Have you ever wondered how to make a quilt label or struggled with what to put on your quilt label? I’m here to help you figure out how to label your quilt!
One important way to preserve our quilting history is to add quilt labels to our quilting projects. Quilt labels can be used to document a quilt’s history or make the quilt an extra special gift for someone you love. Keep reading to find out why and how to label your quilt! I even share a step-by-step tutorial for how I make my own quilt labels using an embroidery machine.
I love to make custom embroidered quilt labels to personalize my quilts! If you want to learn the secrets to making high quality, personal embroidered quilt labels, keep reading. Or, check out this video on YouTube:
Why does it matter if we label a quilt?
Many quilters think they should make labels for their quilts, but don’t really get around to it. I’m in the same boat, really! It’s tough; I understand the desire to just move onto the next quilt project & keep those creative juices flowing! There are so many beautiful designs out there, and don’t we all have 4 million quilts to make on our Pinterest boards? I know I sure do!
I’ve heard so many stories of people finding quilts that they think were made by their grandma or great-grandma, but the quilt didn’t have any identifiers so they weren’t sure.
Labelling a quilt is important to document and preserve its history. Traditionally, people label quilts in order to provide information about the quilt to ancestors. The label can include a lot of different types of information such as the name of the quilt, who made it, when the quilt was made, why the quilt was made, and so on. Adding any kid of identifier to your quilts helps preserve history and adds provenance.
More recently there has been a shift for makers to put a generic label on every quilt showing their logo or brand, but not specific to the quilt itself. That’s a great option too, and definitely better than no label at all. Ultimately, I encourage you to find whatever method works best for YOU.
What to put on a Quilt Label
There are a few key things that are traditionally included on a quilt label, but ultimately the decision is entirely up to you!
Here are some questions you might want the quilt label to answer:
- Who made the quilt?
- Who is the quilt for?
- Why was the quilt made?
- When was the quilt made?
- What materials (fabric, batting, thread, etc.) were used in the quilt?
- What pattern is the design of the quilt?
- How should the quilt be cared for?
- What techniques were used in the quilt?
When I make a quilt as a gift for someone, I love to add a personal note or inspirational message. You can include your favorite quote or scripture. I love to include Bible verses on mine!
Quilt Label Ideas
I’ve compiled a list of over 36 ideas for what you can put on your quilt label. Get the PDF full of ideas for baby quilts, wedding quilts, or memory quilts for free when you subscribe to my email list.
How to Label a Quilt
I recall one of the first labels I made was with my grandma’s help – we used her sewing machine that also had pre-programmed alphabet stitches. In order to get the wording centered, we had to first make a practice label and measure each line of text, divide it by 2 to find the center, and then carefully mark the next piece of fabric to center the real label. Let me tell you: it was a hassle and very tedious/time consuming! So much so that I decided I would never again make a quilt label… until I learned how to use an embroidery machine!
The good news is, there are tons of ways to label your quilt. I’ll highlight a couple methods here, and I share a tutorial below for making a quilt label like I do using an embroidery machine down below. Using machine embroidery to make a custom quilt label is easy and it looks incredibly professional. I love using an embroidered quilt label because it adds a special touch to the finished quilt – especially if it’s a gift!
Using a Pre-Made Quilt Label
If you want an easy and fast way to label your quilts, check out some awesome pre-made labels. Some have spots to write on and then you can easily stitch or iron them onto your quilt.
Here are a few pre-made quilt labels that I love:
Creating Your Own Quilt Label
Creating your own quilt label can be as simple as writing on a piece of fabric with a permanent fabric pen. This fabric marker is my favorite.
Or, you can do a wide variety of other homemade label options too! Your labels can be just as creative as the quilt itself.
Do I need a special machine to make a Quilt Label?
No, you don’t have to use an embroidery machine to make your label. If you don’t already have an embroidery machine, don’t let that stop you from labelling your quilts. Plenty of people make their labels by using an ink-jet printer onto fabric, or even using a fabric marker to write it out by hand. My grandma used to hand stitch the words on her labels – it was truly impressive! Whatever quilt label method you choose to use is absolutely fine.
I personally use an embroidery machine, and I’ll share below HOW I use an embroidery machine to make a quilt label.
Here are the basic essentials you will need to create your own custom embroidered quilt label:
- Embroidery Machine
- Embroidery thread – can’t go wrong with a thread set like this one to get started!
- Totally Stable Iron on Tear Away Stabilizer
- Iron – I use this one
- Hot Ruler Guide (trust me on this!)
Making an Embroidered Quilt Label
Step 1: Design Your Label
Most embroidery machines come with at least a handful of pre-programmed fonts, but if you want something fun and unique, Designs By Juju has a ton of amazing embroidery fonts that I just love! Since I use a HUSQVARNA VIKING BRILLIANCE 80 machine, I use the Premiere+2 Embroidery software to design my labels. The full version of the software program allows you to easily use fonts by typing them out in the letters tab. Each embroidery design software is a bit different, so I encourage you to take a class on your specific one if you want to learn how to use it to it’s full potential.
Step 2: Picking out Fabric & Thread
Next you will pick your fabric and thread colors. I love to use colors that complement the quilt and also look good together with enough contrast that you can easily read the label. Sometimes I use more than one thread color in a label, so have fun with it!
Here are some of my favorite threads & stabilizers to use:
- Sulky Totally Stable Iron-On Stabilizer
- Stabilizer Sampler Pack
- Sulky Tear Easy Stabilizer
- Mettler PolySheen thread set
- Sulky Rayon Thread
Step 3: Prep your Embroidery Hoop
Once you’ve picked out your fabric & thread for your quilt label, you will prepare your hoop. I love to use Sulky’s Totally Stable Iron-On Tear-Away Stabilizer or Tear Easy because they are easy to remove once the stitching is all done. For most quilt labels I will use a 6″ or 8″ square hoop, but some projects call for a larger hoop – just use what works for your design and desired look.
Step 4: Embroidery Stitching
Next it’s time to let the machine do the work to stitch out your embroidery design. If you have multiple colors in your design, you’ll definitely want to get the MySewMonitor app to keep track of when to change thread colors without having to keep a close watch on your machine. Often times when I start an embroidery project I’ll get it started and then leave the room to get some chores done – vacuuming, meal prep, etc. and then my phone will get a notification when the thread needs to be changed or if I need to check on my project. It’s seriously one of the best features!
Step 5: Un-hoop and Clip Threads
Once your design is all stitched out, take your fabric out of the hoop and clip any ugly threads. I love to use nice, sharp scissors to get the closest trim possible. These Pink Curved Havels Scissors are my personal favorite.
Step 6: Trim around the design
I like to measure about 1.5″ away from the design and use my rotary cutter to square it up. This gives you your final shape of your label. If you aren’t sure quite how big you want the space around the edges to be, start larger than you expect and then trim down until it looks right. Remember to leave room for seam allowance.
Step 7: Press edges towards the back
Step 8: Attach your label to the quilt
Finally, it’s time to sew your label onto the back of your quilt. I personally prefer to hand stitch it down with an invisible stitch, but I’ve also been known to machine stitch it if the quilt will be getting used/washed quite often (mostly baby quilts). Do what feels right for you! If you don’t want the stitches to show up on the front of your quilt, hand stitching is the way to go.
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