While not all of us have access to embroidery machines, there is an alternative to making patches: sew them by hand! There are some materials you will need to have for this tutorial including: embroidery backing, cloth (fabric), iron, an embroidery hoop, embroidery floss, a needle, heat bond, and your image.
Now that you know what you will need, we’ll get into the steps:
- First, have your image ready. A good tip is to draw it with a high contrasting, dark color like a fine-point black pen or sharpie. Make sure to draw it on the embroidery backing. If need be, trace your image from whatever you originally had it on onto the embroidery backing. Whatever you decide to do, the image MUST be on the embroidery backing before you start.
- Next, place your cloth on top of the embroidery backing.
- Then, grab the smaller portion of the embroidery hoop and place it underneath the embroidery backing, which should have the cloth on top of it.
- Loosen the top portion of the hoop and place it on top of the cloth so that it rests right on top of the smaller portion. You will have to feel it out a bit and play with it but ultimately you should have both parts of the embroidery hoop coming together with the cloth and embroidery backing in between. Make sure to tighten the hoop so that it makes the cloth like the top of a drum.
- Now, you can use your phone’s flash to illuminate through the embroidery backing and cloth so that your image is visible to you.
- Thread your needle with the embroidery floss (some people say it also can be done with regular thread but I have not tried it, feel free to experiment though).
- Start working away at your pattern. Push the needle through the bottom side of the embroidery backing so that the knot latches on. From there, work the needle up and down, going from side to side of the design until the design is filled in. A good tip is to do the color that takes up the most room on the patch first so you have a solid base.
- Repeat step 7 with the remaining colors of your design, if there is more than one.
- Finally, an optional step is to use black floss to outline your design and do detail work so that the different colors of your patch contrast.
- Take off your design from the embroidery hoop and cut out where you sewed.
- Next, add heat bond adhesive roughly the size of your patch. You will notice the adhesive has two sides to it, place the rough side against the back of your patch (the side that you do not want to show when wearing the patch).
- Place your patch with the rough side of the adhesive on your ironing board, place a cloth over the patch so that it does not take all of the heat from the iron directly, and begin to iron around the patch until you eventually press over it. After you have ironed it, you can take off the protective cloth that lies on top of your patch.
- Trim any excess heat bond that sticks from the edges of your patch, making sure to get as close as possible to the edges.
- Finally, an optional step is to place some fabric fray glue on the edges so that none of the threads come loose.
- And you are all done, you have created your patch by hand!