Add Some Class With a Purse Label

how to learn metal tag purse label tutorial vinyl

Many bags in the retail market, especially designer bags, have a label affixed to them. Getting customized labels printed can be costly, There are lots of preprinted products with "handmade" or "made in _____", or a variety of other terms. Adding these to our bags proudly lets the world know that thought, love, sweat, maybe tears and (maybe even blood) went into the item. I've seen metal, wood, leather, and plastic. Attachment methods include prongs, holes with screws, hanging by a chain or as a zipper pull. I have also seen leather tags to be sewn-in by hand. 

Patricia has added metal purse labels to several of the sample bags. On the Alyssa Hip Bag, it is located beneath the flap and applied directly to the cork.

The bag shown below has the label applied to a piece of vinyl and then added to the bag, placed between the strap connectors and centered above a pocket.

Adding purse labels to your bags is simple and doesn't require special hardware. However, many of them don't come with instructions, and there are a few tips to making sure they are applied correctly.

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 tag. But you do want it to enhance your design, not detract. A tag applied crookedly, too close to the edge, top, or a strap can really affect the overall look of the finished bag. Generally, the tag will be added after interfacing the exterior. 

The tags have two prongs that extend from the back of the tag face, to be folded over the back washer. For determining position, it may be helpful to make a template the size of the tag for moving around on the bag to see where it works the best and not bend the prongs. Take the time to measure, not just eyeball, and mark both length and width. 

Interfacing and Marking:

After determining location, you will need to apply a piece of stabilizer to the back of your fabric. Fleece, 808/809 Decor Bond, Peltex or felt will help keep the prongs tighter and prevent wear on the fabric. We generally apply a 2 inch square so that there is 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 tag. Mark these on your fabric. In the picture below, Patricia is using a piece of vinyl behind her tag as a design choice. She carefully centered the washer plate for marking the prongs so the label will be centered on the vinyl. Note: She carefully cut her vinyl with a rotary cutter and applied Edge Kote to the edges.

She then top-stitches around the vinyl to secure in place, verifying that it was centered and level first.

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 back the prongs.


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 this bag, Patricia installed the purse label after the pocket piece was interfaced and before continuing with the pocket construction and installation. In placing the label, she took into consideration the seam allowance and the curvature of the bag when it is filled, and made sure it would be centered between the strap connectors. 

And you're all done! Admire your label and proudly show off your handmade bag!

Want more articles like this? Check out the Learning Library.

Whether you are a beginner or an expert bag maker, we'd love to have you join our Facebook Pattern Group. Ask questions, give guidance and encouragement, share your makes. Patricia is always quick to answer questions, and loves your feedback. 

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