how to sew on patch

Beginner’s Guide: How to Sew on a Patch Perfectly Every Time

Do you have a favorite jacket that needs a touch of flair or a worn-out backpack that could use a little repair? Knowing how to sew on a patch is a versatile skill that lets you personalize your clothing, cover up tears, and add creative flair to your wardrobe. Whether you’re aiming to showcase a favorite band’s logo or simply reinforce the knees of your child’s jeans, this comprehensive guide will teach you exactly how to sew on a patch by hand or machine. Dive in as we provide simple and effective tips for securing your patches securely while ensuring they look stylish and professionally stitched.

How to Sew on Patch

Sewing on a patch is a simple yet rewarding DIY skill that can add personality to your clothing or accessories. This process involves a few basic steps such as preparing your materials, positioning the patch correctly, and choosing the right stitching technique to ensure your patch is secure and looks great. Let’s walk through these steps to ensure your patch application is successful and stylish.

Gathering Supplies

A successful patch-sewing project begins with having all the right materials at your fingertips. Here’s a detailed look at the supplies you’ll need:

A. List of Essential Materials

Patches: Choose patches that suit your needs, whether decorative or functional. Opt for iron-on patches if you want a quicker, adhesive option or sew-on patches for long-term durability.

Sewing Needle or Sewing Machine: A basic hand-sewing needle is ideal for manual stitching, while a sewing machine can provide a clean, consistent finish more quickly. Select a medium-sized needle for most fabrics or a heavy-duty one for thicker materials.

Thread: Match the thread color to your fabric or the patch for a subtle appearance. Polyester thread works well for most materials, while cotton thread is perfect for natural fabrics.

Scissors: Have a pair of sharp fabric scissors handy to trim excess thread and cut the patch to size if needed.

Pins or Fabric Adhesive: Use pins to hold the patch in place while sewing or a fabric adhesive to secure it temporarily for accurate placement.

B. Choosing the Right Patch

Types: Iron-on patches come with an adhesive backing that melts with heat for a fast, no-sew application, while sew-on patches are ideal for fabrics sensitive to heat.

Shapes and Sizes: Choose a patch that fits the area you want to cover. Too small, and it won’t conceal a tear; too large, and it might overwhelm your garment.

Designs: Explore different styles, from minimalist logos to colorful embroidery, and decide on the vibe you want to achieve.

C. Selecting the Appropriate Thread

Color: Match your thread to the patch’s edge for a discreet finish or choose contrasting thread for an accentuated, bold look.

Type: For sewing by hand, ensure your thread is durable enough for everyday wear and tear. Machine-sewing may require a thread specifically suited to the fabric.

Preparing for Sewing

Before you start stitching, setting up the patch properly on the garment will make the sewing process much easier and ensure a clean, professional finish. Here’s how to get ready:

A. Determine Patch Placement

Visualize and Test: Try different spots on your garment to find the best place to sew the patch. This is particularly important for decorative patches that are intended to be prominently displayed.

Mark the Position: Lightly mark the edges of the patch’s desired location using tailor’s chalk or a washable fabric marker. This outline will act as your sewing guide.

B. Secure the Patch with Pins or Adhesive

Pins: Pin the patch securely onto the fabric at the corners or along the edges. Make sure the pins are facing outward to avoid interference with sewing. Check that the fabric and patch are lying flat and smooth.

Fabric Adhesive: If you prefer not to use pins, apply a small amount of fabric glue to the patch’s edges and press it firmly onto the garment. Allow it to dry completely before sewing to keep the patch firmly in place.

C. Test the Needle and Thread

Needle Selection: For hand-sewing, choose a needle that’s sharp and long enough to pass easily through both the patch and the fabric. A thicker needle might be necessary for dense patches or heavy fabrics.

Thread Test: Thread your needle and make a few practice stitches on a scrap piece of fabric similar to your garment to check the tension and compatibility.

Sewing Machine Setup: If using a sewing machine, ensure the needle is appropriate for the fabric. Adjust the tension and stitch length as needed.

Sewing the Patch On (Hand-Sewing)

How to Sew on a Patch by Hand

Hand-sewing a patch allows for detailed control and is particularly useful for delicate fabrics or when a sewing machine isn’t available. Here’s a step-by-step guide to sewing your patch onto a garment by hand:

A. Threading the Needle and Knotting the End

Thread Your Needle: Cut a length of thread about 18 inches long to prevent tangling. Thread it through the eye of the needle and double it if you want extra strength. Leave a tail of about 3 inches.

Knot the End: Make a small knot at the end of the double thread. A simple knot will usually suffice, but you can make it double to ensure it doesn’t pull through the fabric.

B. Blanket Stitch Method

Start from the Inside: Begin by inserting the needle from the inside of the garment to hide the knot. Position it near the edge of the patch.

Making the Stitch: Pull the needle up through the edge of the patch and fabric, loop the thread over the edge, and bring the needle back through the loop before pulling tight. This creates a secure and decorative edge.

Continue Around the Patch: Keep the stitches evenly spaced and consistent in size for a tidy finish.

C. Running Stitch Method

Begin Similar to Blanket Stitch: Start from the inside to hide the knot. Bring the needle up close to the edge of the patch.

Simple Stitches: Push the needle down through the patch and fabric about 1/4 inch away from where you brought it up, then back up another 1/4 inch forward. Continue this in-and-out motion to create a dashed line effect.

Keep Tension Even: Pull each stitch tight enough to secure the patch well, but not so tight that the fabric puckers.

D. Knotting Off and Finishing Touches

Securing the End: Once you’ve sewn around the entire patch, bring the needle to the back of the fabric. Make a small stitch and pass the needle through the loop before pulling tight to form a knot.

Trim the Excess Thread: Cut the thread close to the fabric to ensure a clean finish.

Sewing the Patch On (Machine-Sewing)

How to Sew on a Patch Using a Sewing Machin

Using a sewing machine to attach a patch can be a quick and sturdy method, especially if you’re working with durable fabrics or have multiple patches to attach. Here’s how to sew on a patch using a machine:

A. Setting Up the Sewing Machine

Choose the Right Needle: Use a needle that’s appropriate for the weight and type of your fabric. A general-purpose needle usually works well, but heavy-duty fabrics might require a denim needle.

Select the Stitch Type: A straight stitch is sufficient for most patches, but a zigzag stitch can provide extra durability and a decorative touch, especially along the edges of thicker patches.

Thread the Machine: Use a thread color that matches the border of your patch or the fabric for a seamless look. Ensure the bobbin and top thread are properly loaded.

B. Stitching Techniques

Zigzag Stitch: Set your machine to a medium zigzag stitch. Position the patch under the presser foot so that the needle will go down right on the edge of the patch. Start slowly, ensuring that the needle punctures the edge of the patch and then the fabric, securing the patch firmly.

Straight Stitch: If you prefer a cleaner line, set your machine to a straight stitch. Sew close to the edge of the patch, ensuring that your line is even. This method is particularly good for patches with pre-sewn borders.

Pivot at Corners: When you reach a corner or curve, keep the needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot, and pivot the material to continue sewing without breaking the thread.

Adjust the Tension and Stitch Length: Depending on the thickness of the fabric and patch, you may need to adjust the tension and stitch length. A longer stitch can be better for thick materials to prevent bunching.

C. Checking and Finishing

Backstitch at Start and End Points: To ensure that the stitching does not unravel, backstitch a few stitches at the beginning and end of your sewing.

Trim Loose Threads: Once the patch is securely attached, lift the presser foot and remove the garment from the machine. Trim any loose threads on both the front and back of the garment to clean up your work area.

Inspect the Patch: Look over the patch to make sure there are no loose edges or missed sections. If anything looks insecure, you might need to go over those areas again with the machine.

Tips and Tricks for Successful Patch Sewing

Sewing a patch may seem straightforward, but a few expert tips can elevate the finish and ensure your patches last longer, even through wear and washes. Here’s a collection of helpful pointers:

Choosing High-Quality Patches and Fabrics

Always opt for high-quality, durable patches that are made to last. Embroidered patches are particularly resilient. Choose garment fabrics that are robust enough to support the patch, such as denim, canvas, or heavy cotton.

Reinforcing the Patch Edges

Apply a fray-check solution to the edges of the patch before sewing to prevent fraying over time. For items that will endure more wear or frequent washing, double stitch the edges to ensure they are robust and secure.

Practice on Scrap Fabric Before Starting

Use scrap fabric to practice your stitches. This helps in fine-tuning the sewing machine settings or your hand stitching technique, and lets you experiment with different placements without risking damage to the actual item.

Use Proper Sewing Techniques

When hand-sewing, keep your stitches at an even tension to avoid puckering the fabric. Make sure to secure your starting and ending knots tightly to prevent the thread from unraveling.

Caring for Patched Items

Wash items with patches inside out on a gentle cycle to minimize stress on the stitches. Avoid using high heat when drying, especially for synthetic patches, as it could cause the patch or thread to melt or warp.

Creativity and Placement

Feel free to overlap patches creatively for a unique look. Pay attention to the placement of patches; balancing them symmetrically can enhance the visual appeal of the garment, especially on items like jackets or bags.


Mastering how to sew on a patch is a fantastic way to customize and rejuvenate your wardrobe or gear. Whether you choose to stitch by hand for precision or use a machine for speed, the skills you develop will serve you well in many DIY projects. We hope this guide inspires you to try out new designs and embrace the creative possibilities patches offer. Remember, with a little practice and the right techniques, you can achieve professional-looking results that reflect your personal style. Happy sewing!


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