In the words of the 21st century philosopher Beyoncé, “If you liked it then you should have put a label on it.” What?… she didn’t say that? Well, I'm pretty sure it was something close to that.
We all know that quilting takes some WORK, and whether you’re giving that finished masterpiece to your niece, selling it on Etsy, or even just keeping the dang quilt cause you made it and you deserve it... that quilt needs its own personal label.
Quilt labels come in all shapes, sizes, materials and styles, so you can experiment and figure out what works for you. If you have any interest in entering your quilt into a gallery or show, one main requirement is a label, so you might as well start labeling all of your quilts! Here are some great, creative ways to label your quilt, so you get credit where credit is due!
Sometimes, it’s good to go the KISS route (Keep It Simple, Superstar!) This twill tape is a great way to get your label on your quilts without getting too elaborate. The pictures below are brought to you by the fabulous quilter, Evie Jespersen. She machine stitches her twill tape label into the corner when applying binding on the face of the quilt. She then hand stitches the binding over.
You can find something similar on Etsy.
Print Your Own on Freezer Paper
I do this every time I send a quilt off to be displayed in a quilt show. Quilt shows typically require a lot more information on a quilt label than you would normally put on a quilt – for example, your address.
The instructions below explain how to use regular freezer paper to print your quilt label on a common laser printer. If you want to skip the freezer paper and make this process even easier, check out Terial Magic! I wrote a post about this fun fabric spray here, along with some free labels you can print yourself!
Print Your Own Quilt Label Tutorial
- To start, cut a piece of freezer paper and light-colored fabric slightly larger than a standard piece of printer paper (in the US, that's 8 1/2" x 11").
- Place the freezer paper shiny side down on top of the fabric. The freezer paper will stick a bit.
- With an iron on the cotton setting, press the freezer paper onto the fabric until it sticks (this only takes a few seconds.)
- Using your ruler and rotary cutter, trim them both to the exact size of regular printer paper.
- Now, you can feed your fabric-and-freezer-paper sheet into your printer as if it was printing paper! I had to change a setting on my printer so I could feed the "thick paper" into a tray in the back, but other than that, it's easy-peezy!
- After you print, simply peel off the freezer paper and voila! You have your very own quilting label.
FYI that is not my address. Also FYI you can see more pictures of my Lake Michigan in Denim quilt here!
Even though embroidery takes some time, and most people need to practice a bit before getting the hang of it, embroidery is a great way to make hyper-customized labels for quilts that are really beautiful.
The above photo was taken by the shop Bug and Bean, which has since closed. For a similar shop offering custom embroidery labels, check out Winston and Windsor!
Custom Woven Quilt Label
If you want to get real professional, you can also buy custom quilt labels. There are many independent label sellers online that do a very high-quality job. Custom labels can be great for serious sellers, and make quilts look especially official. They’re also a fun way to make a gift extra-special.
When I ordered this set of labels I was deeply obsessed with my hobby as an amateur quilt historian. I wanted to be sure that 100 years from now my great-grandchildren knew exactly when their awesome ancestor made the heirloom quilt that now hangs front and center in their main foyer. So, in that vein, I printed all of my labels with dates...not realizing that a batch of 100 labels might be a few too many for one year. Ooops!
Anyone need a Suzy Quilts 2016 label?
In the infamous words of the candy company Reese’s, “There’s no wrong way to label a quilt.” Get your name on there, let people know it came from your, talented, crafty hands, you deserve it.
Do you have an interesting way to label a quilt or a favorite quilt label vendor? Please do share! I'm always looking for a fun (and easy) way to label my quilts.
54 thoughts on “4 Creative Ways to Label a Quilt”
I love these ideas! Especially the freezer paper method- never thought of that. Thanks for sharing!
Love these tips! Especially the freezer paper method- I didn’t know about that!
Yes! I’ve used it many times. Works great!
Do you need special fabric ink to use this method?
Nope! That’s what’s so great about it. Just use the ink that’s in your printer!
any special ink to use? so that the ink does not run in the wash?
I’ve tried this before and the ink ran 🙁 What type of printer and ink have you used with success??
oh no! I have a Cannon printer and whatever ink goes with that.
Is the fabric/freezer paper method in lieu of the packaged printer option you can buy at the fabric store? Secondly, I’ve used the alphabets on my machine to customize each quilt.
The freezer paper method just enables regular broadcloth you already have at home to run through your printer smoothly. I haven’t tried the packaged printer option.
When I read your headline I thought of using transfer paper and an inkjet printer. You might as well iron this directly on the back of the quilt and skip the extra fabric label.
Another way I have used before is a plotter and vinyl foil. I simple cut out the words and iron it on the back.
Using the freezer paper method, is it really washable?
Full disclosure – I have yet to wash any of my quilts with the inkjet printer labels. However, I would assume that the ink is permanent, and based on other tutorials I’ve read online, it is. If you want to be sure, might as well try it out, then throw the label into the washing machine before sewing it to anything.
I have done this on the fabric paper you buy in the store and the inkjet ink holds up to a wash. Not sure if it’s the ink or the fabric paper I used.
Heat set the ink with a dry press cloth and hot iron. Or should be permanent at that point. 🙂
“Ink ” should be permanent! I live for autocorrect! Ha!
After printing my label on freezer paper and inkjet printer, I soak the label in vinegar for 20 minutes and that sets the ink. Once dry, you can’t smell the vinegar. Hope this helps.
White vinegar? Diluted or full strength?
Gurl, you’re the best. Keep at it. I love every one of your blog posts! xoxxo
Question: will the freezer paper method last through washing one’s quilt?
Tutti girl! I’m not 100% sure about the freezer paper method lasting through the wash. Read the comment above for my full disclosure. xoxoxoxo
Thank you, Suzy!
Great ideas! Thank your for some fun ways to make labels. I never thought of using twill tape.
I do want to have some professional labels made for my creative handmade makes.
Thanks for the inspiration!
I always took a piece of fabric close to what the backing is and hand wrote onto my fabric, sewing it by hand onto the quilt back. I have also taken my special waterproof pen and written directly onto the quilt. It does fade somewhat though. I just made a quilt with deep purple flannel backing and am unsure what to label this with, I do like your many ideas though.
I cross-stitch my labels on Aida cloth and they wash just fine. I bind the edges.
where did you buy your custom labels?
I bought these from a vendor on Etsy, I don’t remember exactly who. If you do a search for “woven labels” on Etsy a lot of different options pop up. Even some iron-on labels that could be nice.
Great post. Thank you.
Thank you so much for these tips. So far I’ve not put a label on anything – but that shall change. Hugs Patricia x
I can sometimes forget too 😉 But I think it’s a really important finishing touch!
Suzy, you read my mind! Hunting for labels now.
I love how you hand sewed that mustard binding on! Did you just use the same method as you would use to tack it down invisibly…but just change your stitch to a visible one? Does that make sense?!
Exactly right! I used my typical hand quilting technique and stitched it to the front rather than the back. It’s a fun way to add extra flavor to binding 🙂
I made a quilt for a dear friend intending it to be a retirement gift in 2005. I gave it to her in 2015. I attached a handwritten label listing all the events in her life spanning those ten years..retirement, grandchildren, moving far away, remarrying and moving back..she loved it!
I bet! That sounds amazing!
Suzy, I know ONE Marley, who has a Nonnie…….could it be possible for it to be “my” Nonnie who immigrated to Canada from South Africa??????
LOVE your creative mind!!!!!
You could trim the 2016 off of the top of your label and hand sign the date below Suzy Quilts. Voile! You can now use your beautiful labels any time.
Thanks for the different methods! I use the freezer paper method – I can fit a heap of info on these labels. Though I have thought of getting some printed (maybe without a date! 🙂
Love quilt labels, they make them feel so special! i currently embroider all my labels, which definitely takes some time. I’ve been looking into making a stamp/lino block to print labels to lower my time to just embroidering a name&date.
Some great ideas & a good reminder for me! I don’t use traditional labels on some of my quilts, but I understand their importance. So, I’ve tried to get creative. 1) I have embroidered my info within a block on the front…blending, small as not to distract from design. 2) WhIle FMQ the quilt I’ve ‘written’ details. 3) using my embroidery machine, I’ve stitched out details in a single, long strip, then sewing it along edge of binding to blend with the backing (next to, not on the binding).
I never would have thought of using freezer paper with an iron to make a makeshift label for a quilt! That’s very creative, and probably something my grandmother would enjoy since she likes to make quilts as a hobby. I imagine it would look very good as well to have a professional service print several labels for you.
I use commercial freezer-paper backed fabric sheets to create my labels. I tried making my own but it delaminated in the printer. I will have to check for the adjustment for thicker paper as the commercial ones can get very expensive but print beautifully.
I see folks writing on quilts for special group quilts or gifts with what I assume is some special kind of marker or pen. Any thoughts on best one out their that doesn’t bleed or wash away over time? I’m in process of ordering custom twill labels but when mood strikes I would love to commemorate special quilt gifts with some words and I’m know embroiderer!! Thanks
Do you have a preferred freezer paper or does it matter?
Whatever is available to you will work.
I do not have an ink jet printer so I just printed my message is bold and put under white cotton and traced with a permanent micron pen. Then I lined it and sewed in the corner.
In step 2. do you put the freezer paper shiny side down on the right side or wrong side of the material, I’m new at this.
Great question! On the wrong side of the fabric. The purpose of the freezer paper is the make the fabric stiff enough to run through your printer.
My sewing machine does simple lettering in a line. It’s a bit tedious to program so I keep it shortish (Handmade for X by Me 2017-20). I’ve used it to embroider details on the right side of finished binding using a contrasting thread on the top and matching thread in the bobbin. Great for the last minute “oops, forgot the label” times.
The picture of your Lake Michigan in Denim label… how did you physically sew that label onto the quilt? I don’t see any stitches, but it looks like it was done after it was quilted. I can’t wrap my mind around how to add one of these labels without stiches appearing on the quilt top.
Yep, there are stitches on that label! If you zoom in you’ll see a whip stitch around all four edges. When you sew a label on, you can do it just like a quilt binding and only put your needle through the back and batting layer so your stitches won’t appear on the quilt top. Hope that helps!
A group of us once made a quilt for a couple’s wedding. I took it to a local T-shirt printing shop and they printed directly onto the corner of the quilt. I just had to provide them with a digital file of what I wanted to say, which also included a small icon like Suzy’s “Q”. They had lots of colors to choose from and it was a bit fussy. It worked really well.
I learned the hard way that the colored ink in an inkjet printer WILL wash out but the black ink is a pigma ink and won’t wash out. It probably helps to set it with a hot iron. I sometimes use the freezer paper method (or just starch) and then use a pigma pen to sign and date the quilt. I like seeing a handwritten signature.
Thanks for these great ideas! I have some 8½” x 11″ iron-on printable fabric sheets but they’re plain off-white. I like the freezer paper idea for when I might want to use coloured or printed fabric for the label. I also have a fabric panel of cute pre-printed labels (from Figo) that I can embroider in the date, my name and the name of the recipient. It’s nice to have lots of options.
I had a rubber stamp with my stylized name made on Etsy. Then I stamp whatever fabric, block or piece and can add date, place “with love from grandma” or whatever else might be appropriate. I use an archival ink and it seems to hold up pretty well