13 Rectangle Fun Quilt-Along: the Quilt Label

The finish line is ahead! At this point, you have attached your binding, and your quilt is nearly ready to be used. Before that, you should consider attaching a label, particularly if it is going to be given as a gift for someone, as is my case.

We’ve all heard it before: quilts get lost or stolen. Although it is no guarantee for its recovery, should that occur, a good quilt label will help to identify your quilt. In addition, if it is an heirloom quilt, it will help tell its story generation after generation.  Whoever receives your beautiful quilt will thank you for recording the details  that make it a bit of living history.


At the very minimum, some basic information:

1. Your name (and the name of the person who quilted it, if you had it quilted by someone else).

2. The date (if it took a while to work on it, you can write down when you started and finished it, or just the date in which it was finished)

3. Your location (city, state, and country)

Depending on the type of quilt, you might want to add some additional information:

4.  Your phone number and address (particularly if you are lending the quilt for an exhibition). If your quilt gets lost, these specifics could help you get it back.

5.  The recipient’s name and a suitable inscription (Happy Birthday, On the occasion of…, etc.).

6.  The story of this quilt: how and why you made it, names of the blocks or pattern used, and any special information you would like to share.

7. Washing and care instructions.


There are lots of different ways to label a quilt. My choices usually depend on the type of quilt and the occasion:

1. For quilts I plan to keep myself, I simply write the label on a small scrap of fabric (or at times directly on the backing), using a fine-tipped, permanent marker. My preference is a Sharpie. I often leave it plain, turning down the edges and stitching it to the back of the quilt with an invisible stitch.

plain quilt label

2. Or sometimes I will add a little border, using one of the fabrics from the quilt.

quilt label with simple fabric border simple quilt label using same quilt fabrics

3. Particularly for small wall hangings, I will cut a square of fabric and fold it diagonally to form a triangle. I write my information with a Sharpie and baste it to one of the bottom corners of the quilt, before attaching the binding. This is one of my favorite methods for quilts I keep for myself, as there is no further stitching involved.

simple triangle quilt label tucked in corner simple triangle quilt label tucked in corner

4. I appliqué a motif. As an appliqué lover, this is often my choice of label for a gift quilt. The motif should have something to do with the quilt design.

applique heart quilt label

5.  You can also print your label directly on fabric, using an ink jet fabric. In this case, you use pre-treated fabric sheets and you can use a graphics program to design your label. When I use this option, I usually design my label in EQ, adding the same border I did for the quilt itself as the border for the label. This is also one of my favorite options when it comes to the quilt label.

printed oval quilt label printed dove motif quilt label printed My Brother's Garden quilt label designed in EQ

6. Then there are times when I use fabric paints or colored pencils. I trace the design onto my label fabric and color it in. Here, too, I write the information with a Sharpie. And in those cases where I use colored pencils, I also brush on a color extender to preserve the color and make sure it won’t wash out.

quilt label using fabric paints quilt label using fabric paints quilt label using colored pencils

7. On occasion, I have even put the label on the front of the quilt, making it a part of it.

quilt label made from quilt block on front of quilt

8. Although I haven’t ever done this before, you might also choose to embroider the label (by hand or machine). In some countries you can also order custom-made labels embroidered with your information.


1. As I mentioned previously in this project, I often will write the basic information on the quilt backing before the actual quilting process, to ensure there is a permanent record should the label be lost for any reason:

hidden quilt label

2. And because of the autumn theme/fabrics used in this quilt, it just seemed natural for me to use a leaf motif for the quilt label:

applique fall leaf quilt label

PDF file: rectangle_label

Or download from Google Docs: rectangle_label.pdf

Back to: 12 Rectangle Fun Quilt-Along: Binding

This entry was posted in This and that. |Comments closed

One Comment

  1. Posted October 10, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful ways to do labels. I do have an embroidery machine, so I would like to learn how to make them, with that, and maybe later, I can design my own to put in.


  • Angie Padilla

    I am a self-learner. I taught myself to sew and to quilt. And I taught myself how to draw. I am learning how to dye my own fabrics and am dabbling with mixed media. I am a quilt designer and teacher, and design and publish my own line of quilt patterns. With this blog I would like to share the bits and pieces of my life.

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