What information to put on your quilt labels

Many ask: “Why put a label on a quilt?” Others, relieved the quilt has been completed, don’t want to bother with “one more” thing to do!

Here is why you want to make a label for your quilt:

  1. To “protect” yourself! You want to “give credit” to the designer and to every person who contributed to the making of your quilt, including the quilter. You don’t want to indicate, by omission, that you designed the pattern or quilted the quilt!
  2. For “history’s sake!” A label helps document the date, fabric, style and trends as well as identifies the maker.

Many ask: “What information should I put on my quilt label?” The following gives you a “brief” guide of what information to put on your quilt label as well as definitions of terms.

Newly-made quilt from a pattern:

Newly-made quilt original design:

The same information but, indicate “Original design by maker.” When a quilt is “designed, constructed and quilted” by the maker then indicate such. Original work is noted with the copyright icon “©” name and date, both on the back and the front. This lets the viewer know the design is “original” work and may NOT be reproduced without your permission.

Newly-made quilt from a photograph.

BE CAREFUL! To DISPLAY a quilt from someone else’s photograph, you must have written permission from the photographer. When using your photograph indicate: “From photo by maker.”

Labels for older quilts (before 1980):

Indicate quilt name (may be a name used by a family), pattern name, maker/quilter, location, year and how you got the quilt. Sad to say, most often maker will be “unknown.”

Older quilt top newly quilted (multigenerational quilt):

Identify pattern, maker of top and date, followed by “newly quilted” and name of quilter/location and date. Add how you got the top.

Adapted: Alteration, by the quiltmaker, of a published pattern.
Blocks: Belong to the public domain and are not copyrighted.
Copyright: “Exclusive legal right to the publication sale, etc. of a literary or artistic work” (from Webster’s New World Dictionary).
Inspiration: A person, written or spoken word, scene or object that gives you inspiration for an artistic design. (Note such on label!)
Intellectual Property: The ownership of artistic or literary designs.
Label: An inked or quilted inscription on the quilt or, a separate fabric attached to the back of a quilt: Indicates, maker, pattern, date, quilter, provenance, etc. May be inked, computer generated, embroidered, painted, etc.
Maker: One or more people who constructed the quilt.
Multi-generational: Made by different makers over a period of time.
Original design: A new and different method of arranging blocks or images.
Pattern: Arrangement of the blocks such as Irish Chain, medallion, etc
Photograph: An artistic work protected by copyright. Must obtain written permission from photographer to reproduce in a quilt.
Provenance: The origin or source; in the case of a quilt “the story.” This might include awards won by maker and or quilter.
Quilter: May be the maker or a different person.

©Alexandra (Sandy) Schweitzer, 2010