Now that my little ones are in school, and now that we are back in the Midwest and dealing with significantly more layers than we had in Miami, it’s time to refresh our stash of fabric name labels. These are great for sewing into hats, scarves and mittens for winter, and the extra set of clothes the teachers like to have on hand at school. They are also great for nap blankets, lunch bags and jackets. Basically, if you can sew onto it, you can use these labels on it.
This tutorial should equip you with everything you need to know to make your own set of fabric labels.
- 1/2 inch twill tape*
- printable iron-on transfer paper*
- hard surface (I use an old wooden cutting board)
*Note: these are not affiliate links, just examples of the products I personally use.
Step 1: Type and Print
I use Microsoft Word for this step. Using your space wisely, you can get a lot of names on a single page. Your first step is to type the name a bunch of times, getting as many to the page as possible. The second, very important, step is to reverse the font. We do this so that the type is printed backwards on the iron-on transfer paper, then when we iron onto the twill tape (step 2), the name reads the right way.
In Microsoft Word, you have to use a few tricks to do this. The first thing to know is that you need to type each name in a text box. To add a text box to the page and reverse the text:
- Click then the drop down arrow for and choose . This will drop a text box into your document.
- Highlight the text provided, and add your child’s name. Center the text.
- Then, to get rid of the black border, click on the text box and under choose then .
To reverse the text:
- Right click on the text box and choose
- In the box that appears, choose at the very top
- Then choose just below that (the outlined A)
- Under change the X-rotation to 180 degrees. Your text is reversed!
Now using your copy-paste feature, make copies of that reversed text and place them all over your page. Here’s a snapshot of mine all printed out:
A few things to consider:
- Remember the height of your twill tape (mine is 1/2″) and be sure to leave a little room at the top and bottom. Different fonts have different heights even at the same font size, so your test print will help with size.
- You can change colors! I make a rainbow of different colored names so that I can match the garment.
- Leave a little space on all sides of the text so that you can easily cut around it.
Finally, do a test print on regular paper to make sure everything prints as expected, colors are easy to read, and font sizes aren’t too big or too small. Then, following the instructions that came with your paper, print on your iron-on transfer paper.
Step 2: Iron On
This step may vary depending on instructions that came with your iron-on transfer paper. For the paper I use, I need a very hard “ironing board” covered by something slightly soft. I use an old wooden cutting board with a crisply ironed, also old, pillowcase on top. You want a hot iron with no steam, so no water in the reservoir. Once you have your iron and board ready:
- Cut out each name on the printed transfer paper. You can cut close to the name, and want to make sure that your final cut transfer paper isn’t taller than your twill tape (if it is, when you iron, you’ll get transfer on your ironing board).
- Think about how you want to sew your labels into your garments. I like to have options, so some of my labels get sewn in on a side seam which means the twill tape is folded over before sewing. This means I need twice as much twill tape for that label – half that has the name and half that is plain white. Other labels I like to sew flat, so I just need twill tape that is slightly larger than my name, leaving room on each side to fold the cut edge under for sewing.
- Iron and cut!
I keep about 20 of these name labels on hand in a variety of shapes and colors for each of my kids so that I can add them to whatever needs labeled. They tuck neatly into the top of my sewing machine tool box, easy to grab and quick to sew in!