Like most American families, our lives are pretty busy around the Pink Toe home.  Because of that, whether or not my kids will ride the bus home or be picked up by moi changes day to day, and sometimes my youngest gets confused once she’s at school.  Then she gets anxious.  Then I get called by the school secretary–who does not need to be bothered with this all the time.

Sooo, I’ve written notes.  I tell everyone what’s what before they leave for the morning.  But the system still fails every once in awhile.  Then I thought up the idea of a quick, visual reminder for her backpack.  One that she can check really quick at any time during the day to be reassured what the plan is.  I ran across some luggage tags at Target that had the look I wanted, but to change out the note each day required a bit of hassle because of the way it attaches.

And then there’s that voice in my head: I can make THAT. It is truly a sickness, people.  Because once it comes down to actually making the item the voice is talking about, I sometimes falter.  So on the last day of winter break, after lots of procrastinating, I sat down at my sewing machine, because I was not going to get another call from the school secretary.  This one’s for you, Lyndy.

Pink luggage tag for backpack reminders


  • fabric scrap
  • stiff interfacing or thin cardboard (like a cereal box) scrap.  I used Pellon Peltex 72F double sided fusible interfacing
  • medium weight fusible interfacing scrap
  • scrap of vinyl (I used the container that sheets come zippered up in)
  • ribbon, shoe lace, or more scrap material to make something to hang the tag with
  • snap, velcro, button or skip this and tie the tag on with the ribbon, shoe lace, etc.

Simple luggage tag tutorial instructions:

1) Draw 4 circles of whatever size you want the tag to be on your fabric.  I used a cup I had in my sewing room that is 4.25″ across.  I wanted room to write.  Also cut circles in your stiff interfacing/cardboard, medium interfacing, and vinyl.

Using a mug to cut out the luggage tag circles

Free vinyl from a sheet set packaging

Free source of vinyl!

2) Attach your stiff interfacing/cardboard to two of your circles, making sure that right sides are out.  Mine was fusible, but I think you could stitch cardboard into the center (what I planned to do until I remembered I had the Peltex).  I would just zigzag right on the edges.  Maybe cut off a little from the cardboard so it is just slightly smaller than your fabric circles so you can’t see it after stitching.

Stiff interfacing attached to luggage tag

3) Attach the medium weight fusible interfacing the the other two circles, right sides out.

4) Using another smaller circle, trace it in the center of the medium weight interfacing circles.  Using a close stitch zigzag, stitch right on the line your just drew.  I made my zigzag width smaller than the default also–on my machine it is a 2.5 out of 5.

Front of the tag, zigzag stitched and cut out

Front of the tag, zigzagged and cut out.

5) Cut out the inside of the circle you just stitched, cutting right up to the stitching.

6) Stitch the vinyl circle onto the back of this piece.  Use a longer stitch because vinyl isn’t fabric (see all you learn here?!).  If the stitching holes are close together, the vinyl might just rip out.

Vinyl from a sheet set package sewn into luggage tag

If you look close you will see the stitching just outside of the zigzag stitching.

6.5) Now zigzag the outside edges all together. (Forgot this step and caught it when I was reading over the post later in the day that it was published).

7) Sew your ribbon, shoe lace, or whatever you are using for the hanging part onto the inside of the stiff interfacing piece.  Make sure you stitch lower down so you won’t see the stitching once it is all assembled.

Reinforcing the ribbon strap for luggage tag

8) Finish the ends of your hanging piece.  I used ribbon, so I just applied some Fray Check.

9) I used a snap closure because I thought velcro would pull off easier when we didn’t want it to.  I reinforced the ribbon with medium fusible interfacing for the snap parts.

Velcro attached to luggage tag ribbon strap

10)  Attach your hanging parts of choice.  I have a Snap Setter from when I made some cloth diapers way back when.  I think you can set snaps with something from JoAnn Fabrics, but I don’t have experience with that.  Anyone else know??  A button would also be a durable, hard-to-knock-off choice.

SnapSetter snap tool

11)  Mark where you need to stop sewing your outside seam to attach the front and back pieces.  This will need to be as wide as your inner circle, so that your note/info can slide in easily and fills the entire vinyl area.  Mine is about 2.5″ across.  Start sewing (reinforce this seam start) at one mark and continue around the outside to the other mark (reinforce the seam end too) using a straight stitch.

pink flowered luggage tag

Click on the picture to enlarge. You can see where the stitching starts and stops around the outside of the tag so that the message can be inserted into it.

12)  All done!  If you have a child that can’t read yet, you might just print out a picture of a bus and another of however they are getting home (you, babysitter, etc.) and use that as their cue.

As always, I’d love to see your finished product if you use this tutorial!

This post is linked to:

Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk Interiors