You’ve almost finished the quilt you’ve been working on. You’ve put so much love and a long time into your creation. It’s tempting to just bind it and be done!
But you may want to consider taking the time to put a quilt label on it before you finish.
I’m going to show you over 8 ways to label your quilts but first a little bit about why you should!
Just like a painter or a photographer will sign their work, a quilter should absolutely “sign” their work as well. It is a work of art after all! (don’t scoff – even if you don’t consider yourself an ‘artist’ there are plenty of other reasons to label your quilts – read on!)
While some may argue it’s not necessary, a good quilt label will identify your quilt and it’s a great way to give its story a little extra something. Say hello to living history!
A label gives your handmade quilts that extra personal touch.
Table of contents
- What is a Quilt Label?
- Reasons to Label your Quilts
- How Quilt Historians use Quilt Labels
- What to Include on a Quilt Label
- How to Make Quilt Labels – 8 Quilt Label Ideas
- Quilt Label Method 1: Machine Embroidery
- Quilt Labels Method 2: Hand Embroidery
- Quilt Label Method 3: Fabric Pens
- Quilt Label Method 4: Pre-printed Quilt Label Fabric
- Quilt Label Method 5: Printable Fabric Quilt Labels
- Quilt Label Method 6: Printable Fabric Label with a Fabric Pen
- Quilt Label Method 7: Printable Fabric Label with Hand Embroidery
- Quilt Label Method 8: Buy Custom Made Labels
- More Quilt Label Ideas
- Where to Place your Quilt Label
- Quilt Label Ideas Video (with more photos of some of the methods)
- Saying & Inscription Ideas for Quilt Labels
What is a Quilt Label?
A quilt label is sewn on the back of a finished quilt to provide information about the quilter, recipient, date and place the quilt was made, and other information.
It can be as simple as quick, hand-written information placed directly on the back of the quilt to an elaborate printed label sewn in place.
Reasons to Label your Quilts
Imagine future generations using your quilt decades from now.
A quilt label is a great way for them to know exactly who made it, when it was made, and any other pertinent information.
Quilters use custom-made quilt labels to tell the story of the quilt, share some words of wisdom, a special message, maybe even include a special poem or a prayer, and so much more.
How Quilt Historians use Quilt Labels
While most quilters now understand the value of adding quilt labels for future generations, that hasn’t always been the case.
We’re often left to figure out the story behind a quilt based on unreliable memories or we may never know who made a quilt or why.
Quilt historians often use quilt labels to research and understand the development of quilt patterns, the popularity of methods and fabrics, the economic status of specific areas in specific time periods, and so much more.
Not to mention that the focus of a quilt may reflect what was occurring during that time.
Do you know someone who quilted during the pandemic or someone who made a Black Lives Matter quilt?
The context and reasoning may be obvious to us now, but future generations may have no idea how to place context around this. However, with quilt labels, quilt historians and those who inherit those quilts will.
What to Include on a Quilt Label
The good thing about a quilt label is it can be as simple or as detailed as you wish. There are some basics that all quilt label designs should include:
- Your (or the quilter’s) full name
- Your city, state, and country
This basic information will give it some identifying historical information if the quilt is ever gifted, found, and so on.
There is also some optional information you could include if you wish: This includes:
- Recipient’s name
- Name of the quilt
- An inscription – Perhaps you made the quilt for a special occasion
- The quilt’s story – You could share how and why you made this quilt, names of the quilt blocks or pattern used, and any other notable information you’d want to share with someone.
- Anyone who helped in the making of the quilt – for example a long armer
- Washing and care instructions
See below (after the 8 methods) for some ideas of phrases and sayings you could include on your quilt label if you like).
How to Make Quilt Labels – 8 Quilt Label Ideas
There are lots of different ways to try when making your own labels, whether a custom label or simple labels.
Depending on what design elements you end up using, here are a few supplies you may need, I’ll explain which materials go with which method below!:
- Embroidery or sewing machine
- Pigma pen or other permanent fabric marker
- Ink jet printer
- Preprinted labels
- Twill tape
- Freezer tape
Quilt Label Method 1: Machine Embroidery
Machine embroidery is a great option. If you already have a special embroidery machine you are laughing! Just choose a design and what you want to include on your label and you’ll be done in no time.
I don’t have a special embroidery machine or an embroidery module but I have used the inbuilt alphabet stitching options on both my Janome 4300QDC and my Bernina 770QE to machine embroider basic looking quilt labels.
Quilt Labels Method 2: Hand Embroidery
It takes a bit of extra time but it can be a nice way to add a super personal touch (and you can do your hand sewing in front of the TV!).
Quilt Label Method 3: Fabric Pens
You can actually make hand-written quilt labels. You can write directly onto a piece of fabric (or even the quilt backing) with a fine-tipped permanent marker.
Pigma Micron pens are widely used for this, but I would suggest doing a test before writing on the quilt backing itself.
I have also used Prym Fabric Pens that come in a pack with little labels for kid’s clothes. See the my video version of this post for more on how I use these.
That is actually fabric that looks like lined paper in the photo above! I got a little bit in a scrap bag and thought it would be perfect for a handwritten label!
Quilt Label Method 4: Pre-printed Quilt Label Fabric
Many fabric companies sell pre-printed quilt labels on quilting cotton fabric.
Obviously these labels don’t have the crucial information of your name or the date but you can use either fabric pens or embroidery to add those details in.
The fabric pictured above is called Timeless Treasures by Soho Fabrics (I got it in an ebay lot so I don’t know if this particular fabric is still available but ask your local quilt shop if they have anything similar).
Quilt Label Method 5: Printable Fabric Quilt Labels
The next option is basically to make a printed label on fabric at home yourself.
Quilt labels can be created using a computer and an inkjet printer by printing your design on printable fabric sheets. You can find these at quilt shops, craft stores or Amazon.
This method will give you the option to include all sorts of things such as photos, unique fonts, graphics, and so on.
You can design your labels in word or canva (or any app you like for that matter!) and then print them directly onto your fabric paper.
NOTE: Make sure you have an INKJET PRINTER. I tried using a mono printer and it printed well enough for me to use it as a template for a fabric pen or embroidery but it didn’t print boldly enough to be used as a stand alone label.
Make sure you follow the printing instructions and after printing instructions for the specific brand of paper you choose to use. The brand I used, PhotoFabric, required a cold rinse under the tap after printing.
Make sure you leave enough of a margin before you cut the label out, so you can tuck the ends under when you sew the label onto your binding.
The below tutorial goes into detail on how to design and print your label on an inkjet printer, and then attach it to your quilt.
The video also shows my new favorite place to put my labels – directly on the binding! It means I can skip the hand sewing and sew it on by machine – such a time saver!
Quilt Label Method 6: Printable Fabric Label with a Fabric Pen
If you don’t have an inkjet printer or you just want to make extra sure your label doesn’t fade with time you can trace over a printable fabric label using one of the fabric pens mentioned above in Method 3.
I did this for my Queen Size Quilt as You Go Quilt because the label I printed on my (mono) printer didn’t come out dark enough.
Quilt Label Method 7: Printable Fabric Label with Hand Embroidery
Another option is to use a printable fabric label design as a basis for a hand-embroidered label. The photo above under Method 2 was actually made this way. It was another quilt label I tried to print using the wrong type of printer so I went ahead and embroidered over the printed text with some embroidery floss.
I’m sure it made my embroidery much neater!
Quilt Label Method 8: Buy Custom Made Labels
I have a few more extra quilt label suggestions below but if all of this seems like too much hard work you might consider buying a custom-made quilt label from a small business seller on Etsy.
Custom Quilt Labels are great if you want to give your quilt a professional finish.
You can purchase custom labels from many independent label sellers on Etsy or other online stores.
These can work great for anyone who sells their quilts, puts them in quilt shows, or just if you want something extra special.
More Quilt Label Ideas
Twill Tape – If you’re looking to keep it simple, twill tape is the answer. You can machine stitch the twill tape label into the corner and then hand stitch the binding over.
You can also use an inkjet printer to print your design onto your twill tape labels using this tutorial.
Additionally, you can order custom-made twill tape labels on Etsy.
Freezer Paper – You can also use a piece of freezer paper to print your quilt label on a laser printer.
If you’ve never used freezer paper for printing, here’s a great tutorial to follow.
Where to Place your Quilt Label
You’ll want to place your label somewhere it won’t show if the quilt is hung on the wall or placed on the bed.
Bottom Corners – A common place for many quilters is on one of the bottom corners of the back of the quilt.
Sew it firmly to the backing fabric before you actually assemble the quilt, then you can hand or machine quilt right through the label.
I often forget to make the label before I’ve basted and quilted the quilt so I often machine sew the label into the binding on two sides (i.e. in a corner) and then needle turn applique the other two edges when I’m done.
Extra Block – If you want to make your label part of the quilt back you can also make a fabric label using an extra block that’s leftover from the front of the quilt then your label will coordinate with your quilt’s fabric.
If you are piecing your back anyway this can be a great option but remember that if your quilting through it you might obscure some of the writing which is why many quilters hand stitch their labels on at the end.
If you are labeling something that you are adding a wall hanging to you could place the label on that.
For example, if you are putting a folded corner of fabric on each top corner to hold a dowel then one of your folded corners could be the label.
On the binding – Since writing this post originally I have experimented with putting my labels on the binding in two ways:
1) machine embroidered label on my quilt binding. It was kind of hard to get it to sit straight but I think I still like it.
I just machine embroidered on a scrap strip of binding (already folded) and then joined it to the rest of the binding for the quilt.
You can see the quilt this label is on here – it’s my Triangle Madness Quilt.
2) Quilt label printed on fabric machine sewn to the binding. This is my new absolute favorite way to add labels and in this video I demonstrate how I do it.
In short, you print your labels long and thin and sew them directly onto the binding strip before binding your quilt. No handsewing!
Quilt Label Ideas Video (with more photos of some of the methods)
Saying & Inscription Ideas for Quilt Labels
As well as the suggestions below, there is now a new post on the site with over 100 quilt label saying suggestions for every occasion.
Personalized Quilt Label Ideas
There are a bunch of great ideas when it comes to what you can put on your quilt’s label. Here are some fantastic label options depending on the circumstance.
- Made by [your/maker name]. [Year].
- Handmade in [city, state].
Quilt Label Ideas for Family and Friends
- Anytime you need a hug, wrap this quilt around you and feel my love.
- Made with love and little pieces of my heart. Pieced with love by [maker name].
- Quilts are one-of-a-kind, just like you!
- Created with perfect intentions by imperfect hands.
- A quilt to warm your body and comfort your soul.
- Handmade with love.
- Handmade just for you.
- Made for [quilt recipient] with love.
- A family stitched together with love, seldom unravels.
- A family is a patchwork of LOVE.
- Blessed are the children of quilters, for they shall inherit the quilts.
Label Ideas for Baby Quilts
- May you have warmth and comfort always. Quilting with love for my [niece, nephew, etc].
- Welcome to the world [recipient’s name]. Born [date] at [time]. [weight]. [length]. Made and given with love by [maker’s relationship to child and name].
- Welcome to the world [recipient’s name]. [Date of birth].
Funny Quilt Label Ideas
- Made with love, cat hair, and a whole lot of cussing.
- Quality sh*t.
- This took forever.
- Made with love and profanity.
- Made with love, not perfection.
- This was really hard and took forever.
- This took forever so you’d better pretend to love it.
Random Quilt Label Ideas
- For graduation: Behind you – all your memories, Before you – all your dreams, Around you – all who love you, Within you – all you need.
- For wedding: May the colors of your life be bright. And the threads of your life be strong.
What’s your favorite way to label your special quilts? Do you have a fun, creative way I didn’t mention here? Leave me a comment – I’d love to hear about it!
Here are Some More Projects You Might Like:
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- Free Patterns from Scrap Fabric Love
- 7 Quilt as You Go Methods (No Hand-sewing!)
- The Easiest Quilt-as-You-Go Method Ever!
- Why I Traded in my Bernina 770QE!
- 14 Fun & Pretty Fabric Storage Ideas
- Review of a Horn Sewing Table with Storage
- Sewing Room Makeover – Again!
- One Color Crumb Quilt Block Tutorial