I recently set off on a quest to create the best tutorial for how to make your own fabric labels at home, This is something that I do for my handmade sewing products that I make for other people and put in my local Craft Shop.

I will be testing a couple of different methods. I will also be testing the washability of these different methods as well. Usually, fabric labels are made to be washed and you want the printing to hold up.

From my previous tutorial for how to print on fabric I made the huge discovery that there are two different types of inks for home inkjet printers. I’m including this variable in my testing ¬†as it makes a big difference in the washability (is that a word? I think I just made that up!) and I want you all to see those results for yourself.

The Testing for How to Make Your Own Fabric Labels

Below is a photo of my piece of fabric with all the test labels sewn on ready to go into the washing machine. I am tested two methods of making labels; printing directly onto fabric, using freezer paper to stabilise the fabric in the printer and printing onto iron on transfer paper first then ironing the label onto fabric. I am also using two different types of ink – dye based ink with my Brother inkjet printer and Pigment based ink with my Epson inkjet printer. I’ve also included a set of labels using cotton tape (like twill tape/ribbon) and a set of labels that have interfacing on the back to see how well it helps stop the fraying with multiple washes.

These are the things I am interested in seeing the results of:

  • Will the type of inkjet printer ink affect the washability of the label? (I think I already know the answer to this one)
  • Will treating the label with Retayne (an ink/dye fixative) help to retain the ink when washing?
  • Will the iron on transfer paper method help (I’m using the glossy kind) to retain the ink when washed, as it has a clear layer over the top of the ink? (interested to see the difference between the dye based and pigment based inks here)
  • Will the cotton tape wash up better than the plain fabric?
  • Will backing with interfacing prevent fraying and the need to iron the edges under when attaching the label to a sewn project or piece of clothing?

Fabric Label Testing Pre Washing (1)

One thing I have noticed about the iron on transfer already is that it has a slight shine to it. Also, the labels printed with the Epson printer onto transfer paper have a slight yellowing around printed area. I’m not sure why this is. Maybe I over ironed it??

I’m eager to go and wash these labels now so I can get back to you with the results!

Which do you think will be the best method? Which do you think would be the easiest method? Printing directly onto fabric or using the iron on transfer paper?

How you made your own fabric labels before using a different method? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Until next time, happy sewing!

Domenica ?