how to sew on a patch

How To Sew on a Patch

Have you ever had a favorite denim jacket, bag, or other garment that developed a small hole or tear? Don’t despair! Learning how to properly sew on a patch can save your beloved item. But what’s the best technique for attaching a custom, embroidered, or iron-on patch? Follow this guide to master how to sew patches on any fabric using a sewing machine or hand sewing.

Why Bother Sewing on a Patch?

Applying a decorative patch over a damaged area reinforces the fabric and prevents further tearing. Unlike fabric glue alone, machine sewing or hand sewing a patch creates a much more secure bond that will withstand repeated washing and wearing.

Sewing also allows you to get creative with patch placement, using fun patches to customize jackets, hats, bags and more DIY projects. Arm yourself with a sewing machine or good old needle and thread because it’s time to let our patching talents shine.

Gather Your Sewing Supplies

Before starting any sewing project, it’s essential to assemble the proper materials. For sewing on a patch, you’ll need:

  • Patch – Make sure it’s more significant than the hole or damaged area you want to cover. Iron-on patches have adhesive backing but still require stitching.
  •  Thread – Select a thread that matches or contrasts nicely with the patch and garment. Polyester thread has more strength than cotton.
  •  Hand sewing needle or sewing machine – A machine makes quicker work, but hand sewing with a needle allows portability.
  •  Pins, scissors, seam ripper – These sewing basics help position and secure the patch.
  • Fabric glue (optional) – Just for extra reinforcement along the edges.

Once you have everything ready, it’s time to prep the garment!

Prepare the Area for Patching

Prepare the Area for Patching
Photo credit: freepik

Proper prep ensures your patch will stick. Follow these steps:

  • Locate the damaged spot on your garment and mark the area slightly larger than the patch with chalk or a fabric pen.
  •  Clean the area by gently removing any lint, dirt or loose threads with a lint brush or piece of masking tape.
  •  Iron the garment flat, which provides a smooth surface for the patch to adhere properly.

If machine sewing, also:

  • Select a straight or zigzag stitch with a shorter length (1.5-2mm) to stay secured to the fabric.
  •  Attach the correct presser foot, like a zipper or embroidery foot, to keep thick patches moving under the needle.

For hand sewing:

  • Thread your needle and knot the end. Use embroidery floss for decorative hand stitches.

Now it’s time for the fun part – attaching the patch!

Sewing on the Patch

By Sewing Machine:

  • Pin the patch within the marked area, using plenty of pins to keep it flat and prevent puckering.
  •  With matching thread in the bobbin and machine, sew around the edge of the patch about 1⁄4″ from the sides. A zigzag stitch provides more stretch for knits.
  •  For stability, repeat the stitching a second time around the patch’s perimeter, slightly inside the first row of stitching.
  •  Remove all pins and check the underside to ensure the stitches are secure.

By Hand Sewing:

  • Baste or pin the patch securely to the marked placement area.
  • Affix the patch by stitching along its edge using a straight running stitch, beginning at the midpoint of any side. Form delicate, uniformly-sized stitches.
  • For more visible stitches, use a blanket stitch or whip stitch around the edges. These decorative hand stitches add an artisanal touch with embroidery floss.
  • Knot thread securely when finished to prevent loosening.

Finishing Touches for the Patched Area

Once your patch is fully attached, add these final touches:

  • Trim excess threads on the front and back to reduce bulk and abrasion.
  • Consider amplifying durability by painting a slender line of fabric glue framing the patch’s outline.
  • Press the area with an iron on medium heat to set the stitches and adhesive. Avoid ironing directly on embroidered or printed patches.

And your patchwork is complete! Be sure to wash the garment gently by turning it inside out and line drying. With proper care, your patch can last indefinitely.

Creative Ways to Sew On Patches

Beyond just covering damaged spots, decorative patches allow endless possibilities to customize clothing and accessories like backpacks, hats and blanket stitch patches on jeans. Get creative with patch placement and thread colors – the options are limitless!


What’s the best stitch to use when sewing on a patch?

For machine sewing, a straight stitch or narrow zigzag works well to secure patch edges. For hand sewing, use a running stitch, whip stitch or blanket stitch.

How can I keep patches from fraying or coming loose?

Finish seam allowances, use pinking shears, add fabric glue at the edges, and be sure to securely knot threads when hand sewing. Washing garments inside-out and line drying also prevents fraying.

What size should my patch be?

Cut or purchase your patch at least 1-2 inches larger than the hole or damaged area you want to cover. The extra fabric helps prevent tearing.

How do I sew patches on stretchy fabrics?

Use a zigzag stitch and polyester thread for more stretch. Cut patches on the bias grain for better flexibility. Trim patch seam allowance and grade/ notch edges.

Can I sew patches on leather, vinyl or plastic?

Yes, use a leather needle and polyester thread for durability. Add adhesive like E6000 at the edges for a flexible bond. Sew slowly through thick layers.

What’s the best way to position a patch?

Mark the placement with chalk or fabric pen first. Pin the patch in place and check alignment before sewing. Baste if needed to prevent shifting.

Should I wash the garment before sewing on a patch?

Pre-washing ensures shrinkage won’t distort patches later. But at minimum, clean the patching area well to remove dirt, oil and debris first.

How do I make patches look professionally sewn?

Secure edges with a double row of stitching, grade/notch seams, match thread color closely, trim excess threads, and press with an iron for a flat finish.

What’s your favorite way to sew on patches? Don’t be shy – let me know your thoughts, questions, and revelations from your mending escapades.


Main image: freepik

Priti Nandy
Priti Nandy
Articles: 169

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *