Hand embroidered patches are a useful way to customise your shirts, jackets and accessories. They're great for covering holes, too - perfect for upcycling old clothes!
Making a patch can be easier than stitching straight onto clothing.
Sometimes, fabric is so thick that it'll hurt your hand trying to force the needle through (I'm looking at you, denim jacket!) - in which case, embroidering a patch can be the way to go!
Patches also make simple work of placing embroidery designs on tricky pockets, or on garments that won't fit into an embroidery hoop.
To make an embroidered patch, the design is simply stitched onto some spare fabric, before being attached to your clothes or accessories later.
There's a full video tutorial at the bottom of this page, too!
Which Fabric Should I Use for Embroidering Patches?
Patches can be stitched on most medium weight, non stretchy cottons - but my favourite patch material is felt. Unlike some other fabrics, felt doesn't fray, so it's easy to keep the edges of a patch tidy.
For a subtle look, you can colour match the fabric scrap to the item the patch will eventually be attached to. Or, if you want the patch to stand out, choose a totally contrasting colour!
What do I Need to Make a Patch?
Fabric - felt or medium weight, non-stretchy cotton
Embroidery Pattern - printed on water soluble, adhesive paper
Themed transfers, needle and threads are all included in my handy Customise Kits!
How to Make an Embroidered Patch
There's several way to make patches. This method just uses the fewest extra materials. Feel free to experiment with other techniques, if you like!
1. Take your transfer paper, and roughly cut out the design you'd like to stitch. This design is the Hummingbird from my Tropical Customise Kit.
2. Separate your inner and outer embroidery hoops, and place your fabric over the inner hoop. Reposition the outer hoop over the top, and retighten the screw, making sure your fabric is nice and taut.
3. Peel off the shiny paper backing from the transfer; then apply the sticky transfer piece to the front of the fabric. Make sure all of the transfer is smoothly stuck down.
4. Start stitching! If your fabric might be susceptible to fraying (and if you think it will look nice), you can use Back Stitch around the edge of the design - this will help to stop the edges of the patch fraying later, but is totally optional! Make sure your ends are well tied-off, so they won’t come undone when you’re wearing or using your piece.
5. When you've finished stitching, remove your fabric from the hoop. Cut around your embroidered design, about 0.5 - 1cm from your stitching - the transfer paper here will help keep it stiff and prevent the backing fabric from fraying too much.
6. Then, it's time to remove the transfer paper! Run your fabric under a lukewarm tap. You'll soon see the transfer start to break up and fall away. Gently agitate your fabric to help break up the paper, and brush the stitching with a finger (or the blunt end of a needle) to remove any leftover residue.
7. Leave the patch to dry (or use a hairdryer if you're impatient!).
8. Once dry, take the clothing you want to attach the patch to. Lay it on a flat surface, and find the spot where you want the patch to be placed.
9. Use some very rough Running Stitches to tack the patch into place. These stitches can pass through your embroidery, as you will remove them later.
10. Using a thread colour of your choice, use Whipped Stitch to sew around the edge of the patch. I like to do the stitches in a contrasting colour. Try to keep them quite close together, to keep the patch well anchored down!
11. Finally, remove your rough Running Stitches - and you're done! Go and show off your fancy new patch!