How to label school uniform

Boy wearing school uniform

The decision of whether or not to insert your little one’s name into their school uniform is one of popular debate. It can sometimes seem like a bit of a privilege - after all, choosing a more permanent labelling method implies the uniform will always belong to your child, and won’t be passed down to a younger sibling or cousin in time. However, for many, adding labels to school clothing helps to ensure your child comes home with their full uniform at the end of each day, as items like cardigans and blazers can easily be lost if not labelled.

Before you start to label there are a few things to consider. First, think about the naming convention you’ll choose. Some parents opt for the child’s first name and surname, others use a first initial and surname, and others look to save money by handing-down uniform to siblings and simply use their surname. In part, this may depend on your child’s classmates and their names - there’s no sense in using just a surname or initial and surname combo if there are others in the class who answer to that name.

The second thing to consider is where you will put the name in the clothes. Some of that decision will be informed by which method you choose to label the clothes, but most clothes now come with a built-in naming pad that is made from a material that is most effective for adhesive labels, or writing names. For sew-in labels, the cuff, collar, washing instruction label or inside pocket are the key areas to consider.

In terms of choosing your method, we hope the guide below helps you to find the right solution for you and your child. Below we look specifically at the clothing aspect of uniform, but don’t forget it’s also important to label your little one’s school shoes.

With a name stamp

A name stamp involves dipping a personalised stamp into ink and stamping the name onto the inside label of the clothing. There are plenty of suppliers to choose from and you can usually customise the stamps for typeface, colour and naming convention. If you enjoy crafts this can be a highly appealing way to while away the time.

If you choose this method, it’s a good idea to remember to check the name each time you wash the clothes to ensure that the ink has not started to fade. If it has, all you need to do is top it up with another stamping session!

With a sew-on label

A sew-on label is a great choice for parents who prefer tradition and nostalgia. It takes a little more effort than the other options, but a whole uniform kit is easily completed in one evening while watching the TV or listening to the radio, and once complete sewn on labels have a satisfying appeal. A slightly quicker way to secure the labels is to sew just the four corners of the label, which will be strong enough to secure it.

An important thing to remember is that sew-on labels can often produce a raised area that may irritate the skin. This is particularly true if your child has sensitive skin or any sensory issues. If this is the case, it may be best to avoid the collar area and sew the label in the side of the clothes, where it’s less likely to cause irritation.

One clear benefit of this method is that it’s relatively simple to change the name label if the item is handed down to a sibling, friend or family member. All you need to do is undo the stitching and the garment is a blank slate once more.

With a fabric pen

One of the simplest ways to add a name to your child’s uniform is to write it in by hand. As a quick and easy method, we expect that quite a lot of parents choose this method, particularly those with larger uniform sets or multiple children to accommodate.

The majority of school uniform garments now come with a purpose-built name label area where you can clearly mark your child’s name in block capitals. By using a fabric pen or a permanent, non-bleed marker such as a Sharpie, you can be sure your child’s name will be clear to see even after months of washing.

As with the stamping option, this ink will eventually fade, so just remember to keep an eye on labels as the clothes go through the wash. When the name becomes indistinct, just mark over it again to refresh the label.

Top tip! If you want to streamline your labelling efforts for uniform and shoes, it’s worth knowing you can also write your child’s name in their shoes using specially designed handwritten shoe labels.

With an iron-on label

Another easy way to label school uniforms is to use iron-on labels. There are many label providers who offer personalisation such as colour, typeface and how you’d like the name displayed.

It is a very simple process to press the iron onto the label and hold it for a few seconds (or as indicated in the manufacturers’ instructions) to make the label stretch and stick to the clothing. With iron-on labels, it’s usually best to iron them onto another label of the clothes for the best traction and longevity. Iron-on labels will peel after a while, so buy them in a larger quantity to account for replacements and keep an eye on them as they come out of the wash. Tumble drying can also interfere with the adhesiveness. Once the label starts to curl or split, simply iron on a new one.