How To Sew a Patch

How To Sew a Patch

Have you ever needed to mend a treasured garment or customize clothing with a decorative patch? Learning to sew on a patch properly is a handy skill for quick fixes and repairs and adding personality to your wardrobe. Following this guide, you can learn to attach a patch onto fabric using simple hand stitches or a sewing machine for a lasting outcome.

What You Need for Sewing Patches

Before getting started, ensure you have the necessary supplies on hand:

Sewing Machine

Using a sewing machine makes stitching patches faster, easier, and more secure. A primary machine capable of straight and zigzag stitches is ideal. The best patch sewing machine should have adjustable stitch length and width controls.


Select a sharp needle size 14-16 with an eye large enough for your chosen thread. Jeans/denim needles are perfect for patchwork as their strong shaft glides through layered and heavy fabrics easily.


Cotton or polyester thread blends are commonly used for sewing patches. Pick a color that matches or coordinates well with the patch fabric and garment material it will be attached to.

Fabric Patch

Patches can be cut from all kinds of fabrics like felt, denim, canvas, cotton, faux leather, embroidered fabrics, and more. For optimal outcomes, try to correspond to the heaviness and consistency of the basic clothing fabric.

Fabric to Patch

The fabric you place the patch onto should be approximately the same thickness as the patch to prevent uneven sewing.

Pins and Needle

These help keep the fabric patch from shifting while you baste or sew it onto the garment.


Sharp scissors make cutting out fabric patches quick and easy. Trim loose threads once finished sewing.

Additional Notions

Other helpful notions when sewing on patches include fabric glue, an iron, straight pins, safety pins, embroidery floss, and sewing clips.

Preparing the Patch

Before you start sewing, take a moment to prepare your fabric patch:

Size and Shape

Make sure to cut the patch in a size and shape that is suitable for your project. Please make it larger than the area needing to be covered. Trace a template if necessary.


Pin the fabric patch over the hole or damaged spot to prevent shifting as you sew. Place straight pins about 1⁄4″ from the raw edges.

Matching Thread

Select an all-purpose or heavyweight thread in a color that blends with or matches both the patch and garment pieces for nearly invisible stitches.

How to Sew a Patch By Hand

How to Sew a Patch By Hand
Photo credit: pexels

Don’t have a sewing machine available? No problem! Here are some hand stitches perfect for attaching patches:

Whip Stitch

The whip stitch produces a barely visible seam from the right side. Knot the thread and insert the needle down through the fold. Bring back up about 1⁄4″ over and pull through.

Running Stitch

Straight, short (1/8″ -1/4″) stitches make up a basic running stitch, useful for attaching patches. Keep the spacing and length consistent.

Blanket Stitch

Work a blanket stitch around the edges of a patch for a finished look. Stitch from side to side about 1⁄4″ from the edge. Knot threads at the end.

Ladder Stitch

For invisible mending, use a ladder stitch. Take tiny stitches perpendicular to the tear, then “ladder” them across it.

Sewing On Patches By Machine

A sewing machine offers a faster, sturdier way to sew on patches:

Straight Stitch

Use a medium-length straight stitch to sew around the raw edges of the patch about 1⁄4″ from the edge. Remember to backstitch at the start and end.

Zigzag Stitch

Switch the machine to zigzag mode and go around the edges again over the straight stitching to reinforce them. Use a medium width and length setting.

Decorative Stitch

Get creative with your patch by outlining it in a fun decorative stitch like a zigzag or scallop. Play with the settings for different looks.

Patch Pocket

To sew a patch pocket:

  1. Sew the top edges only with a 1⁄2″ seam allowance.
  2. Trim seam allowances and clip corners before turning right side out.
  3. Topstitch along the opening for a finished look.

Jean Patch

An iron-on denim patch blends right into jeans. Follow package directions to fuse onto knees or spots prone to wear and tear before they develop holes.

Finishing a Sewn Patch

Once your patch is securely attached, finish it off with these steps:

  • Trim any loose or excessive threads near the stitching
  • Apply fabric glue to the edges for added strength
  • Press with a warm iron to smooth the patch flat and seam allowances
  • Check the edges occasionally and re-sew if stitches become loose

Caring for Patches

To help hand and machine-sewn patches last:

  • Avoid picking at or pulling on the edges
  • Wash gently by hand or on a cool, delicate cycle
  • Dry flat or line dry to prevent shrinkage
  • Use embroidery floss or fabric paint to re-edge worn patches

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of needle should I use to sew on a patch?

Use a sharp jeans/denim needle for patchwork in sizes 14-16. The thicker shaft and pointed tip easily penetrate layered and heavy fabrics.

Can I sew a patch by hand without a thimble?

Yes, you can hand sew patches without a thimble if you prefer. Just be cautious of potential finger pokes from the needle!

What is the best stitch for attaching a patch?

On a sewing machine, sew around the patch’s edges using a straight stitch, staying about 1/4 inch inside the border. For hand sewing, whip, and blanket stitches work great.

Should I cut the patch more significantly than the hole?

Cut your fabric patch a bit larger than the hole or damaged area you cover so it fully covers the spot.

How do I make patches look nice?

Use matching thread, trim threads, press with an iron, and topstitch around the edges for a polished look. Consider outlining with decorative machine stitches, too!

How do I sew on a patch without fraying?

Zigzag stitching around the edges prevents fraying. You can also apply fabric glue or Fray Check around the raw edges.

Can I sew a patch on leather?

Yes, you can hand, or machine sew patches onto the leather using an awl to punch holes first. Waxed thread and a leather needle are highly recommended for the best results. It is essential to be cautious and work carefully, taking your time to ensure accuracy.

How do I sew a patch pocket?

Sew the top edges only using a 1⁄2″ seam allowance. Trim seam allowances, clip corners, turn right side out, then topstitch along the opening.

Armed with these techniques, sewing on patches is a breeze! Repair treasured garments and customize everyday pieces with decorative patches in any size, shape, or fabric your heart desires.


Main image: pexels

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