Labelling Quilts to Preserve History

Labelling a quilt makes sure that the history of the quilt is kept. This is a way to pass along your story and meaning you gave to the quilt and the materials used to make it.

Have you ever had the good fortune of finding a quilt in an antique shop? Was it labelled, and did you want to know more about the quilt? Quilt making has a rich history that continues to inspire us today. One of the long-standing traditions of quilt making involves the labelling of quilts.

Historically, women did not add a lot of information to their quilts. Many only left their initials. They may have felt that it was boastful or unimportant to include personal details. On those rare occasions that we do find a labelled quilt, we surely have a unique window into the past.

When we label our quilts, we are preserving the details of their manufacture, and we are creating a living record. Future generations will appreciate the effort we put into affixing a label and documenting the quilt’s history.

The simplest answer to how we can label our quilts is the use of a fabric pen. You can simply write your information onto a piece of fabric. The ink can then be set with a heat application. You may want to practice writing your text on a scrap piece of fabric first and also testing it in the laundry. Be sure to use a light-colored fabric for your label so that the text can be easily read. Then you can affix the prepared fabric to the back portion of your quilt.

Other ways to label a quilt include the use of embroidery, inkjet printer labels, and online services like Spoonflower. However, embroidery remains to be the most durable and attractive way to preserve the details of your quilt.

It’s a good idea to include the following:

  • Your Name
  • The Date (Month and Year)
  • Your City and State
  • The Recipient of the Quilt
  • The Symbolic Meaning of the Quilt
  • The Occasion for Which It Was Made

Other details can include:

  • Pattern Names
  • The Quilt Designer
  • Fabric Information
  • Special Techniques

The details mentioned above can be affixed to the back corner of your quilt via a corner label. To do a corner label, cut a 6 ½” square. Fold along the diagonal and sew the edges together so that you form a triangle, but be sure to leave a 1” opening. Turn the triangle inside out and stitch the remaining loose end together. Attach the triangle label to the quilt before you attach the binding so that the edges are hidden. Additionally, the diagonal portion can be stitched down by applique, or you can leave it loose. If you decide to leave it loose, it can serve as a hook to hang the quilt. If you decide to leave the diagonal end of the label open, I recommend reinforcing the hook with a sturdy strip of ribbon so that it can easily hold the full weight of the quilt.

Regularly adding labels to your quilts is a good practice to have. In the coming years, you and your family will be happy that you preserved your quilt’s information.

What method do you like to use? Feel free to share your unique process with us. Also, have you ever wanted to donate one of your quilts? Now is the chance. Email me at, to share your thoughts and techniques.

Thank you for stopping by to visit Kick Ass Quilts. Check back often for new inspiration and the very latest in quilting knowledge.

Happy quilting!

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