Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fabric Luggage Tags

Warning....This is a very long post including lots of photos. You know photos tell a story sometimes better than words so I took lots of photos of the different steps to make this fabric luggage tag.

A friend asked me to make these tags for her - lots of tags. Well, she wants me to make 300 to be exact and that is a lot of tags. Last fall I asked if guild members would like to help with this project and several did say they would so will get some help getting them done. I have already made 52 in 3 days so they do go fast.

OK, let's get started....
* Cut 2 pieces bright fabric - 6" x 3 1/2"
* Cut 1 piece of interfacing - 5 3/4" x 3 1/4" (This can be fusible but I used an old fabric I wanted to get rid of - it will be hidden so any ugly fabric will work.)
* Cut 1 piece narrow ribbon - 11" long. It can be satin ribbon, gross grain ribbon or twill tape.
* Cut 1 piece of clear vinyl 2 3/4" x 4" (not pictured below)

Fold and press under 1/4" to the wrong side of one short end of each of the bright fabric rectangles.

Fold ribbon in half and pin the raw edges of the ribbon to the center of the right side of one of the fabric rectangles' short ends. (Not the end that you pressed the 1/4" under.)

Place the piece of interfacing under the fold of the second piece of bright fabric rectangles, centering it between the sides on the wrong side of the fabric.

Place the rectangles right sides together and match up the folded edges and all the outside edges, pinning where necessary.

Peek at the ribbon inside.

Peek at the pinned end of the ribbon.

Stitch around the rectangle starting at the folded edges backstitching the beginning and ending, plus backstitch over the place where the ribbon is pinned to help secure it. You don't want it to pull out of the finished tag.

I like to stitch from the interfacing side so I can make sure it has not shifted out of place. Sometimes I don't even pin the layers together - only pinning the ribbon so then it is doubly important to stitch from the interfacing side. Do NOT stitch the folded ends at this time!

Here is the stitched rectangle from the other side, the side without the interfacing.

Clip the corners without clipping the stitching to help eliminate bulk.

Clip all 4 corners.

Grasp the folded ribbon and turn the luggage tag right side out. Use a point turner to push out the corners. Press flat.

Cutting the vinyl can be a problem - the problem being that you can't see it as soon as you lay a ruler over it. I finally figured out how I was going to deal with it and get accurate cuts. I straightened one edge then laid it along one of the lines on my cutting mat and cut a 4" width following the lines on the mat. I trimmed the end even with a line then used my ruler to slice off the 2 3/4" pieces using the lines on the mat to know where to cut. I had to slide the vinyl up to a line for each slice but at least it worked. I stacked the cut pieces alternating lengths on a piece of paper, ten to each paper so I cold keep track of how many pieces I had cut. The vinyl tends to stick together so that is why I switched the lengths back and forth so I can get hold of one when I want to use it.

Lay the vinyl rectangle over the tag with one short end even with the un-stitched end of the tag and the two long sides of the vinyl even with the long outside edges of the tag. Top stitch around the entire tag about 1/8" away from the outside edge. This will catch 3 sides of the vinyl. Do not stitch the other short end of the vinyl as you need to leave it open so the paper tag with your name and address can be inserted.

The sewing machine foot may stick to the vinyl when stitching, mine did. To solve this problem I laid a piece of fabric just inside of where you are going to stitch. (You could use a piece of paper too.) The presser foot will slide along the fabric/paper and stitch along just fine. I also run the other toe of the presser foot almost off the tag as this also helps it move along. When I ran the entire presser foot on the tag that outside toe would drag on the vinyl and make a mess so it works much better the other way.

Added information: After making more of the luggage tags I have found that using a walking foot to stitch the plastic on works so much better than the above method. The foot doesn't stick to the plastic and moves along evenly with out any paper or fabric under the toe of the foot. You will enjoy stitching the plastic on using the walking foot much better than the other method. (If your walking foot still sticks to the plastic use a piece of paper or fabric under the toe that is riding on the plastic, even if it sticks the walking foot still works better than the regular foot.)

All Done! Insert the paper tag with your name, address, etc and attach it to your suitcase, sewing machine case, computer bag, etc.

Did you make it to the end of this long post- sorry it was so long? Hope it entices you all to make a luggage tag or two though. They would make great gifts too. I would suggest that you use bright fabrics for the tags that are used on luggage so the luggage is easy to spot on airline luggage carousels. You know how all the bags look the same when you are trying to find yours.

Until later,


Margaret said...

I like the idea of handmade luggage tags. I travel a lot and when I do, I put specific information (name, flight number, destination city, name, email address, and cell phone number) in the middle of an attractive quilt label (paper), glue it on a 6"X8" bright red cardboard, then put it through my laminator. They are super easy to identify when we arrive at our final destination. The porters get such fun out of looking for the bags!

Raquel said...

I had a needle break on me last night because the needle screw loosened from getting stuck on safety pins as I kept turning it back and forth under the arm.

While I love your luggage tags I REALLY like your solution for keeping that screw from getting caught! Thanks!! : )

Lynn said...

Actually the bright cover for the screw is a cut down eraser that helps me grip the screw to tighten or loosen it. I discuss it on this blog post.


Raquel said...

What a great idea! Thanks so much for the help!

tich said...

Loved the tutorial. I have not been reading blogs, as I am trying to get Valerie's quilt finished. Hope your talk and demo went well on Thursday.

shopannies said...

charming and love the idea you will easily be able to find your luggage


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