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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Framing & Finishing Quilt Labels

Ready for more quilt label ideas? 

I really like framing my label with fabrics from the quilt top.  You can scrap them up, or just use one...the choice is yours.  Often, I make that choice after seeing what's left over.  I also take into consideration what fabric I'm using for my backing.  I definitely want the frame to stand out in contrast of the backing fabric.

Sew strips to the top and bottom, then the sides.  You can also sew them Log Cabin style, too.

I have an easy and precise method to turn the edges under, which gives the frame a fold and a nice finish, and keeps the corners nice and square.  At this point, you can sew the label by hand, or by machine.  I prefer to sew the label to the backing by machine. 

With this method, we don't have to piece the label into the backing, which is a lot more work!  It's easily sewn on top of the backing, and the folded finished edge looks great.  It will be quilted right into the quilt, too.  If you have finished quilts without a label, this technique works beautifully for that as well, because you can prepare the label, then hand stitch it to the backing.

All of the details about this technique are in the Heartspun Quilts Hints book, including the strip measurements for two different sized labels (large quilts and small quilts), the turning technique, label placement, and machine stitching hints and recommendations...all with step-by-step instructions and graphics.  To see a full description and/or purchase the Hints book, click here.  To purchase the heavy duty freezer paper, click here.

Here's a few photos of how the labels look once the quilt is finished.

You can certainly use the framing technique with a label you've created by hand as well.  The sky is the limit as to the creative things you can do with your label.  Add things like pieced units in between the label and the frame, signatures, and trace designs from other sources.

Most of my quilt labels are short and sweet, containing only the basic information about the quilt, but sometimes, your labels can be full of details and tell a story.  The label above was made for a quilt called Scattered Leaves, which was featured on the cover of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine (October 2009). (The quilt was originally named Waltzing Leaves, but was renamed for publication.)  When making this quilt, I enlisted the help of two of my best friends (and their fabric stash!).  We each made enough blocks for one quilt, and then exchanged blocks, which also gave us a wider variety of fabrics.  Always a good thing!  I wanted to tell the entire story on the label, and embellished it by tracing pumpkins and leaves in keeping with the fall colors and motif.  The label was featured in another issue of AP&Q as part of an article all about quilt labels (December 2009).

No matter what technique you use, it's important that each and every quilt has a provenance.  It's our opportunity to say to our future generations.....Remember Me! 


Don't forget to email me a photo of your Quilty License Plate!!


Join Lynne Hagmeier and me as we cruise to Alaska on The Great Girlfriend Get-AwayClick here to find all of the details!


  1. I started doing this when I joined PWSC and really like having my label quilted into the quilt. Would love to send a pic of my license, but it's in IL and I'm in AL. But it's QLTR 99. You know how often some form wants to know the year of your car? That's what the "99" is for!

  2. Pam -
    Love your work and your fabrics but I get so frustrated when I get to your blog. I have a great deal of difficulty reading the portion of the wording that falls outside the red lines. There is not enough contrast to read beginning and end of each line/ Please consider broadening the middle section for ease of reading -- feel like I'm missing great stuff!