Last month, we discussed how to make a patch with your embroidery machine. This month, I would like to discuss sewing a patch to your garment, products you can use, and a few other tips and tricks.

How To Sew on A Patch with Monofilament and Regular Thread

I love making patches! Remember the Dinosaur I made?

I sewed it to a small runner and gave it to my granddaughter for her bookcase. I used a clear, monofilament thread on top and regular sewing thread in my bobbin, a longer stitch length, and sewed around the outside edges. I increased my stitch length to 4.0 mm on my sewing machine. Monofilament thread comes in clear and smoke colored for light or dark fabrics. I usually use Sulky Invisible; it works well in my sewing machine if I place it on a vertical spool holder. I also use a needle with a bit smaller eye. A 70 or 75 works well. And sew slow!

I also took the little scarecrow and sewed him to a piece of denim. I wanted to test how washable it was before sewing it to anything. It went through the washer & dryer with no problems so now I will attach it to a little mug rug. I will sew the patch on in the same way as the dinosaur patch: monofilament thread on top, regular thread in my bobbin, and a longer straight stitch with my sewing machine. But first, I needed to remove it.

How To Remove a Sewn Patch

Since my little scarecrow was sewn in place, it is just a matter of ‘reverse sewing’ or ripping it off with a seam ripper. 

Place the ball of the seam ripper between the garment and patch; the point should be on the outside of the seam where you can see it. Holding it this way ensures you don’t accidentally poke a hole somewhere you shouldn’t. If this looks awkward to you, it is because I am left-handed. As with every rule, sometimes you will need the point to catch the stitch, and it will then be on the inside. Just take care you don’t go too far in your ripping. 

Since I took a longer stitch when sewing the patch, it should rip off easily. I have placed and ripped off lots of patches and badges as my kids progressed through their scouting ranks, and sewing a patch in place always worked very well.  A few years ago, I made a big Minnie Mouse patch design on my embroidery machine and attached it to the back of my granddaughter’s denim jacket, sewing it in the same way I described above. The extra bits of Ultra Solvy washaway stabilizer you see around the edges, washed off after I washed the jacket. I did not want to trim too close and cut my stitching.

How to Make an Iron On Patch

What if there's no way to get the garment under your sewing machine needle? Don't worry, there's a versatile solution-a fusible web. One product I highly recommend is Heat n Bond Ultrahold. It's a no-sew, paper-backed, double-sided fusible that bonds with heat from your iron. It's incredibly easy to use and perfect for a variety of fabrics, including cotton and hats. Just be sure to read the packaging for all their instructions.

Lay the iron on patch face down and trace around it onto the paper side of the product. It must be face down to get the correct shape! Cut it out on the drawn lines and press it to the back of the patch. I use a Teflon sheet and place my patch on the sheet to press on the paper-backed web. This way, if any sticks over the edge, I am not gluing the patch to anything by accident. 

Peel off the paper by scoring it with a pin to get a starting point. The pin is where I scored the paper backing. Carefully peel off the paper and trim any fusible left on the edges. Now, the patch is ready to press to my garment. When applying iron on patches this way, I use a press cloth to cover the patch, my wool mat and my wooden clapper to hold the heat in until all the fusible has had time to retain the heat to set. Let it cool and the bond is permanent.  

A second option is to glue the patch in place. I like Beacon Fabri-Tac. This is a clear glue. It is permanent, and you should test it on a piece of fabric similar to your patch to ensure it doesn’t bleed through or do anything to the color. I apply a very thin layer with a Q-tip to the back of my patch, then place the patch where I want it. Once it dries, it is permanent. You can machine wash your article after 24 hours and it stays in place. 

Removing an Iron on Patch

What if it’s crooked?! If you're using Heat n Bond, you can reheat it with your iron and gently move it if it hasn’t cooled completely. It isn’t always easy, so try to get it right where you want it the first time.  

Finally, what if you purchased a garment or hat and didn’t want the patch it came with?  If it was sewn in, rip it off, but always check the back. Sometimes, companies will poke small holes in garments to mark patch placement. If you remove their patch successfully, you will need to cover the holes with another patch. Embroider a cute one!