How To Make Patches With Sewing Machine

Gathering Materials

When it comes to creating handmade patches with a sewing machine, gathering the right materials is the first step. Fabric pieces, embroidery backing, an embroidery machine, an embroidery hoop, heavy duty thread and a sharp cutter are essential. Expert sewers suggest selecting colors and textures to match the patch’s background and the project. Additionally, embroidery thread should be chosen depending on the fabric. For added creative details, such as ribbons, buttons and lace, can be used. It’s important that all the materials are kept to one side so they are easy to access.

Designing the Pattern

When it comes to design, the possibilities are endless with patches. From a hand drawn template to a store bought material, it’s essential to have a plan in place. Sewers should also sketch out their ideas before they begin. This will help them work out the measurements and colors of the patch. It’s also a great way to make sure any shapes align correctly. As an added precaution, sewers should use heavyweight paper or board to trace the patch design onto the fabric.

Setting up the Sewing Machine

The next step is to thread the sewing machine with the intended colors of yarn. Once in place, the sewing machine should be tested to ensure the stitches are correct. Sewers should also make sure that the bobbin thread matches the top thread. Those creating detailed and intricate patterns should use a machine embroidery foot, as this keeps the fabric in place and avoids any stitches slipping.

Attaching the Patch to the Embroidery Machine

To finish the patch and ensure the design is correctly stitched, the material should be attached to the embroidery machine’s hoop. Those who use an embroidery machine know how important it is to get the material and hoop tension right. If not, the fabric will move unexpectedly on the machine, leading to uneven stitches. To do this, adjust the hoop accordingly so that the fabric is taught before it is placed into the embroidery machine.

Embroidery the Patch

When the fabric and hoop are in the right place, it’s time to stitch. Different types of embroidery machines require slightly different techniques, so it’s important to follow the instruction manual carefully. Those who have an automated machine should select the pattern and thread color before pressing the start button. Once complete, the hoop and fabric can be taken off the machine and the patch is ready for attaching.

Attaching the Patch

The final step is to attach the patch to the designated item. Sewers can use a needle and thread to sew it directly onto the fabric, use iron-on adhesive or sew-on adhesive. For longer lasting effects, use a zipper foot and heavy duty thread so the stitches line up with the material’s grain. Depending on the patch, sewers should give extra attention to border stitching so that edges are correctly in place.


The last step is to give the patch a final inspection. Sewers should look out for any loose threads, broken stitches and uneven patterns. If the patch is found to be in good condition, the project is complete. Patches can then be shared or worn proudly, showcasing their handmade craftsmanship.

Caring for Patches

If patches are meant to be worn, they will need a few extra steps in regards to care and maintenance. When laundering clothes with patches, hand washing is recommended. This will help to protect the patch from potentially irreversible damage. Alternatively, if machine washing, use the gentle cycle and, for added security, turn the garment inside out. Additionally, sewers are advised to avoid using bleach, any type of fabric softener or the dryer when patch garments are washed.

Repairs and Touchups

Due to constant wear and tear, patches may need a quick touchup every once in awhile. Luckily, it’s easy to put the stitched patterns in place by using a needle and thread. Also, if the patch starts to come off its material, a simple embroidery thread and needle can mend this issue as well. All it takes is a couple of stitches and the patch should be good as new.

Activities with Patches

Creating patches out of fabric and thread can be a fun and productive way to spend downtime. Those with a bit of creativity can turn their patches into art or create unique apparel. Additionally, those who design their own pieces can even start their own businesses and make money on the side. Many sewers also use patches to brighten up pillows and blankets, creating stunning interior design features in the home.

Embroidery Hoop Alternatives

Traditionally, patches require an embroidery hoop to keep the fabric in one place. Nowadays, this process has been simplified due to the availability of alternative materials. Stabilizers, such as tear-away, cut-away and adhesive, can be found in local shops or online. These are inserted below the fabric and can help lessen the hoop’s pressure on the material which will prevent any shifting.

Embellishments for Patches

Adding custom embellishments to patches can really make them stand apart from the crowd. Buttons, sequins, rhinestones, applique and embroidery patches are just some of the ways a patch can be elevated. Expert sewers suggest experimenting with different shapes, sizes and color combinations to create a design that perfectly matches the wearer.

Make it Wearable

When it comes to applying patches, sewing machines often do the job. However, for those who would rather wear their patch in the conventional way, scissors and needles are required. Heavy duty thread, in the fabric’s color, should be weaved around the patch and tacked onto the fabric. It’s also important to use a double sided stitch, as this will provide extra strength to hold the patch in place.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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