Those Darned Labels

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I was sort of clueless about labeling quilts until I listened to Quilting for The Rest of us – Episode 27 “In Which We Document Our Quilts. I hadn’t labeled any of my projects and really didn’t see the importance of doing it. Listen to the episode if you haven’t – Sandy has some great suggestions on labeling and keeping quilt diaries.  I wanted to expand on this a bit and do a blog post on quilt labeling especially after receiving an e-mail from one of my readers, Laura, that asked about my Rainbow Insomnia label.

Let me start by saying flat out: I’m not an expert on quilt labeling. Right now I’m going by the belief that any label is better than no label at all.  Why Label My Quilt?

If you haven’t had the chance to visit a quilt museum yet you should go take a look at one. There are lots of antique quilts that were not labeled so we have no idea who the maker is, when it was made, where it was made, and what the maker was thinking. I know many of us aren’t thinking of our quilt being passed down 50-100 years from now but perhaps you came across an antique quilt in your life and you wondered how it came to be.  Wouldn’t a label have been nice to give you a little history?

What do I include on my quilt label?

When I do a label I try to include the following information:

  • Sewn By:
  • Quilted by:
  • The Quilt Name
  • Original designer of pattern (if known)
  • Date finished

Sometimes not all of that will fit but I try to include all of it for each quilt I finish now. For Rainbow Insomnia my embroidery machine was acting up so I wasn’t able to include a blurb saying Kimberly Einmo was the original pattern designer but it’ll be all over my blog and website so I know I’ll remember who did it!

As far as deciding what to include, here is where the road forks in about 20 different directions. You’ve got lots of options.

  • Quilts you are keeping
    I’d do a full label for these quilts. Chances are these quilts will eventually be passed down to a family member and they need to have all of the pertinent information on them. At the very least you’ll be making it easier to remember when you finished that particular quilt!
  • Quilts you are gifting
    Some people don’t understand the idea behind a full quilt label.  For these you might just want to include who it is from (the maker), who it is being gifted to, the month and year it was finished, and any special message you may want to include.  If you are giving a quilt to another quilter then by all means include everything.
  • Quilts you are selling
    Oftentimes quilts are made before you know who they are going to be sold to. For that you might just want a label with your business name and information on it.
  • Commissioned Quilts
    These are somewhat different than quilts that are just put on Etsy since you know who they are going to before they are made.  If the quilt that was commissioned is intended to be a gift for someone else I ask how they want the label personalized for the recipient and include a small line with my name, month and year in the label as the maker. If the quilt was commissioned for personal use I fill it out keeping that person in mind.
  • Quilts going to the dog or cat
    I’m not a cat person so I can’t speak for them but my dogs haven’t complained about not having a quilt label on their quilt yet. Cats might be pickier. Use your own discretion.

Attaching Your Label

Whatever option you chose I recommend you attach the label before you quilt your quilt.  I’m a firm believer that the label should be quilted into the back of the quilt so it becomes difficult to remove should it get stolen. If you happen to forget that’s fine – attach one afterwards but try to remember it next time!

So how do I do this labeling business anyway?

I’m going to use photo thumbnails to link up a bunch of tutorials so you can peruse as you will! There are all sorts of options for labeling.  Some are easier than others.

Hand Embroidered Quilt Label Tutorial

Tag Your Labels

Spoonflower Labels

easy to attach!

Printable Fabric Label

Quilt Care Label Tutorial


  1. Cats are pickier when it comes to labels. You know that they just won’t snuggle down on anything. Helps to put the sales price on it sometimes. The cats head for the most expensive thing around to sleep on!

  2. Just for the record: cat’s don’t care. 🙂 My kitties are going for anything they see for the first time until something newer comes. Like a freshly finished baby quilt. Exception: office chair that you’re using every day. Great post, made me thinking of labeling the baby quilt I just finished quilting yesterday. Thinking about embroidering, I’ll keep you posted!

  3. I had my labels made at a friends embroidery business. She needed the business I needed labels and do not like the inkjet fabric type. I keep it simple
    Made by
    date 20__ __ I embroider in the year
    I hand embroider something for giftee

    If I enter a show I give credit to longer, name of pattern on a typed document on the top of the quilt never on the back of the quilt.