Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Garment Label Tutorial

When I decided to open my Etsy shop and sell some of my handmade garments, I wanted them to look professional and finished.  I researched garment labels and found all kinds.  However, some were very expensive or had to be purchased in large quantities.  Others were less expensive but were limited to a few specific fonts or designs.  I also found some tutorials on how to make labels at home using fabric sheets and ink jet printers.  I had printed out designs with my printer and sewn them to garments before, but did not like the way the fabric looked after several trips to the washer.

I was also looking into having some stamps made that I could use for envelopes, letterhead, etc.  Then it occurred to me that I could also use those stamps to make my garment labels.  I worked on the designs myself and then sent them to an Etsy shop, Scribbling Club.  Within two weeks, I had wonderful clear rubber stamps that were mounted on acrylic blocks.  I like these because the stamps and blocks are clear which aides in viewing and alignment and they are re-positionable.  The price was affordable and I can use the stamps for a number of other projects.

I first stamped on silk ribbon and grosgrain.  I had varied results depending on the type of ribbon.  Sometimes the ink would bleed or just not leave a very bold impression.  However, using ribbon is nice because it is neat and tidy and readily available in many styles, colors, and sizes.  You just have to experiment with it.

I then tried stamping on muslin and Osnaburg and the impressions looked great.  I used Memories' Acid Free Dye Inkpad in Sepia.  Black works well also, but I found that lighter colors such as pink and blue did not show up as well.  Stamping on material is very versatile and allows you to make stamps of much bigger sizes than  most ribbon would allow.

So after experimenting a little, this is what I came up with.  

100% cotton fabric (natural fibers) – I used unbleached muslin
Stamp – clear rubber stamp mounted on an acrylic block
Waterproof ink stamp pad – such as Memories, Versacraft, Fabrico
Glue stick - optional

1.  Pre-wash your fabric.

2.  From about 2 to 3 inches from the edge of the fabric, cut a small slit using scissors and then tear a strip from selvage to selvage to form a straight edge on the grain line.

3.  Now that you have a straight edge, make another cut about ¾” to 1” (or to the size of your stamp) and tear another strip.  You will stamp your labels on this strip.

4.  Iron the strip of material with steam to get it nice and flat.  Cut off any frayed threads.

5.  Using your stamp and ink, stamp the fabric leaving approximately 1 to 2 inches between each impression.

6.  After stamping the entire strip, let the ink dry thoroughly.

7.  Once dry, you can heat-set the ink by ironing with a dry iron over the front and back of the material.  For best results, let the labels sit for about a week before washing.

Your fabric garment labels are now ready to use!  I left my labels uncut and wound the strip around an old wooden spool.  I can just cut them as needed.

The labels can either be sewn to the garment or ironed on using fusible webbing.  To sew the label to the garment, cut the label to the desired size.  Do this just before sewing to the garment to avoid fraying or apply Fray Check to each edge of the label and let dry.  Sew a straight stitch around the four sides of the label close to the edge.  I dab the back of the label with a glue stick to keep the label in place while sewing. I used brown thread so it would show up better in the photo, but I use ivory when sewing the labels to the garment.

If fusing the label to the garment, fuse the webbing to the back of the label leaving it slightly larger than needed.  Once the webbing is fused to the back of the label, cut the label to the desired size and fuse to the garment.

I also used my Etsy shop stamp with the same method above and then sewed it onto a paper hang tag.  The tag can then be embellished and used as a “thank you” note to my Etsy customers.  Which leads me to my next tutorial - sewing on paper… stayed tuned!

I hope you found this tutorial useful.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  I welcome any suggestions and would love to see what you’ve done with your fabric and rubber stamps.

Happy stamping,

Pin It


  1. Mona,
    I am so excited over your tutorial on custom stamping. I'm going home tonight and order some.

  2. What a super great idea!! I am thinking this would be so cute to make your own stamped ribbon to use for wrapping and such too!

  3. You have just saved my life with this stamp. I love this!!! What a great idea and tutorial...Thanks for the Taco cup/paint idea too. Now when I have to break away from painting, I can put the cover on until I get back. Love this. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Take care,