What to write on a quilt label (+ free quilt labels to print)

From At Home with Country QuiltsPicture it: It’s the year 2115. Your great-great (great?) granddaughter is all smiles: she’s spending her day discovering old treasures inside a hope chest she came across in a family attic.

She finds a beautiful quilt inside.

She carefully unfolds the quilt and drapes it over a nearby chair. It’s held up well through the years, she thinks to herself. She lifts the quilt again and begins turning it over in her hands, moving toward each corner. To the back, to the front, to the back again.

She sighs.

There is no label. There is no record of who made the quilt.

Your great-great (great) granddaughter is so not happy with you right now.

Back to 2015. Why label your quilts? Because the quilts you make are valuable and important (and they’ll last a long time). Your quilts are meaningful to those around you now, and they’ll mean something to family members and friends in the future too.

So, we’re all in agreement: labeling your quilts is a good thing! But the question remains: what kind of information should you include? Here are a few necessities, along with details to add depending on the type of quilt you make.

One-of-a-Kind Quilt LabelsWhat to Write on a Quilt Label
From One-of-a-Kind Quilt Labels by Thea Nerud

At the absolute minimum, a quilt label should include:

  • The name of the quiltmaker
  • The city, state, and year in which the quilt was made

You can also include things like:

  • Quilt name
  • Quilt style or pattern name
  • Name of recipient
  • Occasion for making the quilt (birthday, wedding, etc.)
  • Date of the occasion commemorated or celebrated
  • Name of the quilter, if different from the quiltmaker
  • Special messages, poems, or quotes

A special note for married women: be sure to include your maiden name as well as your married name on your quilt labels. This more easily identifies you and your family relationships. Genealogy buffs will applaud you.

If you’re looking to add as much creativity to your labels as you do to your quilts, One-of-a-Kind Quilt Labels offers loads of ideas for adding hand lettering, embroidery, cross stitch, photos, appliqué—you’ll even find ideas for how to set a label into a quilt block.

Prefer more pared-down, practical labels? You can download these all-occasion quilt labels from us right now. Print the labels onto fabric and personalize them with the information of your choice.

Download Martingale’s free printable quilt labels; add them to the back of your quilts using your favorite appliqué method.

Not sure how to print labels onto fabric? Check out this tutorial, which explains how easy it is to print on fabric by feeding freezer paper through your printer. Or visit your local quilt shop and ask about paper-backed fabric sheets made specifically for inkjet printers.

The quilt labels are our gift to you—just promise you’ll use them! And we’ll promise too.

Here’s a final tip for making your quilts last even longer, no matter what the future holds:

Quick tip: pocket the scraps

Quilt labels: always, sometimes, never, or starting right now? Tell us in the comments!

38 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I have just begun to label my handmade quilts, especially those that are gifts. My friend has an embroidery machine and I save one quilt square and give it to her to put my information on. This allows me to make the message as personal I as like along with my name, etc. The embroidered information is lovely.

    —Brenda Heath on May 6, 2015
  • I used to put labels on all my works but lately I have been remiss. It is important to record the correct information on the quilted pieces.

    —Patricia D. Roberts on May 6, 2015
  • Always do a label. I actually use the theme of the quilt in the label, either with a simple picture or border around the label. I design each label for every quilt I make on the computer and use the printer sheets or fabric from the quilt with freezer paper. I also put the label in the corner so the binding catches the label on 2 sides. If I use a pattern from a magazine, I also include the designer name and magazine on the quilt.

    —Joyce D on May 6, 2015
  • I always put a label on my quilts
    When given as baby shower gifts or wedding shower gifts sometimes my label seems to be more important than
    the quilt pattern I used
    I believe we are now artist and we must sign our work
    We’ve created a master piece no matter what level
    We quilt in
    As you said it will be treasured someday
    By someone known to you or not

    —Demetria Kanelos Wians on May 6, 2015
  • Great article. I have never used my maiden name for any official papers but have used it on my quilts so they know what side of the family it is coming from.

    Thanks for the great reminder. I am just finishing one quilt and will be starting on 3 wedding quilts in the next 6 months.

    —Dona Coffey on May 6, 2015
  • Your article is very convicting. I seem to only put labels on quilts that are going to shows but every quilt deserves a label.

    —Barbara on May 6, 2015
  • I like to add labels to my quilts, but wonder what is the best type of pen to use,so it can still be visible for the next generation.

    Great question, Carol! Use a pen that is labeled "permanent" and "archival quality." My personal favorite is the Micron Pigma Pen. ~Cornelia

    carol on May 6, 2015
  • I always make a label. I embroider it on counted cross stitch cloth. It includes quilts name, name of recipient, occasion , date of occasion and all information pertaining to the event. In the case of a baby quilt I include the baby’s name date of birth, location of birth, weight & length of baby. My name, I hand quilt all of my quilts, my location and the date I finished the quilt. What I never thought to do was to include my maiden name. I will be sure to do that from now on.

    —MARION LONEGRO on May 6, 2015
  • During the time I am piecing the quilt, I choose one of the fabrics from the piecing to use as part of the label….perhaps just a little binding edge or a small portion of the actual label….then my mind is thinking of what to title the quilt & what information to print on the label. During the piecing, I make the label so that it is ready to attach during the binding process. Usually the label is a triangle that fits in a corner just under the binding so that it is thoroughly attached and blends in nicely.

    Dorothy Dishman on May 6, 2015
  • Label is the last item before declaring ‘it’s done’. It is the only way the artist signs the quilt they created and it helps to complete the story. I have enjoyed making customized computer generated labels and hand sewing them to the quilt.

    —Joanie on May 6, 2015
  • I always label my quilts but lately I’ve been stitching the information in an unobtrusive spot on the quilt so it can’t be removed and doesn’t require printing or hand sewing. It also is more enduring when washed.

    —Pam Duren on May 6, 2015
  • Sadly, the "gift" quilts I’ve made in the past did not have a label and I am so sorry I did add one. Fortunately, the one I’m working on now is for my eldest son and will surely be labeled. Since I’m not savvy enough for computer printed labels, it is going to be hand embroidered with the pertinent information.

    —debra lee on May 6, 2015
  • Thank you so much for the great quilt labels. I have not finished very many quilts so far but I have labeled them all. Even though it is an extra step at the finish of the quilt it is worth it when you see it on the quilt with all the information. I have seen a method for attaching the label at the same time you are attaching the binding which I am going to try with your labels.

    —Judy on May 6, 2015
  • Always…I use my embroidery machine. Before I had that, I made a label on my computer with a pretty font then printed it out. Next, I would tape the paper to a window and tape a light colored fabric over it. Using a fine tip pig a pen I would then trace the lettering.

    —Connie Gereffi on May 6, 2015
  • I have a computer program that prints quilt labels complete with photos and text I add. Almost all of my quilts I give away have them.

    —Nancy on May 6, 2015
  • I use fabric from each quilt to create a frame for a machine embroidered label like on this Charm Crossing quilt … http://www.handiworking.com/2013/09/quilt-label-for-charm-crossing.html
    and the Unsinkable Quilt I designed for my great-niece … http://www.handiworking.com/2014/08/unsinkable-quilt.html

    Jane @ Handiworking on May 6, 2015
  • I label lap sized and larger, unless made especially for someone for a special occassion.I make a lotof smaller things that I do not label.

    —caroline Rohrer on May 6, 2015
  • I have only been quilting since 2010, but have made well over 100 quilts in that time. I label all my quilts with my name, the date, the quilt’s name and the name of the recipient.
    I have never thought to add my location, even tho my quilts go all over the US and some have even gone to Africa and France. I will try to add that information from now on.

    —Linda Wedge White on May 6, 2015
  • Labels always. Sometimes computer-printed, sometimes hand-written, usually machine-stitched on to the backing before the quilt sandwich is made, then "reinforced" during quilting.

    —Jane on May 6, 2015
  • I’m starting now. I never knew how before the newsletter explained the process.

    —Diana O on May 6, 2015
  • I always put a label on my quilts. Name of the quilt, who it was made for and for what occasion, the date of the event and that it was made by me.They will always know the important stuff.

    —Dot on May 6, 2015
  • I almost always label the quilts I make, especially if they are a gift. I try to name them – not always easy – but so fun trying to think of a name. The label may not always get on my quilts in a timely manner, but they get there eventually – I keep a log of dates & each quilt made for fun. Or me.

    —Joy Bradley on May 6, 2015
  • Love computerized labels to print out…with all kinds of special messages printed on them…since starting to do this it is so much fun to personalize…thanks for the hints on what genealogists want to see on a label

    —Esther on May 6, 2015
  • I design and make quilt labels on the embroidery machine. That way each label is unique to the quilt and recipient making it way more personable and unique. Very satisfactory and another chance to use personal designing and uniqueness.

    —Lee Moir on May 7, 2015
  • Labels? Always — well except for the five quilts that are still waiting to have theirs attached. This is why I like to try to incorporate a label area as part of the backing for a quilt. That way when the quilt is finished (pieced and quilted), it’s just a matter of writing the information in to complete it.

    Recently I’ve also found it great to insert a "label triangle" into one corner of a quilt just before binding or using the monogramming function of my machine to stitch the information onto the back of the binding.

    Vivian on May 7, 2015
  • Have several quilts (from relative estates) which are assumed to have been made by an ancestor, but who actually created these quilts is truly unknown – so sad!

    So, for me, LABEL ALWAYS – even though the quilts are not masterpiece quality, someone down thru the ages may want to know their ORIGIN.

    —Sandy on May 9, 2015
  • I always label quilts that I make. For my grandchildren’ high school graduation gift I have made embroidered labels on my embroidery machine with all the specific information. I have also added a photo of them or a special event in their life printed on the special fabric for printing.

    —Marilyn Koestler on May 9, 2015
  • Absolutely, I believe in them and put on my quilts; however I’m a work in progress, looking for a way to make it easier, not happy with the printer products and looking for my own template, many thanks for this info. Cheers

    —Carol on May 10, 2015
  • Thanks so much for the downloadable labels. I always put a label on my quilts. I love that people like to see who made it and what the pattern is called.

    —Susan P on May 12, 2015
  • Just did first label on Sunday but plan to do labels for all the quilts I’ve done. I have the information typed up on the computer.

    —Janet in ND on May 12, 2015
  • I always label my quilts but don’t usually put town & state, nor my maiden name. Good ideas! Thanks!

    —Carol Kussart on July 4, 2015
  • I put labels on most of my quilt. I like to write on the computer, then print. could someone tell me how to use these labels or a site where I can download to my computer for writing in the print shop program?

    —Lela Morton on October 8, 2015
  • Love the pocket idea on the back of a quilt. I made a memory quilt from my father-in-laws shirts after he passed and gave it to my MIL. I used one of the fancy pockets from one of his western shirts with a pearl button on the label and included a copy of his life story in the pocket.

    What a lovely touch – thank you for sharing your idea, Becky! –Jenny

    —Becky Thomason on March 18, 2016
  • I’ve never labelled my quilts so far but having read the article and the following comments, I will certainly be adding a label to any future quilts I make. Completely convinced me!

    —NiaRussell on May 12, 2016
  • I label my quilts with a block that I make up that is similar to the blocks on the front but has space to record all the pertinent info. The quilt info is embroidered on the label and that label becomes part of the back of the quilt. My backs are made up of all the leftover fabric from the front. Then my quilt is quilted and in this way the label is quilted as part of the whole back. No way can the label get removed.

    —V Lewicki on January 1, 2017
  • I type my labels on computer. Than I print them onto ink jet printable fabric iron on. Then cut out, stick onto quilt, and sew around lable.

    Sue Merrill on January 22, 2018
  • On quilts that I make, I typically embroider, by hand, a little something on the corner of the quilt.

    —Trish on February 21, 2019
  • I always label my quilts and have used several different methods. This is a great article with more ideas for me. Thanks so much!

    —Kyra Franz on May 24, 2019

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