Fabric Label Basics – The Billboard of a Designer


As a quilter, knitter, recreational sewing buff, or a clothing designer, probably the last thing on your mind is the cloth label that serves as an advertising “billboard” of your work. Whether your needs are simply personal—such as an identifier with your name, or an actual branding statement, many crafter’s and designers often overlook labeling their handiwork until the very last minute.

Fabric Labeling—the basic definitions:

There are two major types of clothing labels: Printed and woven.

Printed clothing labels are made of various types of ribbons that are printed, hot-cut, and folded. The most common materials are satin, cotton, and tyvek.


  • Depending on the fabric or clothing label supplier, a shorter lead (turnaround) time. Oftentimes, printed labels are domestically manufactured (Made in the US).
  • With the advances in cloth label technology, manufacturers are able to print photographs, shading and shadow, extremely small writing, and color gradients. In other words, the technology in place has the capacity of printing Michelangelo on your clothing label!
  • Highly elaborate details of you art work can be captured.
  • Soft to the touch.
  • 48 hour rush production service available with some manufacturers


  • May fade over time with repeated hot washing and dryer use.
  • Background colors oftentimes need to be either pastel or white colors—though technology is constantly evolving.

Labels - Printed


Woven labels are woven with a weave based on your specification for the artwork. A loom weaves your artwork or graphic as part of the fabric. The labels are then cut and/or folded.


  • Long lasting through repeated use, including washing and dryer use.
  • Damask woven labels have an very upscale appeal


  • Usually, a longer lead time to completion. Most woven textiles have to be imported. If a clothing designer is in a time crunch, that is, short on time, then this is not the recommend choice for clothing labels.
  • Artwork/graphics limitations: All artwork, logos, and lettering have to be a clear, smooth 2-D line drawing presentation. There can be no color gradients, shadows, or extremely small elaborate fonts. Remember, the loom is weaving a very small piece of cloth, and the artwork woven has to conform to weaving looms patterns. So if you have an elaborate or a highly detailed logo, it is best to stick to printed clothing labels.

Labels - Woven

So remember—do not forget your labels! Planning early saves you stress, time, and a LOT of money.

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