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March 19, 2021

How To Attach Your Own Woven Labels: An Illustrated Guide

By: Peter Gregory

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Ready to start attaching your woven labels? Read this first!  

In this helpful illustrated guide, you’ll  learn the simplest way to add woven labels to your products, either by hand, sewing machine or iron! Whether you’re sticking on a border patch or seam-stitching a woven loop fold label, we’ll show you the very best way to do it, and help you avoid common costly first-timer mistakes. 

There are three main ways to attach a woven label: hand stitching, machine sewing and sticking (either with a self-adhesive or an iron-on backing). Just click on the method you’re using to go straight to the relevant part of this guide:

Hand Stitching A Woven Label

Hand-stitching a woven label is fiddly, but it can be done! Our advice is to use the smallest needle you’ve possibly got, and the finest thread. Ideally, your stitches should be almost invisible; the thread should be the same colour as the garment you’re attaching your label to. 

The first step is to thread your label. A single stitch in the top-right corner (or top left if you’re left-handed) will give you a starting point when you want to anchor the label to the garment. 

Next, you need to position the label on your garment. If you’re positioning a neck seam label you can either measure inwards from the shoulder seams, or simply use the buttons or zipper as a guide. If you have already removed a manufacturer’s neck seam label, it makes sense to tuck your new label into this pre-existing seam opening.

You then need to pin your label in place with a few dressmaking pins and stitch each corner of the label to the garment, just so that it doesn’t slip out of alignment when you hand-stitch the edges. 

If you’re planning to border stitch all four edges, you should stitch all four corners. Otherwise you can just stitch the top two corners. Feel free to let excess threads run behind the label; they won’t be seen once the job is finished. 

The final step is to stitch along the edges and secure your label permanently to the garment. Take your time, keep your stitching neat and remember that this is your brand’s permanent billboard. Make sure it looks sharp. You can use any stitching style you like as long as it’s secure. A simple back stitch is the simplest option, but if you prefer the look of a whip stitch, cross stitch or blanket stitch, go for it! 

If you’re labelling a handful of garments at a time (perhaps you’re just starting out or you only sell couture pieces), then hand-stitching is a perfectly good option. As soon as your sales pick up, our advice is to go out and buy a sewing machine. The chances of error are greatly reduced when labelling with a sewing machine, and you’ll save yourself masses of time. 

We’ll cover how to attach your own labels with a sewing machine in the next section…

Machine Sewing a Woven Label

A sewing machine can really speed up your labelling process and save you tonnes of time. With a sewing machine, you don’t have to pin the label in place first. You just hold the label in place, zip the garment through the machine and you’re done. 

There are a few things you need to be aware of when machine-stitching a woven label, however:

Your label needs to be big enough for machine stitching. If the presser foot of your sewing machine is broader than the surface area of your folded label, you won’t be able to hold the label in place when you stitch it — the label will either bunch up or slip out of alignment. 

If you do accidentally order a batch of labels that are too small for your sewing machine foot you could try basting the label in place with a few hand-stitches. It’s much better to just check your sizes before you place your order

You need to be able to adjust the feed dogs on your machine. If the teeth on the baseplate of your sewing machine are jutting out when you try to slide your garment and label into position, you’ll run the risk of tearing or bunching your merchandise. Wind your machine’s handwheel until you can slide the fabric in smoothly, then get to work!

There are really only three rules to follow when labelling on a sewing machine:


  1. Run a scrap of fabric through your machine first, just to test everything is working as it should.
  2. Lock in one corner of your label with a few backstitches, then forward-stitch slowly and carefully until you come to the end of the label’s edge. 
  3. Always lock in the end of your thread with a couple of back stitches when you’re finished. 

Attaching your own labels with an adhesive backing

If stitching just isn’t an option, then you can get woven labels with an adhesive backing. There are two types of backing: iron-on (heat activated) and self-adhesive (peel-and-stick). 

Attaching Self-Adhesive Labels

With self-adhesive labels, the only thing that can really go wrong is the alignment

First, take a few seconds to lay your garment out on a flat, level surface, and make sure that there is no warp in the fabric. 

Lightly place one corner of the label on the product and double-check you’re happy with the position.  

Press down firmly, making sure that the full surface of the label can make contact with the fabric. 

Top Tip: If you have a shake in your hands, rest your palms on a slightly raised surface like a smartphone or pin cushion. It will reduce your tremor and help you stick the label on accurately.

Attaching Iron-On Labels

Iron-on (heat-activated) labels usually offer a tighter bond than simple stick-on labels, because the backing glue literally melts into the fibres of the fabric you’re attaching the label to. 

When using an iron-on label, the first job is to read the instructions carefully. There are a number of different adhesives on the market, and they all work slightly differently.  Take 30 seconds to check your iron’s temperature and always always check your steam settings (there’s nothing more depressing than spoiling a valuable product just because the iron was too hot)! 

Hiring a professional labelling service

There comes a point in every business where, even with the help of a machine, labelling becomes a costly time-sink. If you’ve got hundreds or thousands of garments to get through, our advice is to hire a specialist labelling service

There are great relabelling services and seamstresses out there who can take the job of labelling completely off your hands. You have to factor in postage costs and there’s always a small time delay while you wait for the work to be finished, but it’s well worth the investment if your business is growing. Seamstress services free up your time so that you can focus on creating more designs and products … they also make fewer sewing mistakes than your average busy fashion business owner! 

That’s it for this week! Just remember that, however you choose to attach it, your label is the flagship of your brand. If your label starts to peel or fray, it will become a bad advertisement for your brand. Take your time and stitch neatly and securely, and you won’t look back!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

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