Quilt Labels and Why We Need Them

All Quilts submitted to the EDQG Festival of Quilts must have a label. The label must have your name and the name of your piece. You may add whatever other information you wish. The label is covered for judging. The traditional place for a label is the bottom right hand corner as you look at the quilt from the front. If your quilt already has a label near the bottom of it, we do not require you to move it. “Three- dimensional” objects and “Wearables” must have a label.


Thoughts on why and how to label your quilts

Why label your quilts…

  • It says you are proud of your work and want people to know you made it.
  • It can make a gift of a quilt very special. The recipient sees a special label. It says this quilt was made especially for him and can also say why and when as well as by whom.
  • Or it can say that this person made this quilt.
  • It records information for future generations. If you make a quilt for a granddaughter and it survives to be handed down to a great granddaughter, the information about it will be there.


What to put on a label…

Any or all of the following can be included:

  • Name of the quilt
  • Source of the pattern and designer
  • If it is not a quilt from a pattern but one you designed, it should say so, e.g. “original design”.
  • Why it was made
  • What is was made for
  • Where it was made e.g. Sherwood Park, Alberta
  • The name of anyone that worked on it – e.g. the name of the quilter if you did not quilt it yourself
  • Techniques used – e.g. machine pieced from my hand-dyed fabrics
  • The date it was made
  • The inspiration for the quilt – e.g. the sunset last night or what I learned in a class taught by Suzy Quilt Teacher
  • Care instructions – e.g. machine wash in cool water, machine dry
  • Anything else you would like the recipient to know


Where to put a label…

The bottom right-hand corner is the traditional place to put your label. This is the right-hand corner when you look at the quilt from the front. To prove the quilt is yours, some people like to sign their quilt in a hidden spot as well. This can be under the binding or under the sleeve. The label can be pieced into the back of the quilt or attached to the back the quilt before it is quilted. Think about what thread colour will be used in the bobbin as the bobbin thread will show on the label. A label that is included in the quilting cannot be removed without damaging the quilt.


How to make a quilt label…

  1. Hand written
    You can write the information on the quilt back with a permanent pen. I like to write the information on the computer and print it on paper. I use this as a template to trace or copy on to fabric with a permanent pen. It keeps all the writing the same size and straight.

  2. Print it on a computer
    Use a printer that uses ink (ink jet, bubble ink jet) not a printer that uses a toner (laser printer). You can buy packages of fabric already fixed to paper and sized correctly for a standard printer.  Most brands of such fabric are already treated with a chemical to stabilize the ink or you can use a liquid called “Bubble Jet Set”. I have not tried it. I make my fabric sheets by ironing fabric to freezer paper. The information can be printed from a computer onto the stabilized fabric. If I am concerned about the label fading with multiple washings, I use a permanent pen.

  3. Decorating your label
    You can add art work or photographs to labels. There is no rule that says you cannot draw on a quilt label with a coloured pen, or with paint. I found labels at Connecting Threads that I could use. I saved one to my desktop and then inserted it in a word document. Then I inserted a text box, typed the information and played around with font size and type. There are probably other ways to do this that I don’t know about. You can applique on to a label or add something that is from the front of the quilt or something that is meaningful to you. You can add a border that helps to make the label stand out on the back of your quilt. I know someone who prints a baby’s picture on the label for baby quilts.

  4. Other Things to Consider
    • The fabric does not have to be white but must allow the writing to be easily read. 
    • Many online tutorials suggest stabilizing the fabric with freezer paper when you are going to write on it. I find the freezer paper can lead to smudging. A piece of regular paper under my fabric works for me. 
    • Make sure to set the ink. Usually this is done with heat, i.e. ironing the finished label. Check for any instructions on the products you are using. Letting it cure, i.e. let it dry and forget about it for a day or two, also helps. 
    • It is always a good idea to try the ink you are using on a sample of the fabric you are using. If it is a quilt that will be washed, then wash the sample. 
    • It is acceptable to label your quilt on the front as well as on the back (but this must be covered when quilts are entered in judged competitions.) Many fibre artists are signing their quilts the way an artist signs a painting.


Here are some links to sites with information about quilt labels:

Sandra Hamilton

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