DIY Sew-In Labels: Part 1

You have asked me how I make my own sew-in labels and I’ve finally found a little time to share the process. Hurray pre-K!

Why make your own labels anyway? 

Small Biz Makers:

  • Full control over design, font size, quality.
  • You don’t have to worry about your label shop going on vacation!
  • You don’t have to worry about waiting days to weeks for someone else to make your labels and mail them to you!
  • Save money!

Hobby and Holiday Crafters:

  • Add a sweet message to your holiday crafts.
  • Personalize gifts.
  • Because it is a cute little touch!

I by no means invented this process, but I’ll lay it out here to show you how easy it is. There are two ways I do it and I will detail them both in two parts. In this post, I’ll describe how to make sew-in labels with pre-packaged printable fabric sheets. In part 2, which I will post in two weeks, I’ll describe how to make your own printable fabric sheets!

Making Labels With Pre-packaged printable Fabric Sheets:

Step One- Go to your craft store and buy a package of printable fabric sheets. Make sure to buy ink jet or laser printer paper according to your printer type.

Step Two- Create a template of your design. I used Avery label maker to do this. Took me a few tries to get the size and positioning right. This will vary depending on logo size and label type–fold over, sew-on. Take your time and print trials on regular paper.

Step Three- Print your labels on the fabric paper with the paper backing still on. Let the ink set for about ten minutes before removing the paper backing.

Step Four- Fill a bowl with ice cold water and dunk your sheet of labels and leave in the bowl for about two minutes. If you printed more than one sheet, I’d submerge them one at a time.

Step Five- Remove sheet and gently blot excess water off and leave flat to dry. This will take a few hours.


Step Six- When the sheet is completely dry, iron the ink for one or two minutes to really set it in and iron out any lumps and wrinkles in the fabric.

Step Seven- And on the seventh step she cut out labels! Hooray! You did it, you crafty person, you!

Easy-peasy pudding pie! So go! Drive 5 MPH over the speed limit if you have to! Go get your printable fabric sheets and make your beautiful labels yourself!

You’re back from the craft store already? I know what you’re thinking: “These printable fabric sheets are a bit expensive.” I hear you! So in two weeks I’ll outline how to make your own printable fabric sheets! Using Kona cotton fabric! Eep!

Stay tuned!

DIY Sew-In Labels: Part 2

It’s here! In this second, and final, installment of “how to make your own sew-in labels,” I will take you through the steps to make your own printable fabric paper. Did I hear you squeal with glee? I know, right! The possibilities are endless!

In part one, I described the process with store-bought fabric paper options. The easy-to-find brands tend to be white or off-white cotton. But what if you want organic cotton? A fabric label of a different color? Well, I tell you what, you make your own printable fabric paper!!! I definitely heard you squeal that time!!

Materials to make printable fabric paper the pen&thimble way:

  • Fabric (I use white Kona cotton)
  • Freezer Paper
  • Cutting Mat
  • Quilters Ruler
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Piece of 8.5×11 Cardstock
  • Pencil
  • Iron & Board
  • Ink jet printer (you may need ink for printing on fabric)

Let’s Do This:

  1. I first trace a piece of standard printer paper onto the paper/non-shiny side of the freezer paper using a cardstock paper as a template because it is easy to trace. IMG_1155
  2. Then cut your freezer paper. This will be the backing that will keep your fabric stiff enough to feed through the printer. I use my ruler and rotary blade for a smooth precise cut.
  3. Now cut your fabric to be slightly larger than the piece of freezer paper.
  4. Iron the fabric until it is is nice and wrinkle-free.
  5. Then place the freezer paper shiny side up on your ironing board. Fabric right side up on top. I press, rather than iron to adhere the paper to the fabric. Make sure to press the edges and corners especially–the edges and corners are the most likely to get stuck in the printer if not sealed well.IMG_1170
  6. Your paper will be hot! Let it cool for a minute.
  7. Once cool, go back to your cutting table and use your ruler and rotary blade to cut the excess fabric off. IMG_1177
  8. You did it! Easy-peasy!
  9. Put in printer and print your labels as if it is a store-bought sheet of printable fabric paper. See my notes below for directions on how to continue.

**Many store-bought fabric sheets are treated to absorb printer dyes. This option is not. For the best results use ink that is made for printing on fabric. Also, I allow hours to let the ink set before I iron it to “seal it.” That being said, this option still fades after a few washes. This option is also best with black ink if you do not want to get special ink. And even better for projects that won’t be washed.

Would love recommendations for setting the ink a bit better if anyone has any to share!