Monday, May 7, 2012

New Labels

Finally, after more than three years, I've gone and updated my labels. 

Mostly because I've finally run out, but, also, it takes me forever to use them up. Let me share a secret: attaching labels to the stuff I make is my very, absolute least favorite part of making anything. At least 80% of the time, I forget to put in a label, and then have to unpick a beautiful seam to insert one. As far as possible, I will omit labels because I personally don't think it's that big of a deal to put my mark on something I make. I don't put labels on any handmade clothes, for instance, even if they are gifts. So only on whatever goes in the shop for sale.

Anyway, here are my new labels. I briefly considered having them made to order by some company, but I reasoned that it would only make sense if I actually enjoyed putting them on everything. I really need just a few, in different colors, so I went back to the old method of printing them out and ironing them onto twill tape. 

The ones in the top photo are the big labels I usually put on the insides of bags. The ones in the photo below are the small, folded, tag-type that get inserted into seams of things like pouches and wallets, and doll bottoms.

I buy my twill tape in bulk when I'm in Singapore. Much cheaper. Sometimes they come in rolls and sometimes on pre-cut lengths on cards, like bias tape.

I usually make them in different colors, although white and natural are the most versatile. I've run out of blue twill tape, which I'll attempt to buy at JoAnn on my next visit. 

I print them out on letter-size sheets and cut them into strips like these (below). I don't iron them all onto twill tape at once, because sometimes it's useful to have spares, in case I run out of a certain color and need to make more of those. And sometimes I iron them directly onto the fabric of the product itself, like drawstring bags, or the inner necklines of garments, so they're not scratchy.

And I can also swop out a row of ikatbag labels for some for other makers in the family, so they have a few to use without having to make a huge batch. 

If you've been thinking of making your own, inexpensive, small-batch labels, see my earlier post which links to the wonderful tutorial I used to make mine. They are really easy to make and they don't fade with washing. They iron on with a sort of coating which protects the text and keeps them looking crisp, wash after wash. If you're wondering about cost, I'd say that I can print out 60+ small labels per letter-size sheet, and 36-48 big labels per letter-size sheet, and that each sheet is about US$1.10 (if you buy the $12.99 6-pack of inkjet transfer paper from JoAnn with the 50%-off coupon). I used to print them out on my old inkjet printer, but it died and we "upgraded" to a laser, which cooked and ate up my laser-transfer paper. Hrmph. So had to borrow a friend's inkjet to make these (thank you, K!). 


  1. I pined to get my own woven labels made for such a long time. Then I got them and I barely ever use them as well. Half the time I forget, and most of the rest of the time I just skip it because it's just an extra step that doesn't excite nearly as much as I thought it would. I love seeing them on other people's projects, but I don't seem to care about them on my own any more. Although it would be handy to remember to put them into more of my son's shorts so it's easier to quickly tell the back from the front.

  2. Your labels are lovely! I'll check out that tutorial if I ever start making label-worthy items...

  3. Love that you made some for Emily. She must be thrilled.

    Long time reader -- first time commenter (I think). Saw this today and couldn't not share it with you:

    1. Thanks, Amanda! I pinned it under "speechless", and I love that it sleeps up to 10!

  4. Thanks for the reminder - I am down to my last 2 labels, and really don't want to keep paying for ones that are "okay" when I could make ones that I love. I wanted to ask though, what width your twill is - it seems to come in so many sizes that I don't know which one to choose. Thanks.

    1. Gaenor: did I reply to your comment? I'm so sorry if I didn't! My twill tape is 3/4" wide.

  5. Wonderful labels!
    And thank you for this post and the tutorial... I think I shall try them out.


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