Make Your Own or Shop Canadian
When I’m working on a sewing project for someone in particular, I find myself thinking about who I’m making it for. Each cut, stitch, press, snip, clip, rip is done with that person in mind, wondering if they will like it, if it will fit well, hang well, keep them warm, make them happy. And then after all the final fussing and pressing, you let it go. Adding personal labels with a simple sentiment, such as, made with love, is so often just the truth.
This article is about items that are NOT intended to be sold. If you are selling your creations, you should be aware that, in Canada, the Textile Labelling Act contains strict enforcement guidelines that must be met. I found a great summary of legal requirements for Canadians on this website.
So, for what non-legal purposes might you want to label your hand crafted items you ask?
Obviously labels give information to the person receiving or owning it.
Recently, I was asked to add something clear to the back of a shirt to easily tell the front from the back. I thought it was quite obvious since I always put the seam on the neck ribbing at the back. Interestingly, I found out that is not the case for many non-sewers. It seems that we are creatures of habit and ease and will automatically look for a label when putting on our clothes!
Information for the end-user, such as the type of fabrics (e.g., recycled, 100% cotton) is great too. You can include critical washing or care instructions (e.g., Please be gentle, I’m one-of-a-kind!). If you are a parent of littles, adding their own personal mark (say a dinosaur) to a child’s item is a great idea without worrying about giving away too much information publically. I love the stamps you can get now that can survive, so they claim, over 50 washes.
It is wise to include the size you made as well because I find I forget myself easily (now, did I cut the 3, 6 or 9 month body suit?).
When I was making tons of different styles and thicknesses of masks, I wanted to be able to specify the material (e.g., 3 layers, cotton).
Marked & Noted Labels
I recently made a large fabric teaching chessboard for my son’s classroom. The final project was about 3-feet square. I put a rod pocket casing across the top so it would hang straight. I cut the chess pieces from magnetic paper in my cricut machine and added a magnet to each of the 64 squares. It was being used in a public classroom setting, so I really needed to add a label on the back saying, “Property of ….” on the back.
From time to time, I will add a “one-off” or special occasion label. I love doing this the most. This can be just to say who I made it for or to mark an occasion, like a simple Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas message.
Credit Where Credit is Due
Labels are almost a must for bag-makers. Most store-bought bags will have some kind of label prominently on the outside and they look almost naked without a label. I love the idea of putting a label into the lining of a bag to seal up that turning point too.
Putting your name on something can also work in reverse to inspire you to improve.
Fun with Puns
Finally, I love the idea that labels can just be fun. They don’t have to convey a deep thought or philosophy, but putting a smile on someone’s face in the morning is its own reward! Check out this list of labels seen out there in the wild.
Where to buy in Canada
Nearly every fabric shop or bag making supplier will have standard, pre-made labels you can buy. You can also have labels custom designed here in Canada (see table below). But like many makers, I also wanted to make my own!
|Brickbubble||Stony Plain, AB||
|Laven Labels||Toronto, ON|
|Mabel's Labels||Hamilton, ON||
|Maple & Rose||St. Albert, AB|
|Schmabel Labels||Cantley, QC|
|Sweet Pine Hills||Raymond, AB|
Make your own labels
- Gather your supplies:
- Transfer Paper
- Ink Jet Printer
- 7/8″ Ribbon (or other substrate)
- Iron or heat press (I used my cricut mini-press)
- Word processing or graphics program
- Create your design & print:
Any word processing or graphic program will work here. My label for this experiment is very simple with just my logo and URL.
I made sure that the logo was the correct size to fit on the 7/8″ wide Ribbon and that I could orient it either horizontally or vertically. The letters would have to be very small, so I chose a simple font. Following the instructions for the transfer paper, I printed it out the sheet on my inkjet printer.
3. Cut out your design and place on ribbon:
I cut out one of the graphics and placed it face down on the ribbon. I applied heat as directed. I used a piece of butchers paper to protect the label.
4. And all done. There you have it! My label is ready to be sewn in!
NOTES: I used a 7/8″ ribbon. I also found that the tiny ridges on the ribbon texture made it hard to read the tiny pale letters. I will probably try pure black next time. Also, the ribbon is quite firm and may irritate if you use it on clothing.
I also tried a second time using a piece of white bias binding tape opened up. The smoother fabric made it easier to read and I liked the softer fabric for a neckline placement.
I am so impressed by all the lovely websites with helpful information. I suggested earlier a site that pulled together all the legislation in Canada for sellers. Well, I also found some creative people that have more ideas for making your own labels.
- See Kate Sew shows you how she uses her alphabet letters on the sewing machine to spell out labels. She uses a Babylock “Melody”. I have a Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 and it has many stitches and the alphabet.
- See Kate Sew shows you how to use printed fabric from SpoonFlower.com. We Canadians have other options for printed fabric including Fabricville now.
- Melly Sews has a few ideas too and includes exact dimensions she uses if you want to print your own.