I enjoy everything about making a quilt - finding a pattern, choosing the fabric, cutting, sewing together the pieces, pressing, loading the top on the long arm, deciding on the quilting designs, stitching those designs, and finishing it with the binding. By the time I have finished all of those steps I am excited to have the quilt done so that I can move on to another project. But wait! The most important step is yet to be done: making a label for the quilt.
While making a label is my least favorite part of the quilting process it is so important to add documentation that tells who made it and when. I did not use labels when I first began quilting 25 years ago and regret that that information is not a part of my earliest projects. I now can only guess the date of completion on those quilts. You can be sure that some time in the future someone will want to know the origin of the quilts that you are making.
There are a couple of decisions that need to be made when adding a label to your quilt. The first is what type of label to use. In recent years I have made them on my domestic machine by using the letters and decorative stitches that are programmed into my Bernina. In fact having that option was one of the items on my list of must-haves when I was looking into purchasing a new machine a year ago. When making a label I find a 4” x 6” piece of solid-ish fabric in my stash and apply a fusible interfacing to the back to stabilize the letters and decorative stitches. After stitching the information I place another piece of fabric right sides together and stitch 1/4” around all edges. After snipping an “X” on the backing fabric, I turn it inside out and press. I also have a tool that I use to be sure that the corners are square. Finally I hand-stitch the label to the lower right hand corner of the quilt.
The second decision is what to put on the label. In addition to my name and the date I generally also include the name of the pattern. Sometimes I add who the quilt was made for and the occasion such as graduation or Christmas.
I have also used pre-printed labels and even plain fabric marked with a permanent pen. The pre-printed labels can be purchased as a panel and can be found in most quilting stores. After cutting out the label I prepare it with a backing fabric to finish the edges just as I did on my homemade labels and hand-stitch it to the quilt. I have found that a Micron pen works the best to print the information on the label.
The Quilts of Valor Foundation’s website indicates that a Quilt of Valor must include a label and they are very specific regarding the information that is put on the label. It must have the words “Quilt of Valor”. It must include the name or names and state of the maker, the quilter, and the binder. It must have a space for the name of the awardee. I also include the date and location of the award. The labels that we use for our quilting club’s Quilts of Valor are made by one of our club members, Janie Oltman, who has an embroidery machine. For the Honor Flight quilts we used printed labels made by Spoonflower.
Do you make labels for your quilts? What kind of labels do you make? What information do you put on the labels?