Day Ten: Fabric Luggage Tags

My husband has begun to travel a lot for business. Just recently, he returned from a trip to London where he enjoyed the sights, smells, and tastes of Great Britain. There was one thing he didn’t enjoy as much however: having to patiently convince the passengers on his flight that his bag was indeed his.

Apparently, this happens all the time to Scott. He stands by the luggage carousel looking for his bag and before he can grab it, someone else has swooped in to claim it as their own. “That’s my bag,” he’ll begin. “No, I have a blue bag!” comes the reply. “The tag has my name on it,” replies Scott with the patience of a parent talking to a toddler. “But my bag is blue!” comes the reply.

And on it goes, until Scott reveals what is stowed in a small outside pocket—an innocuous item that only he could have placed there. It’s strange, but it’s his pocketed item that finally convinces his fellow traveler to let go of Scott's suitcase and come back to reality.

For Day 10 of my 12 Days of Christmas series, I’m making my husband a set of distinctive luggage tags. Do I think a simple tag will be enough to convince Scott's fellow travelers to leave his luggage alone? Frankly, no. But the personalized tag will be one more piece of armor in the Scott's never-ending battle of “That’s mine, let go.”

For one luggage tag you’ll need:

  • Tag Body: One 5”x3-3/4” rectangle, one 4”x4” square, and one 1-1/2”x4” rectangle
  • Accent strip: Two 3/4”x3-1/2” rectangles, two 5”x3/4” rectangles, one 1”x4” rectangle
  • Strap: One 1-1/2”x13” strip
  • Thin upholstery vinyl scrap: One 3-3/4”x2-1/2” rectangle
Long ago, I purchased some thin upholstery vinyl at Joanne’s in their home-dec department. I keep the vinyl on-hand to use in testing out quilting patterns (simply overlay your quilt with the vinyl and mark the quilting pattern using a dry-erase marker) and for marking applique placement for applique blocks (trace the applique placement diagram from your pattern onto the vinyl using a Sharpie Oil Based marker). I recommend buying more than a scrap of vinyl and keeping some on hand—it’s ever so useful!

Sew the strap

Fold the 1-1/2”x13” strip in half lengthwise WST (wrong sides together) and press. Sew along the 13” length. Turn right side out and press.

If you want, sew down the middle of the strap several times to add stiffness and structure.

Sew the Tag Front

Sew the 3/4”x3-1/2” Accent rectangles on either side of the Tag Body 5”x3-3/4” rectangle. Press towards the Tag Body rectangle.

Sew the two 5”x3/4” rectangles to either side of the Tag Front. Press toward the Tag Body.

Sew vinyl to the Tag Front

Center the vinyl rectangle on the Tag Front. Stitch very close to the edge on three sides. Do not stitch on one of the short 2-1/2” sides. That way, you’ll be able to slip your business card in and use it to identify your luggage to stubborn luggage thieves. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Attach the strap

Form a loop with the strap. Lay the ends of the strap on the back side of the Tag front, along the side with the vinyl opening. The loop should point towards the center of the Tag Front.

Sew, running your stitches back and forth over the strap ends to secure them. Keep your stitches within the 1/4” seam allowance so they won’t show later on.

Sew the Tag Back

Sew the 4”x4” Tag Body square to one side of the 1”x4” Accent rectangle. Press towards the Tag Body.

Sew the 1-1/2”x4” rectangle to the other side of the Accent rectangle. Press towards the Tag Body.

Sew the luggage tag together

Layer the top face up and the back with its Accent strip face down. Place the Accent strip at the end furthest from the strap end. Pin.

Sew around the perimeter, leaving a gap for turning. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Trim corners. Turn right side out.

Turn under the seam allowance at the gap and press, being careful not to touch the iron to the vinyl.



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