Monday, January 7, 2013

Luggage Tags Are EASY!

We're always trying to distinguish our black suitcase from all the other black suitcases on the luggage ramp!  I've had some cute plastic ones which the baggage handlers have ripped off (accidentally or literally stolen).  This tag was developed to open easily to insert your information but once it's on your suitcase it is secure.

It's easy to make and only takes a little fabric!

You can even use patchwork scraps or a contrasting fabric for the Back!!

If you'd like a printable PDF of this pattern, please see my Etsy Page.

  • fat quarter (18" x 22")
    • or 1/8 yard fabric 
    • or  2 fat eighths (9" x 22" each) 
    • or scraps (see cutting below)
  • 2.5" x 4" piece of clear vinyl
  • 1/8 yard of heavyweight fusible interfacing (I like Decor Bond but any interfacing will do!)*
  • 3.5" x 5.5" -cut 4 from fabric (2 for front, 2 for back)
  • 2" x 12" -cut 1 from fabric (strap)
  • 3" x 5" -cut 4 from interfacing
  • 2.5" x 4" -cut 1 from clear vinyl
*A Note About Interfacing:
I like to use heavyweight interfacing (Pellon Decor Bond) because it makes a durable tag.  Remember you will be stitching through several layers of fabric and interfacing (6 layers at the end).  I recommend using a Jeans/Denim (Sharp) needle and stitch slowly!  If your sewing machine can't take it, just use a lighter weight interfacing and it should be fine.  If you're using a heavier, upholstery-weight fabric, a lighter interfacing will work.

1) Iron interfacing onto each fabric piece (except strap), centering so there is approximately a 1/4" border all around.  I like to press from the right side of the fabric - that way I don't need a pressing cloth and I can use a hot iron for good adhesion.  If your fabric wrinkles, your iron is too hot.  Turn it down, let it cool, and press again to flatten.

Make Front
2) Place 2 fabric pieces right sides together and pin.  Sew all the way around using a 1/4" seam.

3) Cut corners diagonally.

 4) Mark Window: Make a pencil line 1" from one long edge.

Make a pencil line 1" from one end and 1" from other long edge.

 Make a pencil line 1.25" from the other end.  This is where the buttonhole will be!

Join corners of the box you made to make an "X" in the center of the tag front.

5) Make Window Opening: Cut on marked line through BOTH layers!

Fold back (4) triangle-shaped pieces on one side, press well.

Turn front over and repeat.  Trim points off to leave about 1/4 - 3/8" seam allowance.

Turn right side out, pushing corners out well with a point-turner or chopstick.

Press well, making sure window opening seam allowances stay turned to inside.  Place warm tag front under an acrylic ruler while it cools.

6) Finish Window: Slide vinyl into the Luggage Tag Front. Your vinyl will be sandwiched between the  fabric pieces.  If you can't find clear vinyl, you can leave this step out, but the card might get wet!
Notice that when I cut the vinyl, I leave the paper on until I get to this step.  Because I have lost more pieces of vinyl - they're clear and hard to see if misplaced!!

Slide vinyl away from the wider end.  The vinyl piece you cut should have only a little leeway to move.

Stitch around the window opening about 1/8" from edge, making sure to catch the folded edge on both sides.  Use a slightly longer (approximately 8 stitches per inch) stitch length. Backtack (stitch back and forth) well at end, where you meet your previous stitching.

7) Make buttonhole: Mark a 1" buttonhole centered on end that is wider.  The buttonhole ends will be about 1" from edges.

A Note About Buttonholes - If you have trouble with your buttonholes looking "ragged", just stitch it TWICE, stitching same length buttonhole the second time on top of the first one.  It will appear much neater. Stitch slowly, as you are stitching 2 layers of fabric and 2 layers of interfacing. My Bernina has a special Buttonhole Foot that stitches the same size over and over - helpful when I'm making lots of Luggage Tags!

I like to use a Buttonhole Cutter to make the opening in the buttonhole.  If you use a seam ripper, be careful of the ends!!  And remember, Fray Check is your friend, if you need to "correct" a few threads that may have gotten cut!

Make Back
8) Mark Strap slit in one Back fabric piece by making a 1/2" wide line 3/4" from one end about 1.5" from each side.

Again, I like to cut the slit using my Buttonhole Cutter (it happens to be the exact width needed)!  You HAVE to cut the slit BEFORE sewing the back!

9) Pin Back piece with slit to remaining fabric piece, right sides together.  You will be leaving about a 3" opening on one long side when you stitch.

10) Stitch with 1/4" seam, leaving 3" opening, backtacking well at beginning and end of seam. 

Clip corners and turn right side out through opening.

Tuck in seam allowances at opening to make a straight edge.  Press well.

Make Strap
11) Press Strap: Fold strap in half lengthwise and press well.

Fold one side in to meet crease.  Press well.

Fold other long edge in to meet crease.  Press well.

12) Sew Strap: Stitch 1/8" from edge on each long side of Strap. Press strap and fold in half so raw edges meet to make a loop.

13) Attach Strap: Slide Strap loop raw edges into slit on back.  I like to use my small scissors to tuck it in.  You may need to make the slit a little larger to fit your strap! 

Make sure strap extends approximately 1/2" under the slit.  Pin. You can't see it in this picture, but your strap is now a loop!  The ends of the strap will be sandwiched inside the fabric of the Back.

Stitch on the strap area under the slit in a box shape through all layers for strength. Backtack well where your stitching meets!  

Finish Luggage Tag
14) Place Front (with window) on top of back (with strap side up), inserting strap into buttonhole.

Align edges.

15) Pin, making sure the seam allowances at opening on back are tucked in and pinned well.  This opening will be stitched closed in the next step.You will leave the end with the strap OPEN when stitching!

16) Stitch around three sides about 1/8" - 1/4"  from edge, leaving end with strap open.  Backtack well at beginning and end of seam!  Make sure you are catching the front and back edges and the opening of the back (that you turned through) is stitched closed.


To Add Your Information
Slide Strap out of buttonhole to leave an opening in the end of the Luggage Tag.

Slide in a business card or business-card size piece of cardstock.
Slip Strap through buttonhole to secure.
A business card is 2" x 3.5" I like to put a large name on the side that will show through the window.  Your address and cellphone number can be on the other side.  If your luggage is lost, they will open the tag to find the information but bad guys scoping the airports won't be able to see your home address!!

To Attach to Your Suitcase:

Place loop across your luggage handle.  Slide Tag through loop of strap.  Pull tight!

These make GREAT gifts!

Luggage Tags
How many will you make?
Who will you give them to?
What is the occasion (wedding, Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthday, Bon Voyage)?

Make the perfect purse companion for traveling!  Check out my Etsy Shop.

Adventure Bag

Journey Purse


  1. This is a perfect tutorial! Thank you. I have one done and know I will make more.

  2. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I had been wondering how to get the fabric to look nicely sewn over the vinyl (instead of the vinyl over the fabric). Step 5 must be the best lesson i have learnt in all my sewing experiences :).

  3. Very good tutorial. I have one from Craftsy, and I couldn't figure out which pieces she was talking about. You have done an excellent job. I have been sewing a long time, and I gave up on that one. I am anxious to try yours. Thanks for sharing. One of the things I have picked up from Craftsy is to use a clapper for pressing. What a difference it makes. I had my son make me one since I couldn't find one locally. Love you idea about what to write on the front of the ID tag.

  4. I linked your wonderful tutorial on my blog related to sewing fabric postcards! Thanks ShereeSews

  5. Great idea and tutorial! I made a bunch for gifts. Thanks!

  6. Thanks for a great tutorial! Made one yesterday and will make several more.

  7. I am definitely enjoying your website. You definitely have some great insight and great stories. Best Luggage Straps in 2018

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  9. I'm making a couple as gifts. I've been studying tutorials for a couple of months and of all that I looked at this was definitely one of the easiest to follow, even though it's not in video! Plus I loved how the edges looked in this one!

    Some of the other tips have definitely been priceless too. I was planning on making an info card out of cardstock and your tips are pretty invaluable for this. I think the final project will be one I'm proud to give as gifts and I think my friends will genuinely like them.

    Thank you so much for the tutorial and the tips along the way!! I look forward to making a few extra for myself and my husband!!


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