How to Sew on a Patch in 5 Easy Steps

A well-placed patch can make clothing stand out—or rescue damaged garments. For customizing or repairing clothes, it helps to know how to sew on a patch.

By Jasmine Harding | Published Jan 24, 2022 9:04 AM

how to sew on a patch

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A patch can add personality to your closet staples or give a well-loved garment new life. Patches can be used to customize clothing, bags, or accessories or to creatively hide a hole, tear, or stain. With a few basic resources and hand sewing techniques, learning how to sew on patches is a straightforward process.

It only takes a few minutes, and you can avoid extra alteration or repair costs once you learn how to stitch a patch. Following the steps below, you’ll be able to sew on a patch by hand to customize or repair any garment.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

Before beginning, choose an appropriate sewing needle and thread color from your sewing kit. For thin fabrics, use a thinner needle. For thick fabrics like denim or canvas, opt for a thicker needle. You can select a thread color that matches or contrasts with your patch, depending on personal preference. This guide uses a simple backstitch technique for hand sewing patches.

Ensure the fabric you’re patching is clean and wrinkle-free. If patching over a hole or tear, prepare the damaged area by trimming away rough edges and loose threads.

STEP 1: Place the patch.

Choose where you want to put your patch and secure it using sewing pins. A few sewing pins should do the trick; you want to keep the patch in place, but the pins shouldn’t get in the way of your sewing.

If you have an iron-on patch, you can iron it in place following the instructions included with the patch. While many iron-on patches don’t need to be sewn, it’s still best to add a few stitches to make sure the patch stays secure. Ironing on the patch before sewing will keep it from shifting while you work. If the patch is not iron-on, you can first secure it with fabric glue and then begin stitching once it dries.

Related: The Best Sewing Tables for Fabric DIY Projects

how to sew on a patch

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STEP 2: Thread and knot the needle.

Insert the thread into the eye of the needle and pull it through until you have equal lengths of thread on each side. Double over the thread to create a stronger strand that’s better suited to sewing on a patch.

Tie a knot at the end of the doubled-over thread. You can tie several overhand knots on top of each other to create a larger, more secure knot. Another knot-tying method is to wrap the thread around your index finger several times. Then, roll it off the end of your finger (allowing the thread to twist into a bundle). Pull the end of the thread to tighten the bundle into a knot.

STEP 3: Start stitching.

There are several stitching options for securing a patch. For this method, use a simple backstitch, which will securely attach the patch and create a neat, unbroken line.

Keep your stitches around ⅛ inch from the patch’s edge—this placement will help keep the patch flat against the fabric. Starting at the back side of the fabric, push the needle through both the fabric and the patch. Pull the thread through until the knot reaches the back side of the fabric.

Move the needle about ¼ inch along the perimeter of the patch. Insert the needle downward into the patch and fabric, pushing it all the way through. Pull the thread taut.

STEP 4: Continue stitching.

Move the needle another ¼ inch along the perimeter of the patch. While working on the back side of the fabric, you may not be able to see the patch, so just keep the needle as close to its perimeter as you can. Insert the needle back through the fabric and patch, and pull the thread taut.

Instead of moving forward, double back and insert the needle into the end of the previous stitch. This creates a backstitch and the appearance of an unbroken line. Push the needle and thread through the patch and fabric.

Repeat this process, continuing until you secure the entire patch.

Related: The Best Mini Sewing Machines for Your DIY Projects

STEP 5: Tie off the thread.

When you reach your original stitch, ensure the final stitch is finished on the back side of the fabric. Knot the thread, keeping the knot as snug to the fabric as possible. You can do this with a series of overhand knots.

To make the knot, pin the thread down against the back of the fabric with one finger. Right beside your finger, make a small loop with the thread. Pass the needle through the loop you created and pull the knot tight. Repeat this a few times to create one secure knot. Use scissors to cut off the excess thread when finished.

how to sew a patch

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Final Thoughts

With the right materials and know-how, sewing on a patch is simple yet rewarding. Once you know how to hand sew a patch, it opens up all-new clothing and accessory customization options. This useful skill also makes it easy to patch over small holes in clothing, which can save your favorite sweater or pair of jeans in the event that they’re damaged.

Besides making your wardrobe more interesting and resilient, you can save money by learning how to patch up your clothes yourself. Whether you want to add flair to your backpack or restore a torn jacket, learning how to hand sew a patch is an essential DIY skill.