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Why and How Should We Label Our Quilts?

Mary Norman

October 3, 2023


Labelling our quilts is an important part of the process here’s why.

I need to start this blog with my hands in the air. I know the whys and where fors of labelling a quilt but I struggle to practice what I preach. I am hoping by writing this blog it will not only encourage you but me also to label our quilts.

We all know what goes into a quilt. The highs of planning, buying fabric, designing or finding that perfect pattern. The lows of it not going quite right, the hours with a seam ripper the muttering the head scratching as to why it was wrong. Tempers may be lost, bits might end up in the bin and sailor like language may be used! Oh yes we all know this “genteel” craft can sometimes take a turn…….

So having gone through all of this why wouldn’t we label it? Artists sign their paintings, sculptors sign their sculptures why don’t we sign our quilts? I can honestly say I don’t out of sheer laziness, there I have said it.

I am going to change my ways because there is a good chance these quilts will be around longer than I am.

Each quilt is unique even if you use a kit because you have made it. Each quilt has a story a reason for making, maybe a person you are making it for. I know I look at my quilts and they remind me of a moment in time they transport me to when I was making them. I remember where I got the fabric what was happening in my life when making it, amazing really as ask me what I had for tea last night and I will properly have to think about it! Labelling can pass this feeling and information on for future owners of your quilt. Imagine what amazing information we would have got from those fabulous old quilts we have in our collections and museums if they were labelled. Wouldn’t you love to know the makers names and the story of their quilts?

If those arguments are not strong enough how about a more practical reason? Labelling our quilts can facilitate the tracking of quilts in case they are lost or stolen. The information provided on the label can help identify the quilt’s rightful owner and ensure its safe return.

Hopefully now you are fully on board with labelling your quilts but how do we physically do the labelling? You will be pleased to hear there are dozens of ways some taking more time than others. I will out line a few ways here but I am sure you can add more, if you can please add in the comments section at the bottom of this blog.

You can use your printer to print labels! You will need an inkjet printer, your fabric and some freezer paper. Cut the freezer paper to an A4 size and press onto the reverse of your fabric. Type up the information you would like add any images or designs and print onto your fabric. Give a good press with a hot iron.

Do you have an embroidery machine? If yes then these are great for making your labels. Type in all your information maybe add some motifs. If no you can find people who will make the label for you, Etsy is a good place to look.

Hand embroidery is a good option. This can be done on quilting fabric or even pre printed fabric labels. When I do this I use a font from my computer type up my label print it out and trace it off, I do this as my writing is not particularly pretty. Aida can also be used. A simple backstitch is all that is needed but if you felt fancy you could embroider other stitches too. choose a thread that goes with your quilt. Maybe put a frame of coloured fabric around your label like I have here with a little EPP (English Paper Piecing)

Fabric pens are a super easy way of labelling your quilt and durable too. Just write all the information you want. Make sure you get a fine tip or you may find the letters bleed into the label fabric. You could even make your label a fancy shape like this hexagon.

Now you know how to label what should you put on your label. This really is a personal choice but your name and date is a minimum listed below are other ideas.

Name of the quilt

Name of the recipient

Where is was made

Start and Finish date

Reason for making eg Birth, wedding, going to uni, memory quilt

What the inspiration was

Blocks used

Materials and Techniques

A poem or saying or something funny eg This quilt took a very long time, Made with love and a lot of swearing

Washing instructions

The label can be any size or shape you want. Usually they are stitched into a bottom corner of the quilt but as always there are no hard and fast rules. Something I have noticed as becoming fashionable at the moment is a label put across a corner in a triangle shape and stitched in with the binding which is great for security. While thinking of security a label can be added before the quilting process so that it is going to be very tricky to take out without damaging the quilt.

In conclusion adding labels to your quilts makes them personal, it will help future generations know all about your quilt and it’s your way of signing your work.

Quilting Hugs



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