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What you Need to Know About Care Labels!

Whitney Anderson


Hey friends!

I wanted to share some information about labeling handmade goods that are made to be sold. If you knit, crochet, sew, or otherwise create items from textiles and/or fibers, I’m talkin to you!

What this blog covers:

  • What is the TFPIA?
  • Where can you find the FTC’s requirements for labeling?
  • Why I will always label my handmade things.
  • Where I get my brand labels.
  • How I create my care labels.
  • Freebie!

What is the TFPIA?

In the US, there is an act that requires most products that are made from textiles and wool to be labeled. Enacted initially in 1960 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (TFPIA) was created to prevent manufacturers from misleading consumers about the fiber contents of their products. The most recent amendment was in 2014 and it is much more up-to-date with the business practices of today.

Where can you find the FTC’s requirements for labeling?

Rather than explain the requirements away, I will direct you to the FTC’s business guide which breaks down the confusing legal jargon that is within the actual TFPIA document. There is a lot of information, but this is the best place to get it since it’s straight from the source, and comprehensive. (It will also be updated when/if the laws change.) There are links at the top of the page to help with ease of navigation through to main topics.

Why I will always label my handmade things.

There is talk that this act will be rescinded, but even if it goes away, I believe there is value in adding your brand label and providing care instructions to your customers. My top three reasons why I will continue to label even when it isn’t required:

  1. Brand labels mark your item as “made by you.” If your customer gifts the item away or donates it, the recipient will know who made it. In this tech savvy age, they may look you up and become a new customer!
  2. Care labels tell the consumer how to care for their product in the best way. Having a long-lasting item due to proper care reduces the likelihood that the item will end up ruined and in a landfill.
  3. Professionalism. Both the brand label and the care label together create a professional touch to your handmade items.

Where I got my brand labels.

I purchased my sparkly gold woven labels from Dutch Label Shop on Etsy about 3 years ago. I bought 200 back then, and since I don’t sell my handmade items often, I still have a lot left. Feel free to shop around online to find a company that can suit your needs!

Image of care labels sewn to brand labels.


How I create my care labels.

I create my care labels at home, but you certainly can purchase yours! Especially if you are using products that are made from common fibers such as cotton, acrylic or wool. If you plan to purchase, my best suggestion is to search for “(insert fiber name) care labels” in Google. It can get complicated if you are working with fiber blends. Just be sure that the percentages and care instructions are true for the item(s) you sell.

Image of labels, thread, a sliding cutter, and two beanies, turned inside out to show label placement.


Instructions for Printing Care Labels

  1. Using a word document, create a small paragraph with the following information:
    1. Percentage and Fiber Type
    2. “See Care on Reverse” (since I make them to be folded in half)
    3. Washing Instructions
    4. Drying Instructions
    5. Country of origin
  2. Duplicate the paragraph down and across multiple columns, filling the page and leaving about ½” around each paragraph.
  3. Print the page onto printer fabric. I use “June Tailor Sew-in Colorfast Fabric Sheets.”
  4. Follow the directions to lock in the ink. (Typically, they suggest that you iron the fabric to heat set the ink.)
  5. Use a sliding cutter or paper trimmer to cut the tags. Each tag will have about ¼” of empty space around to allow space for sewing. (You can use scissors, just create straight cutting lines with a ruler and a pencil first)
  6. Peel to remove the paper from the fabric
  7. Fold the care label (if you chose to add the “See Care on Reverse” line) and sew it to your brand label.

Freebie!

Here is the link to download my PDF of acrylic care labels. I use the same format for other fibers, I just change the instructions and fiber content as needed. Print this PDF on printable fabric and follow the steps in the previous section.

I hope you found this blog to be not only informative, but also useful for your business. There are a lot of rules and regulations around business and it’s up to us as business owners to spread knowledge, because this information isn’t always well-known. Also, there’s no way to look something up that you’re unaware of. Small businesses in particular are what make up the US economy, so let’s do our part to keep each other on point!

Let me know in the comments if this was new information to you! Thanks for reading!


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