How to print sew-in labels

Written by arin bodden
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How to print sew-in labels
You can print your own fabric labels with your home computer and printer. (paper feed image by Glenn Jenkinson from

Fabric labels sewn into your handcrafted items add a personal touch. They are a good way to brand your items with your logo and business name. Custom sew-in labels with your name or business information can be expensive, however. With a computer, printer and printable fabric sheets, you can easily and quickly print your own labels and customise them for each project. Printing your own labels is an affordable alternative to expensive custom sew-in labels.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Inkjet printer
  • Printable 100%-cotton fabric sheets
  • Vinegar
  • Iron
  • Large, shallow pan

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  1. 1

    Design your labels. You can do it with a word-processing program, such as Microsoft Word, or a graphic program, such as Adobe Illustrator. No matter which program you use, design the labels so they are the appropriate size for your project. Most sew-in labels for apparel are no bigger than two inches square. Design your labels with the colour of your project in mind and coordinate your label so that it doesn't clash or look out of place with your project.

  2. 2

    Format your design for printing. Printable fabric sheets come in 8 1/2-by-11-inch sheets. Arrange as many labels as you want to print on a letter-size template in your word-processing or graphics program. Allow a one-inch margin on all four sides of the paper so your design won't be cut off during the printing process. Additionally, place your labels at least 1/4 inch apart so that you have plenty of room for cutting and trimming.

  3. 3

    Set your printer for the highest-quality printing it allows, which is very often a "photo printing" setting. Adjust your printer settings to print at least 600 dots per inch. Test your labels by printing them out on a blank piece of regular paper, making sure the colours and design look they way you want them to. Adjust your label design if necessary and reprint until you have a design and layout you like.

  4. 4

    Adjust your printer settings to print on card stock. Load your fabric sheet into your printer and print your labels. Let the ink on your labels dry for at least two hours. The fabric sheet consists of a layer of fabric and a paper backing sheet; peel the paper backing sheet away from the fabric and throw it away.

  5. 5

    Prepare a solution of 2 tbsp vinegar and cold water in a shallow pan large enough to lay your fabric sheet flat. Submerge your fabric sheet in the vinegar solution for at least 30 minutes. The vinegar solution sets your ink in place so it won't fade or run when you wash it. Rinse your fabric sheet in cold water and allow to dry completely. Iron your labels on a cotton steam setting to remove wrinkles.

  6. 6

    Cut out your labels so they are the size you want them, leaving a 1/8-inch border on all sides. Sew your labels into your projects securely on all four sides with a straight stitch.

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