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How to embroider a patch

Patches are probably one of the most important projects that all embroiderers should know how to do. But they are also one of the most overlooked projects by embroiderers!

Me? Oh, I’m guilty of this too! I actually just recently learned how to make patches! Here I will share the ‘how to’ that I ended up with. After much trial and error of what worked and what didn’t as well as what materials to use, I present you with my final copy of, how to embroider a patch!

Soon, I will share a bit more about patches, including, but not limited to, hot knifing, the many uses of patches, iron-on vs sew on, what makes a design patch worthy, why I use an ‘x’ on the material, and filled designs vs non-filled designs. After I have published most of them, I will create a part 2 article to this one where I compile them all so it’s easy for you to find whatever article you are looking to read!

What you will need:

  • Tear-away stabilizer 
  • Twill fabric
  • Embroidery machine
  • Machine embroidery needle
  • Machine embroidery thread
  • 60wt or 90wt bobbin thread (depends on your machine) 
  • My free patch box design
  • One of my patch embroidery designs, or other patch designs
  • Hot knife with cutting tip (soldering iron)
  • Glass cutting board with a smooth side
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Thermal adhesive film

The steps:

-Start by tightly hooping your tear-away stabilizer. 

-Cut the twill to about 4.5” x 4.5”, you want this to be bigger than the patch box so that it can stay secure in the hoop. 

-Place the twill in the center of the hoop, use the button before embroidery that shows you where the needle will go to ensure that the twill is in place.  Stitch out the patch box design. Use the same thread colour as your twill colour. 

-Get your design ready and start stitching it out, ensure that it has a satin stitch edging. 

-Tear away the stabilizer and clean up the threads on the front of the patch if needed. Optional: clean up the threads on the back too. 

-Cut your thermal adhesive film to a square just bigger than the size of your patch (or the same size as the twill box). 

-With the paper side facing up and away from the patch, iron the thermal adhesive film to the patch. Take your time here and ensure that it gets ironed on well. Keep the paper on for now, do not peel it off yet. 

DO NOT place the adhesive film with the paper side facing the patch. 

-Get your hot knife ready, place on the tip and let it heat up. I prefer a sharp cutting tip. 

-Cut out the patch, going as close to the edge as possible. Make sure to smooth out the edges using the tip. Clean off the tip every once in a while with some paper towel to eliminate gunk. 

Do keep in mind when choosing your patch design that circles are the easiest. The more edges, the more difficult when hot knifing. 

-It is very important that you smooth out the edges (as said in the previous step). Now peel off the paper, if you sealed the edges enough and ironed well, the adhesive film should stay on. 

-Congrats, your patch is complete! 


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