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How to: make fabric backpack or luggage tags

ID tags- an elusive little essential that becomes easily outdated or thrashed by airport personnel when traveling and can prove to be extremely helpful when finding your specific backpack from among a pile of classmates backpacks on the playground. When my son went to preschool a few years ago, I made a fabric ID tag for his backpack. It has held up so well over the years I thought I’d share a tutorial on how to make one of your very own.

You will need:
2 pieces of fabric 10 in. x 3 in.
1 piece of fabric- 2 1/2 in. x 4 1/2 in.
heat and bond ultra hold or fabric markers
small piece of fabric (to be cut up into letters)
small piece of velcro
1 button

Step 1: Follow the instructions for the Heat and Bond which go like this: Cut out a piece of H&B to match the piece of fabric you’re working with.

Step 2: With the backside of the lettering fabric and the bumpy adhesive side of the H&B facing each other, iron quickly into place. Draw with pencil or freehand cut out the letters that you need. Tip: Remember to draw (your letter plan) on the fabric side so your letters aren’t backwards when you cut them out.

Step 3: Peel off the paper, the adhesive will stay in place on the backside of the letters. If you have letters like ‘o’ where the middle needs to be cut out, cut the middle out after the paper has been removed, it’s much easier that way.

Step 4: When the letters are as you want them to look, fold over the tag to make sure they all fit on one side. When everything looks good, iron the letters into place.

Step 5: The Ultrahold H&B is meant to hold without any top stitching, but I stitched over the letters just in case.

Even the backside looks good. Hint: For a more subtle look when creating the name, use only top stitching or embroidery to write the name.

Hint: Another idea to save time or if you don’t have any Heat and Bond handy, just use a tight zig zag stitch to create a name or symbol (to keep information private).

Hint: If tiny, accurate stitching makes you start to sweat, don’t fear… just whip out the fabric pens and write the name right onto the fabric. Also, if you are going to add trim details (pictured) now is the time to do so.

Step 6: With the piece of fabric that will be your lining, sew the piece of velcro into place at either end, leaving a seam allowance for later.

Step 7: Make the loop following the steps pictured above. If you aren’t comfortable making a buttonhole, you can reinforce a slit (cut with scissors) with a tight, wide zig zag stitch on either end of the buttonhole.

Step 8: Layer together all of the right sides of the tag. Place the loop on the non-name end to have the loop button on top (backpack tag), place the loop on the worded end to have to loop button on the underneath side (luggage tag). The reason to put the button on the back of a luggage tag would be to avoid it getting damaged, ripped off, or caught on anything when it’s being loaded onto a plane.

Step 9: Sew all the layers together, leaving an opening about 2 1/2 in., for pulling the tag right-side out. Tip: trim the points off the corners so the finished corners are easier to square up after it’s been turned right side out.

Step 10: Pull the tag right side out, through the opening.

Step 11: Iron the tag flat and top stitch the perimeter.

Step 12: Sew the button into place.

Step 13: Fold the tag over onto itself, velcro sides meeting up, and stitch all the way around the 3 sides, leaving an opening on the loop/velcro side.

You are finished! Fill the pocket with a piece of paper or cardstock with all of the important information associated with your bag. Change card information as needed. Anticipating a flood? Place your information in a tiny ziploc bag (or laminate) before placing it in the tag.

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