homepage: Dr. Carol JVF Burns

See the Sewing/Crafts section of my main Table of Contents for other sewing projects!

Embroidered Labels (with cardboard inserts)

Label makers are great (the Brother PT-65 that I own is now ridiculously expensive). Sometimes, though, these labels won't stick to a desired surface, and sometimes you want something a bit classier. These machine-embroidered-on-fabric labels have a bit of cardboard inside, so they're rigid, easy-to-read, smooth, and durable. There are little ‘pockets’ on the ends where paper-clips can be inserted for attachment purposes (the paper-clips won't show from the front). No turning inside-out, no pressing—only straight cuts and stitching, so they're easy to make. (The illustrations are for wicker basket labels beneath an infant changing table.)

(1) SEW LABEL WITH EMBROIDERY MACHINE:

I have a Janome Memory Craft 350E.
Use a sturdy fabric; be sure to use a stabilizer sheet.

It will look best
if you use the same thread for top and bobbin.

Here, I'm using hoop B (5.5" x 7.9").
I purchased a block font; the built-in fonts don't have parentheses!

Make sure there's at least 1" fabric above/below the top/bottom stitching,
and at least 2" fabric to the left/right of the stitching.

(2) REMOVE HOOP; CUT CONNECTING THREADS:

Trim all the connecting threads between the letters.
Here's my technique for doing this:
  • First, cut all the left sides of the connecting threads very close to the fabric with a stitch pick/seam ripper.
  • Next, [right-handed directions] hold each cut thread with tweezers in your left hand; cut the right side of thread close to the fabric with micro-scissors.
  • Brush off the cut threads and pull away the tear-away stabilizer over a waste basket.

(3) CUT MATCHING TOP/BOTTOM PIECES:

Trim your label to the desired size: at a MINIMUM, leave 1" from the stitching on top/bottom, and 2" from the stitching on left/right.

If you plan to use paper clips to attach your labels,
then make sure the height is at least: paper clip height + ½"

If you want bigger margins around your stitching, that's fine.

Using your top piece as a pattern, cut a bottom piece exactly the same size.

(4) SEW ONE SIDE SEAM; FINISH ALL RAW EDGES:

Some of the stitching in this step will show in the final product, so use a thread color you're happy with.

If you're doing more than one label at a time, use chaining on this step to speed things up.

Put top/bottom right sides together, and sew ONE end with a 3/8" seam.
Open up to get one long piece.

Finish all four raw edges by turning over slightly and zigzagging, in this order:
  • use a ¼" seam for top and bottom;
    open up the center seam as you zigzag that part
  • use a ⅜" seam for both ends

(5) ZIGZAG TOP/BOTTOM,
LEAVING POCKETS FOR PAPER CLIPS:


Match up the top/bottom pieces, with right sides out. Put a pin ¾" from each end, to keep the pieces matched up properly AND as a marker for where to start/stop zigzags (next).

Locking stitches securely at both beginning and end, use a tight zigzag [Carol: utility stitch #8, density 0.6] to zigzag the top and bottom over the existing zigzag stitches BETWEEN the pins. (Thus, there is ¾" open on all four ends for paper clip insertion.)

(6) CUT CARDBOARD, INSERT, ZIGZAG SHUT:

Cut a piece of cardboard with both height and width ¾" smaller than the label.

Insert the cardboard.

Zigzag the end closed. Done!