Embroidery Library


Making Quilt Labels

Quilt labels are a beautiful way to add special meaning to a quilt or tell its story to future generations. Stitched onto the back of a quilt or incorporated into a block, these finishing touches offer a personal, heartfelt dimension.


Here's some information you might include on a quilt label:

  • Quilt maker's name

  • Date the quilt was finished

  • Place the quilt was made

  • Recipient's name

  • The story behind the quilt, or occasion for which it was made

  • A meaningful message or inscription

  • Name of the quilt

  • Name of blocks or pattern used

  • Care instructions

  • Phone number and address

  • Anything else you like!

There are lots ways to write on a quilt label - machine embroidery, hand embroidery, permanent fabric markers, and computer-printed fabric, to name a few. This guide will show you how to combine quilt label designs and alphabets to create your own one-of-a-kind label.


A note on alphabets vs. fonts: In a machine embroidery alphabet, each letter is a separate embroidery design. You need to assemble the letters into words. Embroidery Library's alphabets fall into this category. Fonts (like the ones you use on your computer) can be turned into embroidery designs using software such as Embird's Font Engine. Each kind of lettering has its pros and cons. Fonts are faster to work with and offer more size variety. Since the program auto-digitizes the letters, you can embroider any font on your computer. Alphabets come in only a few set sizes, but since each is an individually made embroidery design, the digitizing quality will be better. This guide uses alphabets to show you how to merge files.



To start, choose a quilt label design that goes with your project. This demonstration uses the Northwoods Quilt Label - Lg. You can find many more choices in the Labels department. You'll also want to choose an alphabet. This label uses the 1/2 inch high Schoolbook Alphabet; more can be found in the Alphabets category. Make sure the sizes of your designs will provide room for all the text you want to include.


Any embroidery software with the ability to merge designs can make a quilt label. We're using Embird. Your steps might be slightly different than what's below, based on what software program or version you're using, but the overall idea is the same.


Open the label design in Embird. Click "Editor" at the top of the screen to go into editor mode. The colors in the design may look strange - don't worry about that.


For some design formats, the label design may come up sideways. If this happens, you'll want to rotate it. To do this in Embird, go to the "Edit" menu, then to "Rotate," and then select "Rotate Left." The embroidery field in the background won't line up with the design -- that's OK, because we're going to rotate it back later.


If your label comes up horizontally in the first place, you don't need to do anything.


It's time to add letters to your label. Click the "File" menu at the top of the screen, then "Merge." Select the letter you want to insert. (Make sure the "Preview" box is checked so that you can see which letter you're choosing.) Click OK to open the letter design.

Once you've opened the letter design, drag it to approximately where you want it to be - you can fine-tune the placement later.

Repeat the process to get all the letters you want.


Drag each letter design into place. You can use the grid lines on the screen to help you line up the letters evenly. It may help to zoom in so the label is bigger on your screen.

When you're satisfied with the arrangement, click File --> Save As and save your newly created label with a filename that you'll recognize.


Click "Manager" at the top to go into Manager mode, then click "Editor" to go back into Editor mode. You're now looking at your quilt label as one combined design. If needed, rotate the design back to its original orientation. Center the design on both axes, then save.


There's one more step: putting all the letters on the same color stop.

The colored squares each represent one color stop on the design, and since each letter was originally a separate embroidery design, each has its own color stop. We're going to put them all together so your machine doesn't stop between each letter.


Figure out which square represents the first letter (it's probably the first of many squares that are the same color). Right-click on the first letter square, then click "Split Before Color" from the menu that pops up. You should now see something like the picture at right.


Right-click on the tiny image of the lettering layer, and click "Reduce Colors." In the menu that appears, set it to reduce colors to 1, and click OK.


Save the design. It's done!


Stitch out your design (make sure to use cutaway stabilizer), and incorporate it into your quilt or other crafty creations!


Kenny is a master digitizer and Vice President of Production at Embroidery Library, Inc.

Ask Kenny! Send your questions to stitch@emblibrary.com.

Click here for a printable version of this page.

You'll need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. If you don't have it, you can download a free copy by clicking on the icon below.

Get Acrobat Reader 

Previous "Korners" can be found by clicking on the link below:

See Them All

Products used in this Project: