More than a Nuisance — Clothing Tags

We’ve all had them: tags in the back of a garment that are more of a nuisance than anything else.  Maybe you’ve pulled out your scissors and cut them out; maybe you rolled the dice and tried to rip them out.  I’ll gladly admit that I hate them.  I hate how they scratch against my skin; I hate how they irritate my children’s skin; and I really hate having to put them in the items I sew and sell (because I know your children think they’re a nuisance too).

But thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), I have to pass that nuisance — times two — along to you!  Once again, I’m sure you’re asking, “why?”

These labels allow the buyer to “ascertain” product and source information.  Translation, it’s a way for the buyer and seller to know exactly what materials are used in a specific garment, in case of a future problem/recall.

For a crafter the CPSIA tracking label (required on all items for children under the age of 12) must be permanent and to the “extent practical“.  They must include at minimum the following information:

  • Your company or shop name, or your CPSC’s Small Batch Manufacturers Registration Number.
  • Information on where the item was completed.
  • Contact information, website, or business registered address.
  • The season with year of manufacture (at minimum) or date of completion of the product.
  • A batch number if you make repeats of the designs.

**Small volume manufacturers and crafters may be unlikely to use lot, batch or run
numbers, and, again, the Commission does not interpret Section 103(a) to require them to
create such a system. Nevertheless, reasonable practices should be in place by such
manufacturers to keep records of components used in their products.**

In simple terms, if you already keep records of your materials and sources and you can tell where each material came from, you do not need to use a system of batch numbers.

Along with the CPSIA tags that I’m required to include, manufacturers who create garments, regardless of the age of the intended user, also need to comply with the FTC’s Care Labeling Rule (unless you are lucky enough to fall into the exemption).

An FTC label needs at the very least:

  • Your company’s registered business name, or a brand/label name with Registration Number.
  • Fiber content by percentage.
  • Fiber’s country of origin.
  • Washing and care instructions

If the FTC required information is already found on the CPSIA tracking label, it does not need to be duplicated on the care/content label.

Stitch To Stitch CPSIA & FTC Labels

All this means, is that for every item I sell, I have to permanently affix (i.e. sew) both of these labels into the garment.  It adds a small amount to my production costs and a couple extra minutes to my sewing time.  As much of a nuisance as I think a label might be to the wearer, at the same time I think it makes the finished item look more professional as well.  It also means that I’ve done my part by following the laws to help keep our children safe.

The big question for other small business owners…are you CPSIA and FTC compliant?

2 thoughts on “More than a Nuisance — Clothing Tags

  1. Thanks for posting all this information. I really had no idea that the regulations were so strict. Just because I’m curious, are you sewing both of your tags into the back of every item you make?

    • Where the tags are sewn in, depends on the item I’m making. I typically always sew them into a seam so you can’t see the stitching on the outside of the garment. With skirts and pants I slide them under the elastic casing for the waistband, so when I’m stitching it closed, it secures the tags. Some of the rompers (the ruffle ones) and the peasant tops/dresses that are shirred at the neckline have the tags sewn into/onto a side seam. With many of the dresses I make I sew the tags onto the seam where the bodice and skirt are joined together.

      Make sense?

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