Friday, March 27, 2015

DIY: Make Your Own Luggage Tags (link to PDF pattern!)

My friends were planning a party for a group of young women. The theme was "EMBARK" and they didn't know what to give the girls as a take home gift. I offhandedly mentioned that luggage tags would be cool because that's what you use when you "embark" on a trip. A few minutes later, I found myself volunteering to sew some by copying some cute ones we saw online. After I made them, I realized that they could be used as more than just a tag to hook to your suitcase. You can use them as a bookmark (of course, books were the first thing that came to mind - we are Delicious Reads after all), labels for toy bins or organizational tags for your pantry, business card holders, or even a cute little tag to add to your Easter basket. The possibilities are endless!

Materials Needed:
1. Fabric - I like to use contrasting patterns - scraps work well) & Thread
2. Clear vinyl - for the window.
3. Interfacing - this is definitely necessary if your fabric is thin. I used medium thickness, one-sided iron-on interfacing (found at any fabric store - even at Walmart). 

STEP 1: Print & cut out your pattern. You can make your own shape or use this fabulous one I found from Singer.

Link to pattern: Luggage Tags Pattern PDF
STEP 2: Lay pattern on fabric, interfacing, and vinyl and cut out. The pattern tells you which piece should be cut out of what and how many to cut. 
*Note: Pattern piece C says to cut (2) of the interfacing. My fabric was a little thicker so I only cut one of the interfacing. The pattern did not include a piece for the tab or fabric loop. I made my own that is 12" x 2" (see below).
  1. Cut 2 of main tag fabric from pattern piece A. 
  2. Cut 1 of pocket fabric from pattern piece B. 
  3. Cut 1 of interfacing from pattern piece C. 
  4. Cut 1 of interfacing from pattern piece D. 
  5. Cut 1 of clear vinyl from pattern piece E
  6. Cut 1 strip of fabric 2" x 12" for the loop (you could use ribbon or bias tape for this)
Delicious Read do it yourself
Use your fabric scraps or even old clothing for your tag!

Delicious Reads
*Save time by tracing each pattern piece onto the fabric, vinyl, and interfacing instead of pinning it.

STEP 3: Fuse (iron) the interfacing to the corresponding fabric piece.

iron on interfacing

STEP 4: Clip inside corners of pocket fabric and press seam allowances of pocket fabric to wrong/interfaced side using the dashed fold line on the pattern piece as a guide.

Sorry about the use of lots of different fabrics. I took the pictures while making 40 different luggage tags.

STEP 5: Iron the clear vinylFIRST, cover with fabric. The iron will melt the plastic. Ironing the vinyl will sound weird, but believe me, IT IS NECESSARY! The vinyl when it is heated, shrinks slightly (look at my picture on the far left). This isn't a big deal for the vinyl sizing, but if you have already sewed the fabric to the vinyl and then you iron, it pulls on the fabric and looks awful (yeah, I didn't iron the vinyl the first time I did this).

STEP 6: Place the clear vinyl under the pressed pocket fabric and topstitch the vinyl to the wrong side of the pocket at the inside, folded, edge. Use tissue paper or (in my case) scratch paper over the vinyl so it doesn't stick to the base of your sewing machine. 

Do you love the scratch paper I used to keep the vinyl from sticking to the plastic of my sewing machine?

STEP 7: Topstitch along the outside folded edge of one of the short sides of the vinyl/fabric pocket. Remove the tissue paper/scratch paper.

STEP 8: Loop fabric piece (2" x 12") - Press the inside edges of the loop fabric to the center and then fold over and press so that all raw edges are hidden. Topstitch along the edge of the loop fabric piece.

STEP 9: Place the pocket on top of the main tag section (the one without the interfacing), aligning the edges and using the line on the guide pattern piece as a placement guide. 

STEP 10: Stitch along the edge of the interfacing, leaving the bottom edge of the tag open (so that you can turn it right side out afterwards). Trim along the edges of the tag, especially near the corners. 

Leave the bottom open!
STEP 11: Turn right side out and press flat. Be careful with the vinyl. It will melt if the iron touches it. It should be perfect by just ironing from the backside.

Step 12: Fold under the open bottom edge and press the raw edges into the inside of the tag. Top stitch on the bottom edge.

STEP 13: Slide in a card with your information.

Add your business cards.

Use as a bookmark.

Add to your luggage.

I hope you enjoy this fun sewing project. Ready, Set, EMBARK!


New Beginnings Embark
The "take home" luggage tags we used at the New Beginnings activity for the young women.


Becca Coe said...

What's your time estimate for making one of these? Obviously you got faster as you went along, but an average time estimate?

Author Robin King said...

It took me about 45 minutes for the first one. Then I did it assembly line style (cut out everything, ironed everything, and then sewed).I made around 25 of them and I probably spent 10 hours or so over a couple of days' time. They do take time but they were fun to make and share!

Anonymous said...

These are so cute! My husband and I are renewing our vows in Jamaica, and were looking for something cute to send with the travel information. These are perfect!!! Small but manageable project. Can't wait to whip up some of these.

KW said...

these would make great personalised book marks.
Place a picture of someone or a place of importance in the viewing window, or make them seasonal pictures :)

Unknown said...

Hi, What weight of vinyl did you use for the window? Thanks!

Author Robin King said...

You can really use any weight of vinyl, but I would recommend a medium thickness like 8 gauge. I just went to Walmart and got the one that was a medium thickness (I don't even think it said the gauge on it). You can't go wrong with thicker gauge, in fact, it might make the luggage tag stronger, but it isn't necessary. Honestly, I was trying to go the cheapest route and it was around $3-4 for a yard of the medium thickness vinyl. (Also, if you don't have a fabric store or Walmart near you or anything, you could totally use one of the clear plastic table covers they sell or even a clear shower curtain.) Good luck. Feel free to email me with other questions and I'll answer you right away and post the comments here for anyone else:

Unknown said...

Thanks, Robin. I'll go with the 8 gauge. Appreciate your quick response!

Casey said...

Hi there. Thanks for the great pattern! I found step 9's instructions a little vague and because I couldn't tell which side of the fabric was which in the photo, I initially sewed the pieces together wrong.

Basically the two main fabric pieces should be right sides facing, and the window should be sandwiched between so that its wrong side is against the good side of one of the main pieces (i.e. you can see the "pretty" fabric through the clear vinyl) with their bottoms and sides aligned. The hanging loop also gets stuck in the middle of that sandwich, pointing down and in.

MM said...

I couldn't enlarge the pattern, so I don't have a pattern to follow. So if you gave measurements for the pieces it would help a lot. I would really like to make these tags for I have a trip coming up Thanks MM
Feb. 17 20117

Author Robin King said...


You don't need to enlarge the pattern if you use this link and scroll to the last few pages at the bottom and print them just as they are (its a PDF so the sizes should be perfect):

If you can't print it, the pattern piece for the main tag is 3 1/8" wide and 6 1/3" tall. The vinyl is 2 1/2" x 4". The interfacing is 2 3/4' x 6" (which is about the same size as your finished tag). Feel free to resize if you want to make a smaller one. If your printer has the option, you could print the PDF smaller and all the pieces would still work too! Good luck.

Unknown said...

I cannot wait to make these! Our extended family takes a trip together every other Christmas in lieu of exchanging gifts. But I'm going to make one of these for everyone because they are so cute! Also, I have two tips to share because I've used vinyl in other projects. 1) I repurpose vinyl from those packages that linens come in. I've also removed the zippers from them to re-use. 2) Instead of using scrap paper to keep your foot from sticking to the vinyl, you can put a small piece of clear tape on the bottom of your foot - works like a charm! Thanks for the great tutorial and Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

Hi, could we just cut open a ziplock and use it instead of vinyl. I can’t seem to find any and don’t feel like driving far.

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