Labeling your work

I’ve always toyed with the idea of putting labels on my quilts. Being a fan of antique and vintage items, I wonder about the history associated with such things. Who had it first? When was it made? Why did they buy it? Or was it a gift? How long did they have it? Why did they get rid of it? WHO made it? It’s endlessly fascinating to me. Most of the time my questions go unanswered.

I want to put the year I made a quilt on the quilt. I’m hoping they’ll be around long after I’m gone and it would be neat for the owner to at least know how old it is. One day one of my quilts could be vintage! Is that wishful thinking or what?

I have this old, patchwork quilt top. Please excuse the picture, it’s the only one I could find. I’ve packed the quilt top in a bin somewhere and couldn’t locate it for a new photo.


I discovered this quilt top in my grandmother’s stuff after she passed away and that was in 2004. I can only guess that her sister, Gertie, made it because my sister and I both have patchwork quilts also made by her. I LOVE this quilt top! It has the most hideous, wonderful fabrics. They’re so ugly, it makes them fantastic. It was probably fashioned from scraps and simply as something to cover up with because the pattern has no rhyme or reason. Way back when my grandmother was young, that’s what people did. They made what they needed. Oh, how I wish I knew the details surrounding this piece.

Why was it never completed? Was Gertie a procrastinator like me? Did a “better” quilt divert her attention? Maybe her sewing machine broke down and she couldn’t get it fixed? Sadly, there’s no one I can ask. This quilt top could be anywhere from 50 to 70 years old!

Labels are so necessary!

A couple years ago, I looked into pre-made options. Alas, I would’ve had to order too many to make it worth it. And with the year being on them, it wasn’t logical. So the idea of labels was put on a back burner. Until recently, when I began to actually FINISH my quilts.

I follow a few different blogs and one of them covered labels just today. Jodie (she spells her name the same as I do! Rare, I know 🙂 ).

Now that I’m beginning to complete quilts and would like to attempt selling them, the matter of labels is upon me once again. I’ve considered iron-on Canadian flags since I’m Canadian and am always so thrilled when I find something Made in Canada 🙂 002

But I think the year is important too. My initials, not so much. No one will know what they stand for. JLH Quilts. . . . I like it. However, I’m never going to be a huge corporation, pumping out hundreds or thousands of quilts.

So despite my impressive collection of embroidery floss (picked up at a garage sale!), it may be pointless to do so much hand stitching.


Althoughhhhh, there’s a product out there, printable fabric sheets. I’ve only just begun researching them, so I can’t recommend brands or even comment on how well (or not) they work. I may give them a try, it would be faster than hand stitching, which I could save for special quilts because I do enjoy the idea of coordinating threads to the quilt.

046. . . . I know why I have so much trouble focusing! Too many ideas!

I also Googled ‘make your own fabric labels’ and found this handy video. Of course, it’s not the only one and I thought I was simply putting a link in my post. Imagine my surprise when it showed up as the video! (Am I even allowed to do this? If someone knows that I’m NOT, please tell me).


My head is swirling now with label ideas. On something as large as a quilt, it wouldn’t be awful to have more information than just a date and initials. But would a printed label fade after so many washings and end up useless? Stitching might be the best?

Decisions, decisions! Whatever will I do? 🙂


3 thoughts on “Labeling your work

  1. Hi Jodie, what a great post. We are more ‘kindered spirits’ than just a name! One of the main things I love about quilting is the idea that I am making something that my family, at least the people who love me, will keep my quilts and cherish them. That is why I make labels and have started documenting. I think it is fascinating to hear the story behind creative work, whether it is quilts or a knitted garment or a photo, whatever it is I love to hear the story. I while back I got obsessed with the website and their videos about quilt history. They haven’t done any recently but I love them.

    You shouldn’t think that your quilts aren’t special enough to label. But I agree, embroidering a quilt label is a lot of work, especially if it is not for you or your family. I am looking for a solution for non-special quilts and this spoonflower thing looks perfect. I think it is fine to embed a video, this links to you tube and so you have all the details about the maker of the video, and the links to their website so no problem.

    Again, beautifully written post! Let me know what you end up doing.

    Oh one more thing. The other day I was watching a spoonflower video by the director or CEO or whatever, he was saying how because of their natural process in dying or printing their is still the possibility of fading over time. But the way I see it is, well a) try it out, see how much it is before you commit. If it is a wall hanging it is not going to get washed very much. But your ‘heirloom quilts’ then maybe you can do hand embroidered or machine embroidered or something more special than these printed labels. But for little gifts or whatever perfect!! You have definitely inspired me to get my act together and make my own labels and logos.
    Thanks Jodie,
    Jodie (that’s funny huh?)


    • Hi Jodie!

      Thanks for the wonderful “comment”, it’s almost longer than my actual post, lol. I laugh very kindly, so please don’t be offended 🙂 I really DO appreciate the time you put into it.

      I’ll have a go at hand stitching for some of my pieces. Your picture of the one you’re doing for your husband, with the hoop, inspired me because I have a hoop! It hadn’t occurred to me before to use one. I can stitch while I watch tv. I think.

      I’m also going to buy some printable fabric so I can keep the costs down on fabric labels. I’m rather frugal these days and always looking to save pennies. I’ll keep Spoonflower in mind too though. As well as fabric pens. I’ll do more research in the whole area. I would like a label that will last somewhat. And that appears professional. But then again, everything I make is by hand, so a label with a handmade flair wouldn’t be awful. I’m so decisive, eh?

      And I did begin to check out the link you provided. I had to stop because I could spend hours looking at all the quilts! You’ve inspired me to also begin documenting my work, even if only for myself. I have a horrendous memory and may want to remind myself when I’m 90 how and why I made something, lol.

      Thanks again, I look forward to seeing your husband’s finished quilt. . . .you haven’t done a post on that yet? Or maybe I missed it?


      Liked by 1 person

      • Well I know I can be a bit of an Evangelist on the matter. I would love to do the History of quilts and textiles BA or whatever it is called that they do at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, that is the uni of the museum link I sent. But alas, in another lifetime??


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