Tuesday, May 13, 2008


After much agony and with great trepidation, I am posting the directions for my luggage tags. Thsi pattern is totally my creation. I had the basic pattern but it didn't close, didn't fold and wasn't private. That said, this is my baby so go lightly on me if there are any confusing portions. Hopefully not. Plus, I would appreciate simple credit if you use this for a guild project or any other project. (Boy, I am confident!) Feel free to contact me with the positive and negative....I can take it! LOL! I have enjoyed many, many of patterns, tips and tutorials courtesy of blogland. This is my little thank you. Enjoy !

If you make a tag, drop me a note and a picture and I'll add a link to show it off for you!!!

Luggage Tag
These tags are great for more than just luggage. Attach to backpacks, sewing machine cases or sewing toolboxes. I have one on each item I take to retreat. We all have rolling toolboxes…mine is the only one with the “naked cowboy” luggage tag!!!!! My nephew attached his baseball tag to his backpack for school! DH has one football tag and one comic strip fabric tag. They are so much fun to make!

• Fabric at least 7.5”X 12.5”
• Matching fabric cut 12” X 2 ½” for strap
• Fusible interfacing the same size – I used DecorBond. You can use any type of heavier interfacing/craft interfacing. You want this to have a bit of body.
• Clear plastic/vinyl – I bought mine at Joann’s. It is on the long rolls with the plastic tablecloth and home dec fabric. It is the “blue writing on the backing paper” weight.
• Zipper foot
• Teflon (nonstick) foot for your machine. This is a lifesaver!!!

Make a Pattern

With the pattern material of your choice, (I used a mailing envelope. You can use a manila folder, a piece of cardstock….anything that is long enough to cut to the right shape. It isn’t necessary to be durable), measure a rectangle that is 12”X 3.5”. Cut it out. (For accuracy, I used a rotary cutter and ruler to cut out my pattern). Mark the center on one of the short ends. Then, working from the same end, measure and mark 1 ½” down on both sides. Create the angle of the luggage tag by drawing a line from the center dot to each of the marks along the side. (my picture is for demonstration only. The actual pattern is not the same color)

Cut on the line to create the angle of the pattern. (Again make sure this is accurate as it is you pattern. )

Cut the Fabric and Interfacing
Fold the fabric in half to measure 3.5”X 12.5”. (I was fussy cutting my fabric so my photos show a much bigger piece of fabric. I have the pattern lying along the fold. That is extra fabric at that the top) Lay the pattern on the fabric with one long edge along the fold.

Cut the fabric.
*I used a rotary blade and ruler to make nice clean cuts. Lay the ruler on top of the pattern and cut along the edge. Repeat on all sides. If you have trouble with the pattern slipping, put a piece of tape under it to hold it to the fabric.

* Because I was fussy cutting, I made a see thru template. The rest of the cutting photos will use the see through template.

*Don’t mind the blue tape on the edge…it is so you see the template. Also, the ruler is only being for cutting, not to measure.

When you open the fabric it will look odd!

Blunt the tip of the point by measuring in ¼” and cutting it off. (I noticed that I didn't blunt the tips in this picture...or the next.....BLUNT the tip even if I did do it out of order!)

Cut 2 separate pieces of interfacing. DO NOT cut on the fold. You need these to be separate so that the tag folds nicely. Cut the interfacing with a separate pattern down ¼” 4 sides. Cut down the 3 sides shown plus the shorter side (The picture does not show the ¼” cut off the shorter side). There is no need to cut the second long side (in this case, the picture is right!)

Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric. Use the picture to help with placement. As you can see, I wing it with trimming the interfacing. It isn’t perfect!

This odd shaped piece will be folded in half to be finished. Before we continue, you need to choose which half you will finish to the inside of the tag and which will be the outside. The outside of the tag is what people see while the inside will hold your label.

Adding the vinyl label holder
Cut your piece of vinyl/plastic to measure 4 ½” X 2 ½”

We will be working the portion of fabric that finishes to the inside for this step…... NOT the inside of the tag as in the interfacing side but the side of the fabric that will finish TO the inside. In this picture I have folded the tag to make sure that I will be adding the plastic label protector to the correct side. You are looking at the outside of the tag….The label will be inside…where the woman’s head is!

* It is nearly impossible to attach the plastic with out a “Teflon” or non-stick foot. Do yourself a favor and invest the couple of dollars it costs for this foot. You will NOT regret the purchase and as an added benefit your family will not be subject to your creative vocabulary while trying to use a regular foot on plastic!

Place the plastic 1 ½” down from the short side, and centered between the fold and edge of tag. (You don’t want to catch the plastic in the seams later on.) See the picture below? IT IS WRONG! YOU MUST HAVE THE TAG OPEN AND FLAT WHEN YOU ATTACH THE PLASTIC PROTECTOR!

I use a piece of blue painters tape to hold the plastic in place while sewing. Using a short, small zig zag, sew three sides…the short side closest to the edge and both long sides. (if you would like you can hand or machine embroider your information and lay it under the plastic before stitching. If you do this, you can stitch down all 4 sides of the plastic and enclose the information.) Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and the end. Sew very close to the edge of the plastic. See the picture below? IT IS WRONG! YOU MUST HAVE THE TAG OPEN AND FLAT WHEN YOU ATTACH THE PLASTIC PROTECTOR!
Can you tell I had to rip apart my example!?!?!

Make the strap
Press the strap fabric in half lengthwise. Open it up and using the center press mark as your guide, fold in both sides to meet the center. Press and then fold in half along the original press line.

Switch to your zipper foot. First sew the strap along the open edged. Then sew the other side. It just looks better.

Attach the Strap

Fold the luggage tag, right sides together, along the fold where the two pieces of interfacing meet. Pin the strap on the inside, along the blunt tip with the edge of the strap at the edge of the tip.

Match the sides and pin. Using a ¼” seam, sew around all the sides making sure to leave an opening to turn the tag. When sewing the blunt tip end, be sure to pivot and keep the tip squared off. Also, I always go back and forth when crossing the strap to reinforce the stitching. (That is, I go across the short area where the strap is, backstitch back across and then go forward again and continue on with my seaming)

Trim the corners and turn the tag right side out. I use a chop stick to poke out the corners.

*You see where I have the opening for turning? I find it works best there and it is where I always place it.

Tuck in the unfinished edges where you turned the tag. Press. DO NOT PRESS OVER THE VINYL/PLASTIC!

Using the zipper foot and working close to the edge, top stitch all sides.

Making the closure
Along the short end, mark a line 1” down and approximately ½” in on each side. Following your machines’ directions, make a button hole (YES! A buttonhole!) along this line. My machine has a buttonhole foot along with the settings for an automatic buttonhole or a manual buttonhole. I needed to use the manual setting. (Don’t be scared off here because of the buttonhole. You just need to have a finished opening to close the tag. It doesn't need to be perfect or beautiful! I always have trouble with my buttonhole but end up with a reasonably good looking opening. )

Use your seam ripper and open the very large buttonhole! At this point take a few minutes to trim the edges of the buttonhole. I always use a marker to color the edges where the interfacing shows.

Write your information on a piece of paper and insert it in the plastic ………and ….

………………..Insert the strap into the buttonhole ………………………..

…..VIOLA’! You have a luggage tag ready for vacation!


Tracey in CT said...

Thanks for this tutorial, Morah!
These look like they will make great gifts!

Beth said...

Thank you SO much! Guess where we are going in 2 weeks? You guessed it! : VACATION! Time for me to try this out PRONTO...I will send you a picture when I do...

Norma said...

This is great! I have been telling my kids how it would be so easy to tell your luggage as it came down the turntable if we made these out of bright fabric. So, add another thing to the to do list!

Pam said...

I love your tutorial. I must be a little slow because I don't understand how the tag is attached to the luggage. The strap goes through the buttonhole but then what? What actually secures the tag to the bag? I've re-read the tutorial but it still isn't clear. Anyone who can clarify---please respond here or to my email (hellopf@yahoo.com). I want to make some of these---I made one but, until the attachment issue is clear, I don't want to make another. THANKS!

Anonymous said...

Morah, your luggage tag pattern is wonderful! I would love to make a bunch and give them to the local animal shelter to sell at their annual bazaar fundraiser. Not only are they great luggage tags, but they also make great pet carrier tags. Would that be okay with you? If so, how would you like to be credited - by your blogsite, your name?
- Deborah in Virginia

Shasta Matova said...

Morah, I just made one of these luggage tags. thanks for the great directions. I'll be posting it on my blog tomorrow probably.

Unknown said...

I liked too much this blog,is very useful, specially because i going to travel frequently now and i want to get a comfortable luggage. I think all this information will be helpful.
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Unknown said...

I must to prepare my luggage because I´ll go to Costa Rica, there I found a house through costa rica homes for sale and I can´t wait more time to go there. But I never went before. So is important to me to know everything, like peoples, transportation, climate. But the most important thing is, I am very happy.

Anonymous said...

Very clear instruction on how to make it. I'll make one based on your tutorial. Thanks.

Peggy said...

Thanks for the pattern. Much better than me trying to reinvent the wheel. I'm making scrappy pieced tags to use as door prizes for our up coming quilt retreat. I'll try to get a picture when I have them all done.

Corey said...

Thank you for this tutorial - I made one today and my daughter loves it. :)


Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this post I also tell you Having an alternate phone number, such as a voice mail line or someone you can trust to receive messages for you is a good option if you will be staying at more than one accommodation during your trip. Include the area code and phone number, as well as the country code if you will be traveling internationally.Plastic Luggage Tags

Unknown said...

Help full and impressive information you share with us i so much appreciate that i also share with you

When you pack

Put your contact details and itinerary inside your luggage, so you can still be located if external tags are lost and your luggage is opened for inspection.

Tag your bags

Ensure all items have clear, sturdy luggage tags that won't tear off. Record your phone numbers for both home and destination. Some travellers prefer to list their office address to avoid suggesting their home is vacant.

Make your bags stand out

A brightly coloured bag, luggage tag or strap reduces the risk of your luggage being mistakenly claimed by another passenger on arrival.

Locks and straps

Locks and straps provide a deterrent to theft, but remember some destinations like the US only allow TSA-approved locks that can be opened by customs inspectors.

Plastic Luggage Tags

ShereeSews said...

Thanks for sharing a wonderful post about fabric tags. I have listed you on my blog related to sewing fabric postcards and tags.



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