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Marked for All Time: Using Embroidered Quilt Labels

Ask any quilt historian and they will tell you the seven saddest words they hear: “I do not know who made this.” Quilt labels are not used just for bragging rights. They are an important means of preserving history. Here is what you should include label on your quilts.

Sample quilt label.Silent Light label design via Embroidery Library

A quilt label is so much more than just a piece of fabric with words on it. It is an everlasting testament to the maker. Whether you are making a full-fledged quilt, wall hanging or table runner, you should include a label.

 Album Block quilt label.

Album Block Quilt Label pattern via Bluprint member Bag and Baggage

Here is what you need to know about making quilt labels for your projects:

Basic information

At the very least, these four items should be on all quilt labels:

  • The full name of the quilt maker, including maiden name
  • Name of the quilt pattern
  • City and state where it was created
  • The year it was made

Some quilters even include a strip of the selvage to frame their quilt label and identify the fabric used. Other additions could be the name of the person who quilted the item and even the story behind the piece. Why was that pattern chosen? How long did it take to finish? Was it made to commemorate a special occasion? Had the quilt been started by a mother or grandmother and finished by a later generation?

Applique Christmas quilt label

Christmas Quilt Label pattern via Bluprint member Bag and Baggage

Use a coordinating theme

Use a quilt block or appliqué template from the quilt as the label like this beautiful appliqué label by Bluprint member Bag and Baggage.

sweet romance quilt label

Quilt Label 5 design via Bluprint member Allen J Embroidery

Hand-written labels

Items written by hand add a personal touch, and quilt labels are no different. They do, however, need some special consideration.

  • Use archival, acid-free ink.
  • Iron a piece of freezer paper on the back to stabilize the label fabric and make it easier to write upon.
  • Heat set the print according to manufacturers’ directions

Fancy machine embroidered quilt label frame.

Quilt Label 2 and Quilt Label 3 patterns via Bluprint member Allen J Embroidery

Embroidered labels

  • Hand embroider or machine embroider the information on the label.
  • Design the label on your computer and print it on inkjet fabric.
  • Some designers even print directly on the fabric, using freezer paper pressed to the back of the fabric to make it stiff enough to run through the printer.

Hand embroidered quilt label for baby.Quilt Label for Baby pattern via Bluprint member beth shib2390740

Secure it to the quilt

Sew the label onto the backing before quilting or place it in a corner where binding will encase two sides. That way, it will not get separated from the quilt over time.

Here are some examples of machine embroidered quilt labels:

Vintage

Vintage machine embroidered quilt labels.

Photos via Emblibrary.com

Get the Bird and Blooms design (top) here.
Get the Blooming Block Party design (bottom) here.

Pieced blocks

Friendship Star Get the Friendship Star quilt label design here.
Get the Star of the East design here.

 Old time favorites

Job's Tears and Sunbonnet Sue quilt labels. Get the Job’s Tears design here.
Get the Sunbonnet Sue design here.

You might also enjoy our tutorial on making a quilt label.

Quilt elegant embellishments on your embroidery machine, with simple techniques that create detail-rich quilts you’ll be proud to show off! Enroll in The Machine Embroidered Quilt online class with Eileen Roche to get started today.

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3 Comments

Barb Yates

There is a woman who designs paper-pieced labels too; some are quite intricate and all are very decorative. I have many of her patterns and like them very much.

Reply
Barb Yates

There is a woman who designs paper-pieced labels too; some are quite intricate and all are very decorative. I have many of her patterns and like them very much.

Reply
Linda lee

Do you know her name

Reply

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