Back in 2019 and just starting out, Kaya Papaya Design was handmade bags only. We purchased satin sew-in tags and were thrilled to be a "brand".
We also spent a lot of time talking about customized purse labels. At that time, it seemed overwhelming to source and we gave up. (We do still use the tags in the sample bags).
Now many bag resources offer a variety of labels with "handmade" or "made in _____", or a variety of other terms. I've seen metal, wood, leather, and plastic. Attachment methods include prongs, holes with screws or rivets, sew-in, hanging by a chain or as a zipper pull.
And sourcing customized labels has become more accessible. Etsy is full of stores selling labels, and Alibaba has some great sources.
Adding these to our bags proudly lets the world know that thought, love, sweat, maybe tears and probably some blood went into the item.
Patricia loves the high-end designer look of bags and adds metal "handmade" labels to her samples. Though it is in fact an easy process, if you rush and just eyeball the placement and slap it on, a crooked label can really detract from the final product. (Cutting those slits isn't easily fixed - I know personally!)
Here on the Alyssa Hip Bag, the label is located beneath the flap and applied directly to the cork.
The Colette Bowler Bag shown below has the label applied between the straps and centered vertically and horizontally on the pocket.
The Busy Sewing Room
Metal labels affixed to the bag come with either prongs or screw holes. This tutorial focuses on purse labels with prongs.
Location and Spacing:
There are no rules for where to put your label. But you do want it to enhance your design, not detract. A label applied crookedly, too close to the bottom edge, the top, or a strap can really affect the overall look of the finished bag. Generally, the label will be added after interfacing the exterior.
The labels have two prongs that extend from the back of the label face, to be folded over the back washer.
For determining position, it may be helpful to make a template the size of the label. This allows you to look at different areas without having to bend the prongs.
Take the time to measure, not just eyeball, and mark both the length and width. Keep in mind how the bag will look when filled, as it may roll towards the bottom or top.
Interfacing and Marking:
After determining the location, apply a piece of stabilizer to the back of the fabric. Fleece, 808/809 Decor Bond, Peltex or felt will help keep the prongs tighter and prevent wear on the fabric. A two inch square allows room when cutting slits for the prongs. (This picture is for a magnetic snap, which is backed the same way.).
Determine which slits need to be marked, depending on the prong placement on your label. Mark these on your fabric. In the picture below, Patricia used a piece of vinyl behind her label as a design choice. This also adds extra stability. She used the vinyl as a template for placement.
Cutting the vinyl with a rotary cutter gives a crisp edge that is then finished with Edge Kote. The washer plate is centered over the right side of the vinyl and the proper openings are marked. (This is apparently a generic plate - many labels come with the two slits only).
She then top-stitched around the vinyl to secure in place, verifying that it was centered and level first. A small piece of DST between the prong placement may help with holding in place as you stitch.
To cut through the prong markings, use a seam ripper, a buttonhole punch, or an awl or leather punch (particularly on vinyl or faux leather). Cut carefully, as you do not want the prong slits too long. You will be going through 2 or more layers of materials, so a very sharp object is best for a clean cut. Don't stab your fingers!
Insert and Secure:
Insert the prongs through the slits. If you are using a cotton or canvas, Fray Check applied to the front side of the slits is helpful. Be careful not to spread beyond the label as it will show on your fabric. Fold the prongs back to the outside or fold in toward the middle if you prefer.
A piece of interfacing, or even duct tape, applied over the prongs will help keep them snug and prevent the prongs from wearing against your fabric on the inside.
On The Laila Weekender, Becca Olson of Turtle Trax Too applied her label to the trolley sleeve. This is a great location as she was able to apply the label before adding the sleeve, which was a small piece of fabric rather than the entire bag front and easily centered between the strap locations.
Applying the label when preparing the pieces before construction helps ensure that it is centered and secured properly.
On this Penelope Crossbody Bag, Patricia applied the label directly to the vinyl, below the clasp, and not too close to the bottom. In placing it, she made allowance for the bag to be filled and prevent the label from rolling to the bottom and not being seen (or unattractive!).
Applying a label to your bag becomes a focal point. Think about the positioning and making it secure. If you accidentally place your label in a wonky fashion, try adding a piece of vinyl or other fabric to the back and reposition. The vinyl will cover up a (my!) mistake and make your label stand out!
Now proudly proclaim "I made this bag!"
Like the bags shown?