Saturday, February 7, 2015

Don't You Wanna Put Your Name On It?

I truly enjoy garment construction and love it when a garment's interior is as beautiful as its exterior.   I often examine ready-to-wear garments to figure out the short-cuts the industry uses and try to incorporate them into my garment construction.  Additionally, I continue building my skills to include more advanced couture techniques.  In fact, my blog name, Sew Couture, identifies what I'm working towards - haute couture construction.  Incorporating high-end techniques during construction truly separates "hand made" garments from "home made" ones and differentiates professional from amateur.  That level of detail and professionalism is what I'm working towards, and has moved me to begin labeling my work.

I am actively following 70 different blogs which cover a variety of interests, but the majority of them are sewing-focused and managed by wonderfully creative women who also love sewing, sharing their knowledge and the fruits of their labor.  A number of them also label their work.

Cennetta Burwell - The Mahogany Stylist

Mimi Goodwin - Mimi G. Style

Karen Ways - Sew Many Ways

Having professionally-woven custom labels is always the ideal, but I was quite indecisive about how I wanted my labels to look and what I wanted them to say.  Additionally, what if I ordered a couple hundred labels and then changed my mind about how I wanted them to look?  So, being the indecisive DIYer that I am, I began experimenting with various techniques to make my own labels, including running fabric through my printer.  This didn't work out so well because the ink ran and the color saturation was not ideal.  Then one day, I noticed the labels inside a well-worn sweater looked like ribbon.  Huh?  I wonder...  An idea was brewing!

I already had some iron-on transfer paper at home, but I quickly ran out to my local Micheal's store to get more along with a reel of white grosgrain ribbon.

With supplies on hand, I began playing around with the label layout in Word and incorporated my blog name.

label version no. 1
Then I thought no one will know who is behind Sew Couture, and so I modified the layout to include my name.

label version no. 2

Once satisfied, I set up the page to print as many labels that could fit on one 8.5x11-inch transfer sheet.

Once printed, I cut each label and ironed them on the roll of grosgrain ribbon, rolled the "printed" labels back onto the reel and labeled the reel so I'd be able to identify it from any other roll of ribbon in my Sewing Room.

I use a hair elastic tie to secure the labels on the reel

I am now including the labels in the various projects that come off my sewing machine.  No, it's not woven, but I think the label does add a professional appearance.

skirt, without a label

skirt, with a label

I then thought it would be great to create a fabric care garment label.  Here's my attempt at that using the grosgrain ribbon.

While I loved the grosgrain texture on the personal label, I wasn't a fan of it on the fabric care label.  So, I bought a reel of wider satin ribbon, set up the care label dimension in Word, printed them on transfer sheets and iron onto the satin ribbon.

In the above picture, the fabric care label is sewn into Butterick 5559, which I made last March.  The custom and care labels looked G-R-E-A-T once the garment was finished, but I noticed the care label's surface became bubbly after the dress's first washing.  I'm not sure if the problem was the transfer paper or the ribbon, but one thing I did was wash and air-dry the remaining length of satin ribbon so I could remove any sizing or finish from its surface.  Hopefully, this will improve the image adhesion to the ribbon surface.

I have grown quite fond of these labels and may actually take the next step of ordering them in woven-label form.  Until then, label attachment is an additional step I now take during garment construction.  In fact, it's usually the first - so I don't forget it.

Do you label your work?  What method do you use?

Be blessed!



  1. I totally agree with you! I'm still working on a new name for my label because I feel my blog name "Simple Inspirations", doesn't reflect what I want my label to say. Hopefully, I'll get that done this year. That's my goal! Great post!

  2. That creative process is truly a process, isn't it? I hope you find the name and design that reflects your vision. Thanks, Myra, for commenting...I appreciate it!

  3. I saw a tutorial on this long time ago and always had in the back of my mind. I just started back sewing last ear and the clothes were for and my daughter so I never bothered. Now since you have posted this, I think maybe I should make some even for my own clothes that I make, why not! Thanks for sharing! ~Michelle~

  4. Why not, indeed, Michelle. I made a polar fleece hat about 18 months ago that I labeled. I dropped it while walking into work earlier this winter, but it was quickly returned to me.

  5. Great label technique. I have always ordered my labels and care labels. However, there are times when I want to change it up. Thanks for sharing.