Sewing on badges
Wash, dry, and iron your uniform before you begin.
If it’s a new uniform, make sure to wash and dry once before sewing on the badge, otherwise, the fabric will bunch unevenly under the patch after the first wash and dry cycle.
- Many uniforms are made out of cotton. Cotton will usually shrink somewhat after the first wash. If you sew a patch onto your uniform before it has been washed then the fabric under the patch will shrink and pull your patch, bunching it.
- It is also a good idea to iron the area where the patch is to be placed before starting to sew. Ironing the area will remove any wrinkles. If you sew your patch over wrinkles then your uniform will be permanently wrinkled.
Get a sewing needle and thread
Choose a thread that is either the color of the uniform or the color of the edge of the patch.
- If you can’t find thread that’s the same color as either, look for a darker color that’s as close as possible.
- Darker rather than lighter thread will blend better and not show up as blatantly. You can also get clear thread to make it less visible.
Put on the uniform with the patch held by with a safety pin
This is to check if it is positioned correctly. it can help to have someone else confirm this with you.
- Be careful when wearing your uniform with pins holding the patch. Carefully put the uniform on so the pins don’t poke you.
- The reason you may want to check how it fits is because when wearing your uniform your body will fill out the garment. This could affect how the patch looks.
Secure your patch in place for sewing
Use a safety pin or straight pin to hold the patch in place. Or, alternatively, use adhesive fabric tape to iron the patch on.
- Even if you don’t have an iron on patch, you might want to get some adhesive ironing tape. The adhesive tape is usually better than pins because it sticks the patch in place while you sew. You won’t have to worry about sewing around pins and poking yourself.
- Cut and place the tape. Place the patch on the tape and iron.
- If you don’t iron the patch, you’ll have to pin the patch in place.
Cut a piece of thread.
If you’re not very familiar with sewing, you may want to start with a piece of thread no longer than 18 inches (45cm). Longer pieces tend to get tangled and are harder to work with than shorter ones.
- Alternatively, you can try not cutting the thread and leaving it on the spool. This will help prevent the thread from getting tangled as well.
- Additionally, you won’t have to worry about running out of thread and re-threading your needle.
Thread the needle and tie a knot in the end of the thread.
Threading the needle can be difficult. If you have a needle threading tool, use it to save time.
- If you don’t have a threading tool, it can help to twist and wet the thread in your mouth. The saliva will serve as a temporary adhesive to hold the tiny strands of thread together. This allows you to better thread the eye of the needle.
Begin threading the needle through your fabric and the patch.
Start on the inside of your garment and poke the needle out, coming up through the patch.
- You’ll want to start on the inside of your fabric, so the knot you create to hold the thread in place isn’t showing on the outside. Start inside and poke the needle out.
Run the needle back through the uniform about 1/4” (6mm) from where you brought it out.
- For patches, a straight stitch is not only the easiest but the quickest way to sew the patch on. You don’t need a complicated stitching pattern, especially if you ironed on your patch.
- A straight stitch will also be the least visible.
Continue stitching the patch
Continue your straight stitch until you’ve gone all the way around your patch. You should end where you started.
- When hand sewing a patch onto a uniform it’s important to take your time and do your best to make sure that your weaves and the length of your stitches are as even to one another as possible. Keeping an even pattern will make your patch look much better.
Knot your thread.
When you have sewn all the way around the edge of the patch, loop the thread and pull the needle through to tie off your knot.
- To complete sewing your patch, thread your needle through so that you create a small loop on the inside of your uniform. Bring the needle through the loop and pull the thread tight. This will create a tight knot.
Cut the ends of the thread
Cut any loose threads that are hanging beyond the knot.
- You should leave a little thread about 1/2” (1cm) long. Leaving just a bit ensures that you don’t accidentally cut the knots. Tuck the thread under the patch