sewing ~ Tracy

  11. I am very bad about labels....I take a black Sharpie and write my name, town, state and the date right on the backing of the quilt, then hit it with the iron. Maybe I need to add some real labels?

  12. Thanks for sharing, Linda. I currently don't label every quilt except with my name and blog name (purchased labels). I appreciate that you go the extra step for sure!

  13. Interesting! I usually make my labels on muslin using a Pigma pen with my name, the quilt name and the date - if it is for a special person their name goes on it too! mumbird3(at)gmail(dot)com

  14. I use the freezer-paper method-most times I hand embroider the info, including quilt designer, date completed, My name & any other pertinent info for the particular quilt! After adding borders-ready to hand stitch to quilt! Thank you, Susan

  15. I do label my quilts! I use a permanent ink pen made for quilts that won't wash out. I usually add the year and my name to it. If it's for someone I know personally, I'll add a sweet note.

  16. I label all of my quilts and, interesting enough, use the same technique that you use! A few years ago I started bordering the labels with fabric from the quilt (sometimes even more than one border), and now always do it that way. I love Printed Treasures! Thanks for the chance to win.

  17. I used to hand print my labels with a fabric marker until I bought my Janine 8900 that does lettering. I use a piece of fabric from the front of the quilt. If the piece I choose is dark I use the backside of the fabric to print on. This way I have a coordinating piece just a little more subtle. I date it at least with month and year, the name of the quilt in quotes, who it is for, and by me! I think I will love trying them on the computer with the border. I like your ideas! Thanks!

  18. Thanks for the great tutorial! Making the label for my quilts is the part of the quilting process that I dread the most. I often just embroider my name and date on the quilt front. I'd love to give this method a try. kthurn(at)bektel(dot)com

  19. I make labels pretty much the same way, but I am usually a bit simpler. I love how pretty yours look, so I may need to up my game! Framing them with fabric does make them easier to sew on, I haven't done that in a while, and will have to do that for the next batch (I have a pile on my chair that need labels, so I should get on that right away!)

  20. I've only been quilting for 3 years but my first teacher drilled into our heads about the importance of labels! I try to name the quilt, always include my name, date, city/state, who it's for, and info about occasion if appropriate. I sometimes use leftover blocks to frame the label but have always hand lettered them with a Pigma pen. Would love to try out this method!

  21. I always make labels, but usually just a scrap of fabric with my info scribbled on it. Your method looks great--I'll have to give it a try!

  22. I have been thinking for quite a while I NEED to start adding labels, but I keep forgetting. I need to work on a way to remember making this a part of my routine.

  23. Hi Linda thanks for the tute, and the other blogs you passed onto us. I tend to iron my fabric to freezer paper, and print from there. I also use the font, Paige uses which I think looks like hand writing. I know Im not in the draw, so dont fret, I just wanted to tell you. Lol! :-)

  24. I like to use permanent marker and write my label. Would love to try these.

  25. I usually sign my labels with my own handwriting. Since I give the quilts to family and friends only, I feel it's more personal that way. However, I love your method and if I ever submit a quilt to a show or a stranger I will certainly print them out using your method. I do hand stitch to the quilt.
    Thank you for all your wonderful information you pass on to us!!! I like to either write a poem or a saying, put my name and when I completed the quilt, as well as the city or town. Becky Chianese rchianese26@yahoo.com

  26. I try to label all my quilts. I generally hand letter them but I've never been satisfied with the way my printing looks so I put minimal info on the label; date, person who its going to, my name. This looks like a great method. I'm excited to try it. Thanks.

  27. To be truthful, I don't label my quilts except for the ones I've entered in my guild's quilt show and then I'm forced to put a label. Then it's a plain label with just the basic facts. I have always admired labels on quilts. I have two quilts in progress now and if I win the labels I promise to put nice labels on my quilts.

  28. No need to enter me for the drawing, but I wanted to say that this is a great tutorial! I sometimes will make my own prepared fabric by using Bubble Jet and Bubble Jet Set, but using this one is a lot easier. Very clear instructions--great job!

  29. Please exclude me from the giveaway. I am so excited to see how the IGQuiltFest sparked the sharing of great ideas and tutorials like this, and thank you for linking up with Tips and Tuorials Tuesday as well. I tend to hand write my labels, but I can understand the attraction of printing (and spell check!).

  30. I have some fabric with a design of blank labels, so I write on those with a Pigma Micron pen. It's not always a great match for the quilt.

  31. Their name, date and from grandmaw

  32. I usually give away my quilts, so I put the name of the recipient as well as the reason for the gift. I add my name, city, state, and the date of the completion of the quilt. Lately, since I work in a sewing machine sales shop, I have been embroidering the information on the label. I like to quilt the label on for difficulty in removal!!!!

  33. Linda, This was a very good tutorial. I make most of my labels for my quilts precisely the same way. Sometimes when I run out of the Printed Treasures sheets, I treat my own fabric with Bubble Jet and then iron freezer paper to the back and trim sheet to fit into printer drawer, then print as usual. Thanks for the chance to win some Printed Treasure sheets from Mr. Hittle. I'm out right now and it would be a wonderful prize.

  34. I have used Printed Treasures in the past and liked them a lot. Our LQS has closed and now I use a piece of light fabric ironed to freezer paper and print on that. I always print more than one at a time. If I don't have all the info needed I print extra generic labels. Made by Judy B leaving a blank space for date and other info. Usually, the recipient, date and why it was gifted, name of the pattern, who quilted it. Then add that info with a Micron Pen. Then I add borders just as you do.


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