Tuesday 12 March 2013

hand embroidered quilt label tutorial

You must label your quilts!
Imagine someone from the future
discovering who made their antique quilt.
So what better way then
to help you out 
with a tutorial.
I love making my quilt labels,
it's like signing a painting.
So with that said 
I'm cracking on with labelling up 
my french window mini that I made last year.
When I make my labels I make paper templates
much like English paper piecing.
I try to make my labels with a colours or a shapes that
tie in with the quilt.
You can of course keep it simple with a rectangle.
You will need:
A water soluble pen
A template
Some paper
Some coordinating threads
Some fabric
Your computer.
 Okay so here's my magic ingredient!
This is the secret to my tidy labels.
You need to load a blank photo onto picmonkey
(I took a photo of a piece of paper and whacked up the brightness to achieve a blank canvas)
(If any one knows a better way please let me know)
Once this has been done you need 
to click on the text button,
choose your font (the free ones)
and type out your label
and make it the correct size.
I have chosen a more twirly font than I normally use
as I wanted to add a little
je ne sais pas!
 Using your water soluble pen,
draw around your cotton label template.
(and leave a good seam allowance)
Find the centre with which you can use to
 line up your words. 
You should be able to see the letters through the cotton
you may need to brighten your screen
or tilt your laptop for a better view.
 Very gently trace the letters with your water soluble pen.
I do not advocate using any other type of marker for this part.
(please use common sense, I hold no responsibility for ruined screens!)
If in doubt why not print out your label onto paper
and stick it to a window
(to make a lightbox effect)
and trace the words like you did as a kid!
If you are using stranded thread,
split it into two, so you have a three strand thread,
which is less bulky.
I have chosen navy to match in with the quilt.
 Once you have sewn your labels 
emerse them in water, 
allow to dry,
give them a gentle press
and tack them to paper templates.
I made a two piece label
to emphasise the quilt pattern.
Press again to form a crisp edge 
with which to applique,
then remove the paper templates.
Pin your label in your chosen position.
(I like to line them up with quilting stitches where possible)
With matching thread attach your label
with an applique stitch,
or how you would hand stitch your binding.
 And here it is!
You could choose to outline the edge with 
some stitches in a contrasting thread
for added pizazz!
Truth be told I wish I'd 
made the selfsewn a different colour,
but I have at least labelled this quilt for prosperity!
Some might say this is an unnecessary embellishment,
probably true...but I enjoy this method.
Why go to all the hard work of  sewing a quilt
and not take pride making a pretty label?
Clare x


  1. Thanks for the tute. Love your labels! I never remember to label my quilts. I should start.

  2. Your labels are perfect, thanks for sharing! :) x

  3. Oh yes! You must label your quilts! I am about to finish my first 'proper' quilt and am thinking about the label - only problem is, I can't decide what to call it!!! x

  4. Thank you for the reminder! Your tutorial is so helpful and wonderful, too!!

  5. this is why I adore reading your blog - tracing from the computer screen?! bloody genius (not to mention saving paper)!!!
    beautiful labels :)

  6. I always used to label my quilts but in recent times I stopped! I had decided that during my next school holidays, I would label all my label-less ones. Now you have convinced me its a must!

  7. Great tutorial! I never make labels......very bad.......but now I'll try harder!

  8. thank you so much..... you're right after so much effort a quilt should have a label...will make a start with my latest!

  9. You make proper labels I just quilt my info on freehand with my machine but then I am a lot lazier than you Clare! Love your pro style labels but maybe not quite enough to follow suit - unless it is a very special one perhaps!?

  10. Wonderful! Your labels are like getting an extra scoop of ice cream! Yummy!

  11. My labels are usually pretty simple (if I label at all), but if the quilt is going to someone special, I try to do something a little different. One wallhanging had an embroidered label which took me nearly as much time as the quilt! Then again, it was going to a very special friend who notices and appreciates something like that.

  12. Love your labels! I put labels on baby quilts but for everything else I just embroider my name and year on the binding...

  13. I heard the coolest idea at QuiltCon about piecing your quilt labels into the back panel and then quilting through them after you make your sandwich. I mean, homegirl giving the lecture was assuming a lot by thinking that I would have the label done by the time I was ready to quilt it, but it was one of the more interesting label security ideas that she presented ;-)

  14. I found your blog by chance but I think your quilt labels are very inspiring. I usually scribble my initials and date at the last moment. I have been feeling for a while that this is not good enough( lol) I also love the english paper piecing. I may have more questions sometime. Thank you Carol Wilkie

  15. Hello Miss Jazzy crazy girl
    What a great tutorial. I have been a bit slack when it comes to label my quilts, I have to admit. I think I will start right now. For the Picmonkey, what a great tool it is. Can't live without that monkey business anymore. To get a completely white background to work with in Picmonkey do like this:
    - Create a collage
    - Click layout
    - Choose create your own (a sqaure will automatically appear
    - Save a white square.
    - Re-open Picmonkey
    - Choose Edit a photo
    - Upload your white square
    - Play with letters.
    Thanks Claire for sharing this.

  16. Thank you for such a useful tutorial. I will definitely be trying this in the future. Di x

  17. Just wrote and linked up a post on my orange explains it blog about this label tutorial and how inspiring it is. Then as I was reading over it I noticed you used your computer screen as a light table with a disclaimer. May I suggest a little masking tape to hold your tracing up on a day lighted window. No damage possible and it works very well. :-) with my label letter tracing.

  18. I love your labels, Claire! I haven't read this post and was happy to find it now on your sidelist! Thank you for the info and for inspiring to make beautiful labels! x Teje


  19. What is this font? I really like it.

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Your comments are greatly appreciated.
However you may find your comment doesnt appear,
dont worry its the thought that counts!
You can always find me on Instagram if you have any questions.
Clare x