Adding labels to your quilt is an important part of the quilt finishing process. Whether you intend to keep your quilt on your bed or wall, or you plan to send your quilts to quilt shows all over the world, labels play an important role. A good quilt label should identify the quilt maker(s), the date that the quilt was complete, the city and state where it was made and the title for the quilt. In addition, you may want to include the story of why you made this quilt, particularly if it was made for another person or for a special occasion. The label above is on the back of a very special quilt made for me by my quilt guild while my son was in the hospital. The front of the quilt is a collection of individual heart blocks made by many of the guild members who were thinking of me and my son during a difficult time. The back of the quilt is a collection of extra blocks signed by guild members with loving thoughts and prayers.
If you are entering your quilts in shows you will be required to label your quilt. Each show is responsible for many quilts from many quilters. They want to be sure that there is no chance of quilts being mixed up when hanging at the show or when sending the quilts back to their owners. Quilt appraisers encourage you to label your quilts. Descriptive labels will add to the value of your quilt both now and for future generations.
Not long ago two of my quilts were stolen. I hope that one day, when these quilts show up at a pawn shop or second hand store, someone will notice the label. I have started adding a return address label to my quilts like the one above. It says, “Return to: Sue Pelland, 4 Rockdale Hill Circle, Upton, MA 01568.
Your quilts are part of your legacy and part of your story, but one day you may not be around to tell that story. Your label will be the best way to tell your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren more about you and the reasons for making your quilt. Thankfully, my mom is still around to tell the story of my wedding quilt.
She started this amazing hand applique quilt in 1989, but it didn’t get done in time for my wedding, so she put it away for a time. Later when she took out the quilt to finish it, the red fabrics had run all over the white background after all the hand applique blocks had already been finished! It took her years to take off the red fabric, bleach the white backgrounds and redo the applique that had to be removed. Here is a label that my mom made for my wedding quilt. Notice the label, finished in 2000!
I often label the quilts right on the backing fabric. If the fabric is light enough, I write with a permanent fabric pen directly on the back of the quilt. You can even write on the front of the quilt if it will not take away from the pattern. No one can remove the label as it is a permanent part of the quilt. If the quilt has a dark backing, you can stitch a lighter fabric to the back before quilting, once again making the label an integral part of your quilt that cannot be removed.
I hope these suggestions will help protect your quilt, your legacy and your story for generations to come!