11 Techniques for Sewing a Patch Update 07/2022

Have you just discovered a hole in the elbow of your favorite plaid shirt because you moved out on your own, or did your daughter bring home her first Girl Scout badge for her sash? Whatever the case may be, it’s time to fix that hole. People still need to sew patches on their clothes, even in the age of fast fashion. So, just how do you go about attaching a patch?

Use a sewing machine or an effective hand-sewing technique to attach a patch. The use of a set-in patch or an appliqued patch, for example, can be used to create beautiful patches. A running or appliqué stitch is the best way to attach an embroidered patch to a uniform, headgear, jacket, or backpack.

How to sew on a patch will be explained here using eleven different methods. A patch can be permanently attached to clothing using either ironing or stitching. As a final touch, you’ll discover advice on where to find patches for a variety of clothing.

How To Sew On A Patch

How Do You Sew a Patch on Fabric?

A patch on a piece of fabric can be sewn on using a needle and thread or a sewing machine, depending on the method. In addition, you’ll find that you can employ a variety of patches to meet your specific needs.

An embroidered badge is one of the most popular patches to sew on clothing. If you’re wearing a military uniform, you’ll probably want to put it in a specified location. Your child may need to wear the badge if they are a member of Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, or any other group that gives badges in honor of achievements.

For a change of pace, you can alternatively utilize more wacky and decorative patches in place of this type of badge configuration. Your patchwork can be exciting and intriguing by using applique or reverse applique techniques as well as a range of decorative hand stitches like the herringbone stitch.

In the end, a patch may be all you need to cover up a little hole in your clothing. There are a number of darning techniques you may use in this situation to make the hole disappear almost completely!

How To Sew On a Patch: 11 Methods

How to sew a patch

Sewing with a sewing machine or a needle and thread is one of the most common methods of attaching a patch, but there are also various unique appliqué and darning methods included in this list.

The patch should be placed where you want it to stay on the garment or fabric item before you begin any of these processes.

In most circumstances, sewing pins or safety pins can be used to accomplish this task. In this way, you can make sure you like the placement before putting in a lot of time and effort into the project. As you stitch, it will keep the emblem or patch in place and prevent it from shifting.

1. With a Sewing Machine

Using your sewing machine to sew on a patch is a time-saving option. Additionally, the strong connection provided by machine-made stitches is an added bonus.

While a sewing machine may be ideal for attaching a patch, it isn’t always the greatest option. Intricately designed embroidered patches, for example, can be difficult to sew properly around the outside edge of. A hand-sewn blanket stitch appliqué could potentially be more appealing to you than a machine-stitched patch for some inset or appliqued patches.

Finally, a sewing machine is best used on a flat object, such as a shirt or jacket, that can be readily inserted under the needle. Patches for backpacks and headgear may have to be sewn on by hand.

You can save time and effort by just stitching the patch on with your machine in many circumstances.

Using a sewing machine to sew a patch on:

  1. Patches can be sewn or pinned in place using either sewing pins or safety pins, depending on their thickness. An embroidered insignia may necessitate the use of a strong safety pin.
  2. For an embroidered emblem, use a heavy-duty needle; for a cloth patch, use a universal medium-weight needle. You’ll also want to use a narrow zigzag stitch, which creates the appearance of a flat stitch line.
  3. Using thread that matches the patch’s edging, thread the machine.
  4. When inserting the patch over the needle plate, orient it such that the needle is resting on the outer edge of the patch, and then insert the needle. Make sure the zigzag stitch overlaps both your garment’s patched edge and any fabric that extends beyond your garment’s hemline.
  5. Make sure to stitch slowly all the way around the patch. Because this stitching is going to be visible for a long time, you want it to be clean and tidy.
  6. Remove the garment from the machine when you’ve finished circling the patch.
  7. Hand-sewing needles can be used to sew the upper thread to the inside of garments for a good finish If you do it this way, your patch won’t be marred by a stray thread end.

2. With a Sewing Machine and Iron

Using an iron before sewing a patch or emblem to your clothing may be necessary in some circumstances.

On the back of many embroidered badges, there is a heat-activated sticky covering. This type of emblem can be attached to a piece of clothing using an iron set at a low temperature.

In spite of its flaws, this procedure can be useful as a pre-sewing technique for attaching badges. As you sew, the adhesive will keep the badge in place!

For a large embroidered insignia, such as a jacket decal, you’ll probably want to pick up some iron-on hem tape from the craft store. You can place several strips of this tape along the middle of the large badge, use your iron to activate these strips, and then carry on with your sewing method of choice.

For a large embroidered insignia, such as a jacket decal, you’ll probably want to pick up some iron-on hem tape from the craft store. You can place several strips of this tape along the middle of the large badge, use your iron to activate these strips, and then carry on with your sewing method of choice.

3. By Hand

You may require iron-on hem tape if your embroidered badge is particularly large, such as a decal for the back of your garment. It’s possible to arrange many strips of this tape around a large badge’s midsection, activate these strips with an iron, and then proceed with your preferred stitching method.

Despite the fact that hand sewing is best suited to patchwork that is delicately formed, small, or beautiful, there are certain drawbacks. It’s obvious that it takes longer. Machine stitching, on the other hand, is far more durable than hand stitching.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of this process is learning how to make fancy stitches by hand. The running stitch, the blanket stitch, and the catch stitch are all common hand sewing stitches for patch application.

Determine the location of your badge or patch and fasten it with pins first, before attempting any hand stitching.

Stitch in the Ditch

There are many types of running stitches that can be used when hand stitching. Patches made from simple rectangles or circles work well.

  1. Make a knot at the end of the thread and thread your needle. Spools of cotton and polyester thread can be used for embroidery. If you want your stitching to stand out even more, consider using a complementary or contrasting color thread.
  2. The needle should be drawn up to the surface of the fabric as you begin sewing. In this approach, your knot will be hidden from view on the patch’s outside.
  3. Put a stitch in by reversing the direction of the needle through the fabric and out the other side. These stitches can be made as big or small as you wish. Stitch length should be consistent from one end of your fabric to the other, and this is especially important when sewing a garment.
  4. On both top and bottom, keep bringing your needle up and down so that you make similar-sized straight stitches.
  5. Take the needle back to where you started and tie a knot to keep your stitching in place once you’ve completed the patch or badge.

Stitching a Blanket

Using a blanket stitch gives a patch a clean, ornamental edge. Intricate and simple patches and badges can both benefit from this method. Appliques or fabric patches can also benefit from this treatment.

  1. Using a needle, insert the thread through the eye and tie a knot at the end. Choosing a color of thread that contrasts well with the patch color is a good way to make your blanket stand out. For this method, you may also use embroidery floss.
  2. The knot should be caught on the inside of the patch when you draw the needle up from the inside of the fabric. You want the needle and thread to exit just outside the patch’s perimeter.
  3. Place the needle tip inside the edge of the appliqué or patch now. The length of the blanket stitch can range from a quarter inch to a half inch, depending on how large you want it to be.
  4. As you work your way back up through the patch and the fabric, make sure to push the needle’s tip so that it emerges next to your original thread on top of the cloth as you did when you started. A loop of thread will have formed from the fabric, through the patch, and back out to the fabric’s uppermost layer again. Stitching along the edge of the patch, you should now have a small vertical stitch.
  5. Next, you must wrap the thread around the needle’s tip and pull the needle and thread through the loop that is formed. This step can be a little tricky.
  6. Continuing along the patch’s edge, press the needle through the patch and up through the cloth at equal distances, and then repeat. Every stitch should have a thread loop.
  7. When you’re done, you’ll have a clean row of vertical stitches extending into the patch and parallel stitches along the patch’s edge.

Stitch the Cat

Catch stitches, also known as herringbone stitches or broad cross stitches, are used to produce a form of zigzag around the edge of a patch, emblem or applique. With this stitch, you may make it as bold or delicate as you want.

  1. Make a knot at one end of the thread, and then bring the needle through both the patch and the fabric until the thread is taut.
  2. Continue sewing in a straight line from right to left, moving the needle and thread approximately a quarter-inch to the right before picking up a speck of fabric just outside of patch’s edge and slipping it through. In addition to a little stitch on the inside of the patch, a diagonal stitch will be created from the patch to the fabric. The outside of the material will be free of needle and thread as a result of this technique.
  3. After a quarter-inch of movement to the right, you’ll scoop up a little stitch from the edge of the patch, continue moving from right to left. The needle and thread should be drawn all the way through again. Over the edge of the patch, you should not have an upside-down V form.
  4. Stitch the patch’s perimeter in a V-shape by repeating the previous step.
  5. Once you’ve completed the entire circumference, tie a knot in the thread on the inside of the fabric.

This stitch can be made to look more like an X and less like a V by making your parallel stitch larger rather than catching only a few threads. The part of the stitch where the threads cross over each other will seem better as a result of this.

You can also form alternating larger and smaller X or V shapes with your stitches if you want a sloppy, playful look. However, regular stitching along the edge is most often preferred.

4. By Hand Appliqued Patch

Many experienced sewers and quilters utilize complicated layered applique techniques. However, mastering the principles of appliqué isn’t difficult. Artistic patches can be applied anyplace on your clothing, bags, or headgear once you learn how to do this.

  1. Cut out your patch in a fun, contrasting color to the fabric of your garment or bag. Because the outer edge of your shape will be tucked under, you’ll want to leave a quarter-inch of space all the way around it. In the beginning, you may want a simple design that doesn’t have sharp corners, as straight or slightly curved edges are easier to sew.
  2. Cut out your patch in a colorful, contrasting color to the fabric of your garment or bag. Your shape’s outer edge will be tucked under, so leave a little margin of roughly a quarter-inch around it. In the beginning, you may want a simple design that doesn’t have sharp corners, as straight or slightly curved edges are easier to work with.
  3. The knot should be left within the cloth when you bring the needle up from underneath.
  4. Using your thumb, twist the outer border of the patch a quarter-inch or so under the patch itself. The patch’s outer edge will be smooth and polished as a result. Continue to smooth the edge by turning it under as you go. A small knitting needle or stick may be easier to use for folding than the edge of your needle.
  5. Bring your needle through the folded-over edge so that the needle and thread are both taut on the patch’s top.
  6. Bring the needle just past the folded edge of the fabric and sew a small perpendicular stitch. The folded edge will be firmly attached to the clothing underneath if you do this.
  7. When the needle comes up, slide it between the garment fabric and the folded edge of the patch before piercing through the patch’s outer edge once more. To make this region as small as possible, because you’ll need roughly ten or twelve tiny stitches per inch along the perimeter of your shape!
  8. Repeat the perpendicular stitch you’ve already made.
  9. Apply this stitching pattern around the patch’s perimeter as you fold over the edges.

5. By Hand Set-In Patch

When you cut out a form from existing clothing, you can then glue the patch to the inside of the fabric, creating a cool contrast in shape and color. This approach is also known as reverse applique.

A beautiful hand stitch is normally preferred, but you can also use a fancy machine stitch to sew around the inset patch’s edge.

  1. It’s time to be creative with your clothing and cut out the shape you want. A heart-shaped patch can be made by cutting a perfectly edged heart out of your garment before sewing it on.
  2. You should begin by filling in the hole with your mending material. Iron-on hem tape can be applied to the fabric’s edges. With sewing pins, you can also hold the patch in place.
  3. You should probably use a decorative hand or machine stitch to sew around the hole’s edge since this patch is meant to be beautiful in appearance. Simple stitches like the herringbone and blanket stitches work well here. To prevent unraveling or an untidy appearance, make sure your stitching extends over the cut edge of the fabric.
  4. Adding an interfacing square to the back of the patch might give the patch and the garment a stronger backing and seal if you are concerned about the inset fabric’s ability to maintain its original strength.

6. Over a Hole By Hand

Many various methods can be used to hand-patch a hole in your clothes, depending on whether or not you want the patch to be noticeable.

  • With a needle and thread, you may close the hole very imperceptibly. To darn by hand, sew horizontal threads across the hole’s breadth until you run out of thread. The next step is to cross over the horizontal stitches by sewing a vertical stitch.
  • Use a fun appliqué to cover up the hole you just fixed to show off your handy work. From a sweet heart or flower to a tough skull and crossbones, you may create any kind of cloth shape you choose.
  • Patches that match your clothing, such as denim patches on a jean jacket, can be held in place with tiny hand stitches in a running stitch or blanket stitch pattern.

7. Darning with Machine

When a garment has a hole, darning stitches or weaves together a variety of threads to fill it in and fix it. A darning machine makes this operation a much faster and easier than doing it by hand.

If you like to embroider by hand, you can use decorative darning. Darning using a sewing machine, on the other hand, allows you to perform these repairs invisibly.

Darning is a stitch that is integrated into some sewing machines. This capability, on the other hand, is typically reserved for more expensive computerized devices. If your machine is a little less advanced, you’ll want to use a straight stitch. If you use an authentic darning stitch, make sure you use a buttonhole maker instead of the regular presser foot.

  1. Use thread that matches the color of the garment to set up your sewing machine.
  2. Using an iron, press a small part of a fusible interface into the hole on the opposite side.
  3. Darning stitches can be used if your machine has one; otherwise, simply sew over the hole and through the interfacing with a series of darning stitches. Stitch many rows of stacked darning stitches for huge holes.
  4. If your machine does not have a darning stitch option, you will want to stitch a series of straight lines from above the hole to below the hole until you have closely covered the space with vertical stitches. Then sew back over this at a slight diagonal, creating another series of lines across the hole but this time on a diagonal.

8. On a Military Uniform, Shirt or Jacket Sleeve

If you don’t have a darning stitch option on your machine, you’ll want to sew a series of straight lines from the top of the hole to the bottom of the hole until the vertical space is completely covered. Then sew back over this at a slight diagonal, forming another sequence of lines over the hole but this time on a diagonal.

  • Stitch a series of straight lines from the top of the hole to the bottom of the hole until the space is completely covered with vertical stitches if your machine does not have a darning stitch setting available to you. Create a succession of diagonal lines over the hole by sewing over the first diagonal lines with a tiny diagonal.
  • Depending on the sort of thread you use, you may additionally have to adhere to specific guidelines. A tight match to the embroidered edge of the badge is ideal in most circumstances, so your stitching won’t be seen.
  • As with the last step, you’ll want to use a discrete stitch for this one. If you have a sewing machine, attaching the military insignia is as simple as using a straight thread or a zigzag stitch. Use a running stitch or blanket stitch if you need to sew by hand, and use thread that is now visible.
  • To add an embroidered insignia to your military uniform, you may be required to place the emblem in an area that your sewing machine cannot reach, such as on the sleeve. In this situation, all you need to do is sew a few crisp hand stitches around the badge’s perimeter.

9. On Jeans

Any of the procedures outlined in this article can be used to sew a patch onto a pair of jeans. If your jeans have a hole in the knee, an inset patch is a great solution. It’s also possible to stitch the hole in your pants using blue thread to make it look like nothing ever happened.

Sashiko patches, another method that looks great on jeans, are another option. As with the inset approach, you sew your patch cloth directly to the interior of the hole. However, instead of merely stitching around the patch’s perimeter, you sew horizontal and vertical rows of stitches over the entire patch using tidy, small rows of stitches.

Your jeans will have a special patch thanks to this exquisite Japanese art form!

10. On a Hat

How to sew a patch on a hat

If your hat fits beneath the needle of your sewing machine, machine stitching is the ideal method for attaching a patch to a hat. Hand ironing or hand sewing may not hold the patch in place on a curved hat as effectively as machine stitching.

The needle plate of your sewing machine may not be able to accommodate a three-dimensional object like a hat. Keep the badge firmly in place on your hat by hand-stitching it with a blanket stitch.

11. On a Backpack

In order to attach patches to a backpack, you will most likely have to do so manually.

  • Hand darning is a good option if you’re looking to cover up a little hole in your backpack. The inset patch approach also works, but the patch should be made from a matching material rather than a contrasting color.
  • Simple hand stitching stitches, such as the blanket stitch, can be used to keep commemorative patches from concerts and events sewn to your rucksack.
  • To give your bag some much-needed personality, consider adding an applique patch to the mix. In terms of design, you can use any form or color.

What is the Best Way To Sew On a Patch?

Whether you want your patch to be visible or not, the best approach to sew it on will depend on your aesthetic preferences. In addition, how much effort you’re willing to put into the project will determine how long it takes.

To get the job done quickly and securely, try sewing using a machine. Applying military patches, Girl Scout badges, or darning a hole in your favorite jeans can all be accomplished with precise machine stitches.

Use hand-sewing stitches like catch stitch to sew an applique patch or to add color around the perimeter of an embossed badge if you want to make the patch more entertaining.

To sew a patch on, what is the best stitch to use? It all depends on the method of patching you choose!

Is it Better to Sew or Iron on a Patch?

Depends on the sort of patch and how long it needs to stay in place before deciding whether to sew or iron on.

Sewing, on the other hand, usually results in a more durable attachment. When ironing a badge onto a curved surface, such as a cap or backpack, the emblem’s edges may come off.

Some fabrics can be ruined by ironing. If you don’t follow the care directions on a garment, you could end up with a hole in your jacket or bag if you use excessive heat on it!

In summarizing, ironing is a fantastic technique to keep an eye on an unfinished patch before sewing it down. Generally speaking, though, stitching is the preferred way of applying a patch to garments.

Where Can You Find Patches for Clothes?

Craft supplies merchants like Etsy and businesses like Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabric have a wide variety of patches.

  • Try a sewing store like Joann Fabric for basic denim patches or fabric for appliques. You can go to a fabric store and pick out the right cloth for your project.
  • Etsy may be a better place to look if you want embroidered badges. Etsy sellers sell everything from tiny ice cream cone badges to gigantic twelve-inch dragons or skulls for adorning a jacket’s back.
  • In many circumstances, patches given out in recognition of achievements or as a memento of a specific occasion will originate from specialized groups. For example, your military badges will be provided by the military. Each state park’s gift store will likely have an embroidered patch you may purchase if you wish to collect one from every park you visit this summer.


You may quickly learn how to sew on a patch, whether you need to attach a badge to a uniform or cover a hole in a pair of trousers. You can sew a patch using a sewing machine or by hand, however, sewing by machine is the most time efficient method. You can use decorative hand stitches like a blanket stitch or herringbone stitch or invisible darning stitches.

Embroidered emblems, inset patches, appliques, and matching fabric to conceal holes can all be applied with these methods. Before stitching the patch, you may want to apply an iron-on adhesive.

Is this your first time sewing a patch on a garment? How did you go about it? Let us know what you think by commenting below!

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