sewing 101: luggage tags

It’s summertime, and the sewing is easy! Chances are, you’re not in the mood to lock yourself inside this month to work on a complicated sewing project, but if you’re looking for some instant crafty gratification to whip up on your way out the door to vacation, this luggage tag is just the thing. You can sew one in an hour or so, and then head off to wherever you’re going knowing your suitcase will be joining you on the other side. (These are great hostess gifts, too, so make extras if you’re vacationing in someone’s home.) Let’s get started! — Brett Bara

Read the full how-to after the jump!


  • two 5-inch squares of a medium-weight fabric
  • two 5-inch squares of heavy-weight fusible interfacing
  • one 3 1/2″ square of clear vinyl
  • ribbon or cord, about 10″
  • thread to match your fabric
  • straight pins
  • scissors
  • tissue paper
  • sewing machine
  • iron


1. Fuse the interfacing:

With a hot iron, fuse each piece of interfacing to the wrong side of each fabric square.

2. Sew the squares:

Pin the two pieces of fabric together, and sew around all four sides using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Leave an opening on one side as shown.

Trim the fabric from the point of each corner, and then turn the piece right side out, carefully working through the opening you left in the stitching.

Iron the piece flat, turning under the raw edges at the opening.

3. Insert the cord:

Cut a piece of ribbon or cord a little more than twice the length of your square.

Insert both ends into the opening on the square, sandwiching it between both layers.

Sew along that edge of the square, about 1/3″ from the edge of the fabric (this will close the opening and hold the cord in place).

4. Attach the vinyl window:

Leaving the needle in the fabric at the spot where you finished sewing the first edge, pivot the fabric and get ready to sew down the next edge — but first, place your vinyl piece over the fabric (you will now be sewing the vinyl in place, along the next three edges).

Since your sewing machine can’t glide over the sticky vinyl, place a strip of tissue paper over the vinyl before you begin sewing.

Pivot at each corner, placing tissue paper along each of the three edges. Stop sewing when you reach the point where you began sewing the first edge, making a complete square of stitching all around the tag with the vinyl attached along three sides.

This is how it will look when you’re done. Now, gently tear away the tissue paper and discard it.

Slide a card with your info into the pocket, and you’re done! (Note: If you know that your contact info won’t change, you can stitch the vinyl around all four sides, making your contact info even more secure.)

Bon voyage!

  1. Emily says:

    This is a cute idea, but I think I’ll resize the tage so that I can insert a business card in the slot. That way people can stillc ontact me but they won’t know where I live and that I’m on vacation!

  2. Alison says:

    Very cute and looks easy. Thanks for the step-by-step, and such clear pictures.

  3. Theresa says:

    This is a great gift idea! Where do you buy that vinyl? Is it available in regular fabric stores?

  4. Tina Crawford says:

    LOVE this idea. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Peaches says:

    Love the stripes and gold lame together –tres snazzy! The 8675309 is not lost on me. Let’s hope Jenny doesn’t lose her luggage ;)

  6. jantzie says:

    @Peaches Yes! Jenny, Jenny. So funny. :)

  7. Maggie says:

    Especially helpful if you make the vinyl piece the same size as your business card – then all of your contact info is already together!
    I might have to do this for fun. You can never have too many luggage tags!

  8. Too cute! This would be great to use as a name tag on a gift. Then the tag would be a part of the gift too!

  9. Brett Bara says:

    Theresa – yep, you can buy this type of vinyl at a fabric store, it’s sold by the yard.

    Brett :)

  10. Van says:

    Thank you for the tip on the tissue paper! I once tried to sew vinyl without tissue, and it did not turn out well.. =[

    Great project!

  11. Otavio Matias says:

    I loved the tutorial! Just a doubt: do you actually sew over the vynil? Do you need to change the sewing needle for that?

  12. This is a great gift idea. Especially for newlyweds! Thanks for sharing.

  13. joanie says:

    really neat project to make to put-INSIDE- school childrens backpack with whatever info you want in case backpcks get lost. easy to follow tutorial-thanks

  14. Deepa says:

    Love this idea… and that pincushion too! I grew up in the Philippines and all of my aunts who sewed had a pincushion like that. Brings back memories!

  15. Aury says:

    Very cute idea! Also love the bag itself, could you share where it’s from?

  16. Fun fast and easy! Great project! Thank You!

  17. andrea says:

    the bag is great! (the idea too!)
    from where it is?

  18. Julie says:

    Brilliant idea – thank you :-)

  19. This is such a good idea! I wonder how long it would take to make 45 of these for my wedding favors…

  20. jacquie says:

    So cute! I need to get out my sewing machine! I would have pushed the end of a pencil into the corners to square them up a little, but it’s just a preference.

    Vicky- believe in yourself and those wedding favors! You might hate yourself when you’re about halfway through, but it would totally be worth it. Useful, thoughtful wedding favors bring that wonderful memory back again, and again, and again.

  21. Callie says:

    Where do you get that amazing gold ribbon??

  22. HaniBunny says:

    Hi! what is the gauge of the vinyl that you used? Thanks!

  23. Lauren says:

    Another idea if you don’t go out and buy vinyl is to use the vinyl found in bags that house your sheets, mattress covers, etc. They’re great to save for small projects like this where you don’t need a yard. Also in various thicknesses so you can pick what you feel comfortable sewing with.

  24. Carol says:

    I prefer to have the ribbon ends outward, sewing the fold of the ribbon in the seam. That way I can tie it snugly to the suitcase handle avoiding having it get snagged on baggage handling equipment.

  25. Kathy says:

    Yes, I’ve used packaging from sheets/pillowcases etc for luggage tags in the past. Those plastic packages also make good storage solutions for small projects. Pieces, pattern etc, label in the pocket that is always on those.

  26. Karen says:

    This is great. I’m going to make a bunch in pink ribbon fabric for favors for a breast cancer supper sponsored by our VFW. Last year we had 100, so I better get sewing. PS hobby Lobby has 3 different weights of plastic and the most expensive is 4.99 per yd and 54″ wide so can make lots cheaply

  27. Nancy Van Patten says:

    This is a great idea! I now live in Costa Rica and would like to give our many guests a fun little gift….this is just perfect!!!

  28. ShereeSews says:

    Thanks for such a detailed tutorial. I really enjoyed it and am sure many others are too. I have listed you on my blog related to sewing fabric postcards. ShereeSews in Michigan


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