The Perfect Gift this Christmas: Bespoke Fabric Labels

It can be quite daunting to shop for Christmas presents, especially if it’s someone who has everything. With Christmas season drawing near, what gift should you give your hard-to-please, highly-critical in-laws or your well-traveled, toostylish-for-words boss?

Here’s a unique and beautiful solution: create bespoke fabric labels featuring the initials of the gift recipient. These labels can be sewn on everything from tailor-made shirts, neckties, handkerchiefs, pillowcases, and more.

The great thing about creating labels is that there are tons of ways to go about it. If you’re not a big DIY fan, you can order them by the ribbon roll or by bulk and cut to size from specialty printers. However, these can definitely be time-consuming and prohibitively impractical. They also require minimum orders—that can seem a bit much especially if you’re not planning on selling the items the tags are meant for. For cases like these, doing it yourself is the best solution.

For custom clothing tags, we have two very simple methods that you can try: iron-on and stamp.
First, you will need to find a font that matches the personality of the gift recipient.

Click here to see Script fonts: http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/list/classification/script

You may also use serif or sans serif fonts.
After choosing a font, you may now choose to create either a Stamp Tag or an Iron On Tag.

Bespoke Stamped Initial

Attaching tags or labels is an excellent alternative you can try. It may seem daunting at first, but it can actually be a more preferable option than the others. This method does not alter your clothes at all, or damages it the way stitched items do. You also do not have to worry about ink blots, guaranteeing your garment’s pristine condition even as time goes by.

What you need:
Rubber stamp of the gift recipient’s initials (Mr. Quickie accepts rubber-stamp services)
Ribbon roll*
Stamp pad / textile paint
Iron Ironing board
Press cloth (optional)
Ruler or measuring tape
Scissors
Small paint brush (if you opt to use textile paint)

*For a stamped label, do not use the shiny satin type that is commonly available in bookstores as the paint will not stick to these materials. Look for a roll made of cotton, twill, or other materials that are slightly rougher than satin. Also make sure that your ribbon is wide enough for the design of your stamp to fit.

Using your ruler or measuring tape, measure at least 1 inch from the end of the roll. Stamp on your design after the 1 inch allowance. Measure another 1 inch from the edge of your graphic to create another allowance. Cut the label.
Measure the freshly made label and cut your ribbon according to size. Create as many tags as needed.
Once you’re done stamping, fold out the allowances in half on both ends of your label to prevent fraying.
Heat set the ink by ironing on the print. If you’re worried that the ink will stick to your iron, you can cover your tag with another cloth (commonly referred to as press cloth) and iron over it instead of directly on the print.
Press the folds for easier garment attachment.
If you wish to make name tags for your little ones’ clothes, you may want to look for an ink that will withstand repeated washings. In cases like this, regular stamp pads may not cut it, but there are permanent stamp pads with long lasting inks. If you can’t find a good brand, though, you can always use textile paint. Just apply a thin coat of paint on your stamp and proceed accordingly. Make sure to test it out first, as too much textile paint can cause bleeding and may ruin your label altogether.

Bespoke Iron-On Initials

What you need:
Iron-on transfer paper (available in office supply and book stores)
Computer
Inkjet printer
Ribbon roll*
Scissors
Iron
Ironing board
Ruler / measuring tape
Optional: Cutting mat
Utility knife / cutter

*For iron-on custom tags, you can use satin type ribbons. However, if you want a more polished finish, a cotton or twill tape works better.

Create the design you want to print on your label. Make sure to reverse the image, as this will guarantee that your design will come out the right way. Also take in consideration the thickness of your ribbon, so you can be sure that your design will fit inside its area.
Once you’ve made your design, save it as an image file and lay it out on a word document so you can print it out easily. You can lay out your images by rows including ample spaces for sewing allowance. This will make the transfer easier as you don’t have to measure for allowances every time you place an iron on transfer on the ribbon roll. However, if you want to maximize your iron-on paper, you can always add the spaces manually when transferring the images to the tape.
Place a sheet of iron-on transfer paper on your printer.
Make sure that your printer is set to high quality printing for this job. The higher the quality your computer prints out, the better chances you have in getting a clear image on your label.
Let your iron-on transfer print out dry a little before cutting each row or image. Place each cut iron-on transfer image face down. Flatten each piece properly, so you can avoid getting bumps in your transfer. Make sure to measure for enough sewing allowances as well if you’ve chosen to cut your image separately.
Press the iron on the back side of the iron-on paper and let it sit for at least 3 seconds. Be careful with the iron. If it’s too hot and pressed too long, it can melt the image and burn your tape. Run the iron across the tape a few times to ensure that the image has been transferred fully. Let the transfer paper cool down a bit before peeling it off.
Cut accordingly, including allowances on the sides.
Fold out two sides to secure the labels and keep it from fraying. This will also make the tags a lot easier to attach to your garments.
For iron-on custom tags, it is important to remember to take proper care of the garment as the print will melt under high temperatures. To ensure the longevity of your tags, avoid letting your iron touch the print directly or washing it in very hot water.

Like in any other DIY projects, make sure to do ample research on image transfers and label making. Especially if you have no prior experience in DIY fabric printing, learning more about it before trying it out is the best way to prepare yourself for the project. If you find these methods a bit difficult, don’t worry. There are tons of different ways to create clothing tags, so you can be guaranteed to find a technique that will work for you.