We have put together a comprehensive guide on how to sew on patches. Whatever your garment, we have the answers you need. Whether you are building a new battle vest and trying to sew onto denim or you are a biker and want to sew onto leather, we will teach you the skills to sew on your patches.
We will have a look at the materials you are sewing on to; the material of the patch and also whether you are sewing by hand or machine.
When sewing, you will also need to think about how long it will take so we will show you a few shortcuts if you are short on time.
You don’t need to be a seamstress to make your work look great.
Denim is a sturdy material originally developed in Nimes, France. It was then made popular for clothing by the huge brand Levi Strauss in the 19th century. Denim is probably the most common material for people to be sewing patches onto. Patches are sewn onto Battle Vests, Battle Jackets, Jeans or anything else made of the super strong twill fibre. The use of Denim for our Battle Jackets goes back a long way and you can read more about that here.
Before we start, looking at how to sew patches onto Denim, you will need:
Some of you may have bought a patch for a specific area on your jacket due to its size or shape. If not, deciding where the patch needs to go can be quite a process.
Some will have all their patches ready to go and lay them all out in different ways until they are happy with the aesthetic. Other people will impulsively sew on their patches as soon as they get them and then rearrange them depending on what patches they get next.
Just remember that there are no rules with regards to patches, you are the one that has to wear whatever it is you have made so it really is your choice where they go.
This stage may seem common sense to some but I think it eludes many. It is always a good idea to make sure that the area you are sewing onto is as smooth and crease free as possible.
Securing your patch in place is an important part of the process. You don’t want the patch slipping or moving whilst you are sewing. If the patch moves whilst you are sewing it could mean disaster and you may have to start again. Many beginners have learned this the hard way. You certainly do not want wrinkles or a bunch of material making the patch look uneven.
Choices choices. When choosing your thread, you will need to consider a few things. Some people use fishing line although we think that fishing line is more suitable for even heavier materials like leather. We recommend using at least double thread or even quadruple depending on how sturdy the patch is. We do not recommend using only single thread on your denim, you will find that it requires much maintenance and is not going to offer much longevity.
Also, when choosing your thread, you need to choose a colour. Depending on the look you are going for, you can choose the colour of your thread to match the border of the patch. Alternately, you could go for a colour that is the complete opposite if you wish for your stitches to stand out.
This can be a little confusing for those that don’t know how to sew. We have a guide stitch guide at the bottom of the page. Again, some stitches are done a certain way because they look good, others are more functional and offer durability. If you are feeling super creative, you could just go ahead and create your own style stitches.
Don’t forget to use your thimble as sewing with tough materials can be quite hazardous and you don’t want to keep stabbing yourself in the thumb.
You could also cheat and use a sewing machine but you should still follow steps 1-5 beforehand.
Leather is an entirely different beast to Denim and it is virtually indestructible in every day life. That is why it is worn by bikers to protect themselves whilst out riding. Now as you can imagine, trying to poke a needle through something so tough is not a fun job. You will find that many decorations on leather are directly painted on rather than sewn. Sewing on to leather can weaken the material and also 100 tiny holes is less than ideal if you are thinking of staying dry. The area that you sew will no longer be waterproof.
If you are sure that you do want to sew onto your leather; as mentioned above, we recommend that you use fishing line. If you use cotton thread, it is likely that the leather will outlast your sewing so it will need you to maintain the upkeep to keep it looking good. If you use a thin fishing line, it will last longer. The bonus is that fishing line comes in all sorts of colours these days so you should be able to find what you are looking for.
There are 6 main types of stitch you can use when sewing. There are also plenty of others that have more of an aesthetic appeal and are for design purposes rather than functionality. We will just take a look at the 6 main types as any can be used when adding your patches to your battle jacket.
It won’t be long before you know how to sew on patches for yourself. Even after reading this article to the end, if you’re still not sure, just go ahead and have a go anyway. What’s the worst that can happen? You learn something new and try again? Win win.
The basting stitch is basically the same thing as a running stitch although the stitches are longer.
So there we have it. If you were asking “How to sew on patches”. We have given you our favourite stitches along with instructions. We prefer denim or even a good old cotton shirt but some of you may wish to sew your leather to give it a new lease of life. Whatever it is you are sewing, don’t be afraid to send us your pictures and we will add them to our gallery.
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