Here is our step-by-step tutorial of how to attach patches, for both sewing-on (recommended) and gluing-on methods. The process is similar for both. Please read through all the steps before beginning.
Items you will need:
- Embroidered patch (pre-washing your patch will make it even more flexible)
- Garment/item that you want the patch on, pre-washed if possible
- Needle (curved or straight)
- Thread (colour-matched to the edge of patch)
- Small scissors
- Adhesive and adhesive brush (optional for sewing, needed if you are gluing on your patch)
- Iron (needed if you are applying a heat-seal adhesive)
Step 1: Prepare your garment/item and patch
Lay your garment/item flat. If attaching your patch to a new garment, this should be pre-washed if possible, to remove shrinkage. If there are creases in the fabric, it's best to iron these out before you begin! Pre-washing the patch will also make it even more flexible and easier to work with (see washing instructions here).
Step 2: Choose the position of your patch
Choose where you'd like your patch to go. Try a few arrangements, re-positioning it until you're happy with the placement.
If sewing-on, pin the patch in place, ensuring that you don't stretch the fabric!
If gluing-on, see next step.
Step 3: Apply adhesive to your garment/item and to the back of the patch (optional if you are sewing-on your patch)
You can use any fabric glue that will suit your purpose, depending on the material to which you're affixing the patch, and also if you intend to go one step further to sew your patch on, as recommended. There are multiple fabric glue options available, with some being temporary (just to hold the patch in place while you sew, then washes off!), and others being permanent. There is also specialized heat-seal glue for embroidered patches, such as Patch Attach, which is machine-washable and dry-cleanable, and works to turn any patch into an iron-on patch.
Apply a thin layer of adhesive to the area on your garment/item where you want to place the patch. Then, apply a thin layer of adhesive along the edge of the entire patch back, too. Make sure to smooth out the glue. Position patch on garment/item, ensuring that if it's a garment, you don't stretch the fabric when affixing it! Apply firm pressure to make sure the glued areas adhere to each other. Let dry and do not wash for several days.
If you are using a heat-seal adhesive, set your household iron to the cotton setting, and heat-set from the fabric side, rather than directly over the patch, for 60 seconds. You may need to turn your garment inside-out for this.
As this is a guide, make sure to follow the specific usage instructions for your adhesive of choice!
If you are sewing on your patch, you can skip this step since you'll have already pinned your patch in place, or you could use a temporary fabric glue that washes off. This is recommended for children's apparel, as when the kids outgrow their clothing, you can then remove the patch by simply cutting the stitches, and replace it onto the next size up!
Step 4: Sew on your patch!
Select a thread colour as close to the patch border as possible. From the back, start a running stitch around the outside edge of the patch. Your needle should go through the binding on the outside edge of the patch, and not through the embroidered portion.
When you've gone around the entire circumference, end your thread with a simple knot, cut the tails, and it's done!