A crucial part of the quiltmaking process that often gets neglected is the labeling. Sometimes you have struggled with a project and you just don’t want to mess with it anymore. Sometimes you are behind deadline and you need to send it off. Often though, you just don’t know how to make the label and so it gets left off. I have never regretted taking the time to label but boy, have I kicked myself when I look at a project years later and find that I DIDN’T take the time to write down the date of the project at the very least.
Labels can be fancy or low tech but get your name and the date on your work at the very least. Through the years I’ve tried several different methods.
I own an older embroidery machine so I stabilized a piece of muslin and then was able to machine embroider the image and then use a Pigma (indelible)pen to write the pertinent information. After I removed the stabilizer, I pressed under the seam allowance and then hand-stitched it to the back of the finished quilt. Some embroidery machines can be programmed to stitch strings of words and make a beautiful label.
These label stencils have the advantage that they are reusable. You can stabilize the label material by ironing it onto freezer paper and then use pens to draw in the design. I would use a chalk pencil to put in the lines for type or leave them out entirely.
Fabric companies know what a pain it can be to make labels so they make panels that you can buy. Cut out the one you want, stabilize it and put in your info. One panel will have several designs so it’s a nice way to get a variety for your stash.
The newest way to make labels is to design the label on your computer and then print out the label on special paper that is fused to stabilizer and will go through your printer. This is the same type of material that people use for photo transfer quilts. I show an example of one I made several years ago that has never been washed. I’ve found that the colors did not last on quilts that I made years ago that have been washed. I do think that the technology has improved considerably in the intervening years. Still, it’s sad to see that I can no longer see the date on my projects that have faded.
These presewn labels are a great addition to a quilt project especially if the quilt is going to someone that may not know how to take care of their gift. I gave out quilts to my daughters’ friends and put these labels on all of them. They are made similar to a manufacturers label and they won’t fade. You can see them here; Gorges Quilt Care Labels I also added personal labels to the graduation quilts that I had designed on the computer.
Labeling is important to document your work and also give credit to the quilter if you have had it quilted by someone else. If you put a quilt in a quilt show, they will want it to be identifiable. It is also important for those that will come after us and enjoy the work we left behind. I own several antique quilts that are not documented and it would be wonderful to know who worked on the quilt and when it was made.
Be kind to future generations and put a name on it!