Project: Textile Tags

Do you have scraps of lovely ribbon and fabric that you can’t bear to throw away? Here’s a great way to use those exquisite scraps to make gorgeous textile tags. Use them for bookmarks, luggage tags or extra-special gift tags. A plain fabric on the back makes it easy to write on using a fabric pen.


You will need:
Fabric scraps – we used linen, organza and cotton, with plain for the back
Fusible webbing, such as Vliesofix or Misty Fuse
Fabric glue
Lengths of ribbon, lace or braid
Threads, embroidery and machine
Pinking shears


General method:
1. Fuse webbing to the back of your main fabric, remove the paper backing and then fuse a plain fabric onto the back. Cut out the basic tag shape, using pinking shears or scissors. For example:
Rectangle 14 x 7cm
Rectangle 14 x 9cm with one short end trimmed in a curve
Rectangle 13 x 9cm
Rectangle 14 x 7cm, or 15 x 5.5cm, with the corners cut off on one end.

2. Once you have your basic shape, cut smaller pieces of your fabric scraps and place them on the right side of the background fabric. Stitch or glue them in place. You can machine straight stitch, zig-zag, hand-stitch using blanket stitch or simply glue them.

3. Here’s the fun part: Add snippets of ribbon, threads, bows, or work a few simple running stitches using decorative embroidery thread. Go to town and play! Try new techniques, add some fabric paint or Shiva Stix – whatever you like!

4. Punch or pierce a hole through the centre at one end (the same end that has the corners trimmed off). Fold a length of ribbon in half and thread through the hole to make the tie.



Here’s a guide to how we made ours:

From left to right. Top row:
A. 14 x 7cm linen background with 11 x 5cm plain linen stitched onto the background. Layer on a 9cm length of ribbon then a 4cm square of organza (ours has an embroidered circle motif). Glue on a thread bow at one end and fold and tie a 35cm length of ribbon through the other end.

B. 15 x 5.5cm linen background with plain cotton fused to the back. Stitch a 12cm length of decorative braid to the centre. Insert decorative rayon embroidery threads for ties.

C. Cut a 14 x 7cm background fabric. Layer on top one piece of 12 x 5cm linen and stitch in place, then add a piece of silk 10 x 4cm, then 7 x 3cm piece of cotton. Before stitching in place, tuck under the folded end of a 38cm length of ribbon, then stitch the ribbon and the final layer in place.

D. 13 x 9cm background linen with 13 x 7cm linen fabric on top. Place 11cm x 5cm organza over the linen, our piece has a machine embroidered circle at one end, then add short pieces of ribbon and glue them in place. Thread a large needle with decorative threads and work a few lines of running stitch across one end and through the centre leaving the ends long and free. Stitch 9cm length of ribbon at one end for the tie covering the raw edge on the tag with a small piece of ribbon.

E. Cut a background piece 14 x 9cm and trim one short end in a curve. Fuse webbing onto the back of a patterned fabric scrap and cut out a large motif from it – we used a Michael Miller fabric – Bandana. Fuse it onto the straight end of the tag. Pierce a hole in the curved end of the tag, fold 30cm ribbon length in half and thread through the hole to make the tie.

Tip: If you don’t own pinking shears, there are rotary cutters with zigzag and curved blades available that will give you a similar effect.

For lots more project gift ideas, go here!

Project by Judy Newman


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