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How to Make a Custom Label for a Quilt

A lover of arts and crafts, Shasta Matova enjoys making artistic, applique, pieced, traditional, miniature, modern, and crazy quilts.

Labeling your quilts is important documentation.

Labeling your quilts is important documentation.

How to Document Your Quilt With a Custom Label

Many people have purchased quilts at an antique store or auction and wondered about the story and history of the quilt. They want to know who took the time to lovingly make a quilt. They wonder whether it is an antique quilt or a reproduction of one. They want to know where it was made, and why. Unfortunately, all of this information and history is lost, simply because the quilt maker did not bother to label her quilt.

Why Should You Label a Quilt?

When you are excited about finishing a quilt, sometimes putting a label on a quilt seems like too much work, because you are anxious to move on to the next project. Labeling a quilt is quick and easy. It helps you remember when you made something. When the quilt is inherited down the generations, you and your quilting talents will be remembered.

Are Quilt Labels for Experts Only?

Sometimes it feels like labeling a quilt is pretentious, like you are declaring yourself to be an artist or some kind of creator. Well, if you make a quilt, then you are one, and you shouldn't feel shy about identifying yourself as one. Besides, you can think of it this way. Would you feel bad about putting your name on a book you lend to a friend, or a CD you take to a party, just so they remember who it belongs to? The label just gives a provenance, a history of the quilt. And just imagine the relief some people might feel reading a label and finding out that this ugly quilt wasn't made by their grandma! Even if you keep the quilt at home, it is very helpful to help you remember. You can simply look at a label to find out when you made a particular quilt.

Quilt Label Ideas

Creating a label is as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.

Fabric pen. The simplest way is to take a fabric pen and sign your name directly on the quilt either on the front or the back. Most people generally put the label on the back to avoid interfering with the design on the front. If you sign the hanging sleeve, you can ensure that the pen will not bleed through the front.

Stitched signature. You can also quilt your signature in if you are doing free motion quilting, or add some stitchery by machine or by hand.

Fabric label. Most quilters prefer to make a quilt label on a separate light piece of fabric and attach it to the back of the quilt. If you do this, it is generally recommended that you add it before quilting, so someone can't take the label off and claim the quilt as their own.

  • You can use an embroidery machine to put your information in a nice design.
  • You can make a quilt block, or use an extra one that mirrors the design on the front, and use that as a label.
  • You can print a label using your computer complete with pictures and typed information. You can use photographs, or drawings to enhance your labels. Tags designed for scrapbooks make great quilt labels.
  • You can write your information on a separate piece of fabric and attach it to the back. If you don't like your own writing, simply ask someone else to write it.
You can write your information on a separate piece of fabric and attach it to the back. If you don't like your own writing, simply ask someone else to write it.

You can write your information on a separate piece of fabric and attach it to the back. If you don't like your own writing, simply ask someone else to write it.

What Kind of Information Do You Put on a Label?

The most important pieces of information to add to a label, of course, is your name, and the date you finished the quilt. If you remember the exact date, use that for the label, but if you don't, use an estimate. A month and year, or even a year by itself is better than nothing. Since you made the quilt, your estimate is likely to be a more accurate one than an estimate by someone many years later.

Other facts that are fun to include, especially if they are noteworthy, are:

  • Name of the quilt
  • Where you made the quilt (city and state)
  • Who it was made for, and their relationship to you, and maybe their city and state
  • Wash and care instructions
  • Who helped you with the quilt
  • Where did you get the pattern, or idea for this quilt
  • Anything unusual about the fabric - (made from grandma's clothes, etc.)
  • Who quilted it
  • Why you made it, was there a special occasion?
  • Your age when you finished it
  • A photo of yourself
  • Your favorite quote
  • Number of pieces in the quilt
  • How long it took you to make it - the starting date as well as the ending date
  • Any secrets you have hidden in the quilt
  • Any symbols on the quilt and what they mean

I think the more you say, the better it is for historical purposes, but even if all you do is write your name on the backing, it will provide valuable information for yourself and others who may eventually own the quilt.

Putting labels on quilts is not only important, but it's another fun and creative component of quilt making.

Putting labels on quilts is not only important, but it's another fun and creative component of quilt making.

How Do You Attach the Label to the Quilt?

You can put a fusible material on the back of the label, like Steam-a-Seam2, and press it on the back of the quilt. Or you can sew it on by hand, being careful to make sure the stitches do not show on the front of the quilt.

An easy way to attach a label is to sew it into the corner of the quilt. Just fold down the two sides that will not be hidden in the seam allowance. Baste two of the sides to the corner about 1/8 inch from the edge before applying the binding. Stitch the remaining two sides of the label by hand when you are hand sewing the binding.

Another way to avoid hand sewing a label is to take a five-inch or larger square piece of fabric and fold it in half diagonally. Baste the raw edges into the corner, and put your information in the resulting triangle. Be sure to write well away from the part that will be covered by the binding. The triangle label does not need to be sewn down, although you may want to sew it down if you are making a baby quilt. You don't want the baby's hand or foot to get caught in the label. These triangles can even be used to hang a small quilt. Add a triangle to each side at the top, and insert a dowel rod. The dowel rod can then hang on a nail or hook on the wall.

There are so many ways, and they are so easy, you have no legitimate excuse to not have a label on your quilt.

Additional Resources

My Quilt Labels board on Pinterest has many examples of additional quilt labels that can serve as inspiration for your next quilt label.

A Quilt for Future Generations

Adding a quilt label is quick and easy, but it really provides valuable information for you and future generations. When someone buys your quilt at an antique store, they will think of you and know who it is that made this gorgeous piece of textile art.

Remember, a quilt is not really finished until it has a label.

Questions & Answers

Question: If writing the label for a quilt, what kind of marker do you use?

Answer: Since the writing is on the back, and on a separate label which is attached to my quilt, I am not very choosy about what marker I use. The separate label will keep the ink from bleeding into the quilt. I use whatever permanent marker is handy. I have used a Sharpie from time to time. The Sharpie bleeds so I keep my spacing far apart so the words are legible. It is more important to have the important facts documented on the label than worry about the prettiness of the label.

Since then I have used a Micron Pigma marker which has a fine point and does not bleed. Sometimes the tiny point gets stuck on the fabric, but it is a nice clean mark. I am pretty sure it comes in different sizes but I only tried the one. Lately, I have been using Arteza Fabric Markers which come in a variety of colors. They don't bleed as much as a Sharpie and the tip is big enough not to get stuck in the fabric. The fabric markers can also be used on the front of the quilt for art quilts.

Question: Which is the best pen for writing labels?

Answer: I haven't chosen a favorite, because, for me, the best pen is the one that is available. I am thinking about doing a test with the markers I do have so I can show everyone the pros and cons of each. It might not be fair though, since some of the markers are a lot older than the others. Right now, I tend to use the Arteza fabric marker. It is like a Sharpie but doesn't bleed as much.

© 2011 Shasta Matova

Comments on "How to Make a Quilt Label"

peachy from Home Sweet Home on April 06, 2015:

thanks for your tips, I should get a piece of cloth and write down before I start the pieces of fabrics

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on February 09, 2015:

Thanks peachpurple. Even if you don't make your own quilts, it is important to document whatever artwork you do make, and quilts and art work that have been handed down to you.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 05, 2015:

i am not good at quilt but will try

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on March 16, 2013:

That's great Rogene. I am glad you label and sign your quilts.

Rogene Robbins on March 11, 2013:

You gave good information here. I label all my quilts. I also sign them on the front.

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on August 02, 2012:

I look forward to seeing your new, labeled, quilt, New Newbie. I am sure it will be lovely.

New Newbie on August 01, 2012:

The idea of labels to make it very personal is what inspires me to make another one.

My one and only baby quilt fell apart. I'd used transparent thread and I heard it didn't like the drier. Live and learn. :(

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on July 31, 2012:

Thank you mvillecat - I enjoy cutting my labels into interesting shapes as well to make a label more interesting. A heart shaped one is a great idea.

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on July 31, 2012:

Thank you New Newbie for your comment and compliment. Yes, I think it is a great idea for you to make another quilt. Just be sure to add a quilt label. In fact, it might not be too late for you to label that old quilt if it hasn't been used to shreds.

Catherine Dean from Milledgeville, Georgia on July 29, 2012:

Thanks for the interesting Hub. I have been making mine shaped like hearts but I love the folded envelope you have pictured. I will try that and I know it will be beautiful. I usually write on felt fabric-just seems easier to me.

New Newbie on July 29, 2012:

I enjoyed reading this information. You made it easy to understand. I wish I'd read this 23 yrs ago when I made a baby quilt for my first grandchild. It was the first and only quilt I've ever made. It would have been a very special touch with a label.

I just may make another baby quilt . Thanks for the great info.

Your Cousins from Atlanta, GA on July 16, 2012:

When I first started what I like to call "freestyle" quilting, I ordered labels with my name on them. But when I got ready to sew them in, I didn't think they looked as special as the ones I made by hand. So now I always do them myself. Thanks for the article.

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on June 20, 2012:

Thank you radhikasree. Anytime you make any kind of art or craft, it is helpful to make sure you have your name on it, so your family and others know that you made it. Can you imagine how valuable a first painting is of a famous artist would be?

Radhika Sreekanth from Mumbai,India on June 20, 2012:

Nice tips for labeling a quilt. I've never thought of doing it before (even I'm not a great craft maker) and I'll keep these in mind to label those that rest in my bags. Thanks for sharing.

Up and useful.

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on May 11, 2012:

Thank you livingpa2004 - I think the lesson here is that whatever kind of artwork you do, you should label it. You never know when it might become an heirloom, or last through generations and have people wondering who made it.

Milli from USA on May 10, 2012:

Fascinating hub! I do no know anything about quilting and labeling but I loved reading it. Congratulations on Hub of the day!

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on April 27, 2012:

Thanks ishwayaa22. It is hard for a quilter to think of herself as an artist, but we definitely need to put a label for every quilt. Thanks for the share and the votes as well.

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on April 26, 2012:

An informative and engaging read! I totally agree with you about the importance of creating the quilt label. Artists signed their names on their paintings so that their art will be remembered for many years, so the same applies in case of quilts. The instructions and tips listed by you are very helpful and noteworthy. Belated Congrats on the well deserved hub of the day. Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up.

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on March 19, 2012:

Thank you myawn, it doesn't take much time to make a label, and it makes such a big difference for a quilt. I do hope that my best quilts are passed down through the generations.

myawn from Florida on March 19, 2012:

I think this is a very good idea to label your quilt. IT will probadly be passed down to the next generations. It is well worth the time. Thanks for the nice hub about this subject.

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on December 11, 2011:

Thanks MysticTurtle. Most of my quilt labels are applied in the corner. Almost the only time they are not is if I forget to apply a label on my quilt before I sew the binding down.

MysticTurtle on December 11, 2011:

I'd been trying to decide how I wanted to label my quilts. I'm going to try the label in the corner idea. Thanks!

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on December 10, 2011:

Thank you alissaroberts for your vote and comment. A sweet message on a quilt does make a big difference in its presentation and meaning.

Alissa Roberts from Normandy, TN on December 09, 2011:

Great hub! A friend of my mother in law made a quilt for me after the birth of my first son. The first thing i noticed about it was that she added the sweetest message about motherhood on the quilt label - that just made it even more special. Voted up and useful!

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on December 09, 2011:

Congratulations on having a quilt in a show, and receiving an honorable mention! I haven't entered any quilts yet. Good idea to read the show's requirements for labeling.

lpanfil from Cleveland, Ohio on December 09, 2011:

I recently entered my first quilt show (and received an honorable mention I might add) where you had to label your quilt. Their requirements were name, title and date completed. So, if you are working on a quilt for a show, you may want to read through the show's requirements. Nice hub!

anjali on December 07, 2011:

Sometimes it feels like labeling a quilt is pretentious, like you are declaring yourself to be an artist or some kind of creator

Dreamer at heart from Northern California on December 06, 2011:

yea! hub of the day.. congratulations

Stephanie Bradberry from New Jersey on December 06, 2011:

Once again, a very nice hub about quilting. I always thought about adding a label, but did not want to ruin something I worked hard on, seeing how my skills are still building as it is. But it is definitely something I will try soon, maybe on the quilt I am working on now for my niece for Christmas. Congratulations on your award! You certainly deserve it with all the publishing you have been doing.

moonlake from America on December 06, 2011:

Congratulations! Good Hub. I always make a label when I do a quilt.

arusho from University Place, Wa. on December 06, 2011:

That was good. Yeah, Hub of the Day!!

Raj Lally Batala from Chicago ,USA on December 06, 2011:

Congratulations! Good Hub.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 06, 2011:

This is such a useful article for all crafters. It is really important to label your work so people know where it came from and know who to contact if they'd like more pieces in the future. Thanks for all of the great tips.

Congrats on getting Hub of the Day!

GoingDutch on December 06, 2011:

Oh I'd love a beautiful quilt like that!

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on December 06, 2011:

Thank you everyone. I am really excited to get a Hub of the Day! I can't believe it. A quilt is a work of art, and a label is a necessary part of the artwork.

bloggering from Southern California on December 06, 2011:

Woo-Hoo! Congrats on making hub of the day!!!

Dr Manura Nanayakkara from Sri Lanka on December 06, 2011:

Quilting seems to be a good way to express one's artistic side. Thanks for the hub.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on December 06, 2011:

Congratulations! Good Hub. I have a quilt that my Mother made that I treasure. I've never done quilting, although I enjoy sewing. Regards, Mary

Dreamer at heart from Northern California on December 06, 2011:

Thanks. I once found a wonderful crazy quilt all finely stitched with colored embroidery at a yard sale. I only wish it would have had a label so that I would have been able to identify the maker and date. I used to label my large woven wall hangings similar to this label with my name. Your article is informative and just the right length.

princesswithapen on December 06, 2011:

This hub reminds me of a friend who pursued quilting as a hobby. Her initials, the date and the place where the quilt was made were always stitched on whatever she made. Nice hub and congratulations for being voted as the hub of the day. Very deserving!

Princesswithapen

RTalloni on December 06, 2011:

So glad to learn about this before I make another quilt. I've only done lap quilts in the past, and now I wish I'd labeled them! Thanks for the info and congrats on Hub of the Day!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on December 06, 2011:

Congrats MT on Hub Of the Day!!! :)

Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on December 06, 2011:

I have a crazy quilt that my great-grandmother made in 1905. Yes, she entered it in the county fair and it won a prize. It is all in velvets with embroidery around all the pieces. She also embroidered her name and the date on it. Right on the bottom right hand corner. Signed like the work of art it is.

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on December 06, 2011:

I have made quite a few quilts. Some are labelled and some are not. I guess I better get busy. You have definitely shown why it is important.

Congratulations on hub of the day!

Sannel on December 06, 2011:

Congratulations on the Hub of the Day and thanks for sharing this with us.

I don't quilt. However, I have some beautiful handmade quilts I have inherited, and just wished those who made them had put a label on it. In fact, who ever make anything hand-made, should always put a label on their work. It's a unique and important touch.

Thank you!

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on November 09, 2011:

ytsenoh - I am glad you are excited about finishing your mom's quilt. I am sure she would have appreciated knowing it was finished and in use instead of sitting on a shelf somewhere. No problem in addressing me Mr. or Ms. Yep, women can be millionaires too! I am just happy to have you following me. Shasta