Woven clothing labels + a cheap trick

When I got my bachelor’s degree (unrelated to sewing, ha), my mom bought me my first batch of woven labels for SmarmyClothes. They were quite spiffy, especially compared to the super simple iron-on labels I had made myself.

labels all packed up

I ordered a second batch of the same labels from the same company a few years ago. Last month I noticed I was down to my last 17 labels! I’d been half-looking at replacement labels for a while, having decided that the woven labels were perhaps a little too expensive for something someone might just cut out of the garment once they got it. It got kind of dire when I realized I had less than twenty left.

I decided on making my own with some printable fabric. I bought the printable fabric. Then I realized I need new cartridges for my color printer (I generally use my b+w laser printer for everything) and it’s going to cost me SIXTY BUCKS for new cartridges.

$60 + $19 for the fabric sheets (this doesn’t include shipping, mind you) = $79

I figured I could get about 420 labels out of this package of 6 fabric sheets. That works out to about 19 cents a piece. Not too shabby compared to the woven labels I bought before, which worked out to 33 cents a piece.

Then I found Fancy Weaver on Etsy. 600 woven labels, huge range of sizes, 8 colors for the same price as what I was going to get for making them myself?!?!?!  I was sold.

cut and uncut label

So here’s my cheap trick:

The size range for the labels is 10-38mm width (about 3/8″ to 1 1/4″) and 10-100mm length (about 3/8″ to 4″). I wanted mine to be about 1 1/4″ width and 1 1/2″ length… then I realized I can just order two labels on one and cut/seal that edge myself and get 1200 labels for the price of 600. And I get two different designs. Score!

AngryGirlGear gave me the genius suggestion that I should design the labels so the top edge of each label would be the edge I was cutting. That way, I won’t have to seal that edge if I sew it into the seam of the finished garment.

my old label next to the two new labels

32 thoughts on “Woven clothing labels + a cheap trick

  1. Hello,

    I was just wondering if you knew anything about silkscreen labels (the labels that are just printed on fabric)? Like where you could get them done??? Or do iron on labels exist? Also what company did you get your labels from?

    Sorry about the load of questions. Awesome labels by the way!

    Please e-mail me.


    1. The woven labels are from FancyWeaver on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/FancyweaverEtsy

      They also sell printed/silkscreened labels, and I would guess the prices for those are also really good.

      There are other sellers on Etsy that have printed labels as well as iron-on labels. You can make your own with iron-ons or printable fabric. There are links to some tutorials here: http://whatthecraft.com/tutorial-directory/tutorials-related-to-selling-packaging-handmade-goods/

  2. @lex about those printed labels if i wanted to make my own printed label, how would i be able to cut them with out it fraying or should I ask i would i be able to cut them and still come out with a smooth edge

    1. For a good smooth edge, I’d suggest getting a rotary cutter (looks like a pizza cutter for fabric) and a big ruler. It makes nice clean edges.

      As for fraying… if you used iron-on sheets, I would imagine the iron-on itself would sort of “seal” the fabric edges all by itself. If you used a knit fabric, it would be even less likely to fray, though I’ve heard you don’t get as crisp of colors with knits versus woven.
      To be extra sure they don’t fray (especially since I haven’t really played much with iron-ons and woven fabric) you can spray the edges with FrayCheck, which should be available at any craft supply store.

  3. I love clothing labels almost as much as the clothes they come in, I have a bag of shirt tags that I plan to randomly place on a quilt some day. My favorite one I cut from cold weather coveralls my Dad had, with a penguin on it that says “Chiller Killer.” Your labels look awesome!

    1. Thank you! Oddly enough, my parents had a friend that designed labels and sometimes he’d send them samples of the really cool ones! Maybe that’s why I can’t stand not having something that stands out. 😀

  4. Your labels are pretty cool. I do like the design. I’ve recently ordered some woven labels as well, hoping they look as good as yours!

  5. Just wondering how you seal the edges of the labels you purchased from Fancyweaver? I just ordered some as well and used your tip for putting two labels on one and I am planning on just cutting them.
    Thank you!

    1. You could use FrayStop or FrayCheck before cutting. You could also melt the edges with a flame. I just sew the raw edge into the seam of the garment, and then there’s no sealing necessary.

  6. Cute labels! Love to hear you are still sewing and your business is going well! I’d love to follow your blog if you have one! I just stumbled upon this through googling clothing labels! Tell Tim I said, “hi”! Totally going to your etsy right now!

    Angie (ackley… from western)

  7. I am thinking of using your awesome idea and ordering 2x labels and then cutting them in half. May I ask what size/dimensions you used? I’ve got my label mostly done, designed in photoshop, but I wanted to be sure I got the dimensions correct. Thank you.

    1. Sorry, I missed this comment before!
      The size I used was:
      Length: 100mm
      Width: 38mm

      It looks like now their standard dimensions are a bit smaller, though.

  8. hi, how did you make your own labels? where can i buy the iron on labels or printable fabrics? your label that you made for your self looks great!! i am in rush to make the labels myself and i need help asap! please help me!! =)

    1. You can use a lighter or a candle flame to lightly melt the cut edge. I usually just sew the cut edge to the garment with a zig-zag stitch without sealing it. I wait until I’m ready to sew a label for cutting, and that way it doesn’t have a chance to fray much.

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