Tutorial: Make Your Own Patches

Tutorial: Make Your Own Patches
|by Jessee Maloney|

Hello! Jesse here from an Art School Dropout’s life with a fun post about my love for patches,and a step by step tutorial to make your very own!

I’m not sure exactly when my patch obsession started, but I know it must have been young. I always had some sort of added embellishment on my clothes or bags as far as I can remember. I was the preteen with pins all over my plaid flannel, or the awkward teenager with way too many patches all over her backpack. Most of them found at a dead stock fabric store. Then it continued in to my 20’s with handmade punk band patches all over EVERYTHING! I really mean everything too. Bags, pants, hoodies, pillows, hats, my car seats and anything else a patch would stick to. My taste changed slightly over the years and I switched over to 1″ buttons, and really only bought a new patch maybe once a year. Basically patches and I grew apart.

Fast forward an amount of years I wont disclose, and patches are finally trendy again (though I’m not sure if they ever were before). There are 100’s of independent companies out there now designing modern pieces that fit perfectly with this new generation of patch lovers. Anywhere from pop culture references, designs describing your anxiety level or hermit tendencies, to cute unicorns jumping over rainbows in space. I myself have purchased quite a few and have started on my “stick a patch on everything” phase all over again.

Of course all of this snowballed in to me wanting to make my own patches, which brings us to the purpose of today’s post…

How to Assemble Your Very Own Iron On Patch

First off, please keep in mind that this is just one of many ways you can make a patch. I know. I tried a bunch of them. I found that this method works best for most of the domestic embroidery machines out there, along with a lot of the applique designs readily available.

Supplies Needed:
–  Wool Felt (I tried eco felt, and it just wasn’t the same)
–  Embroidery Thread
–  Heat N Bond Ultra Hold Adhesive in sheet form (it’s in the red pack)
–  Adhesive tearaway stabilizer like Inspira® Stick-On Tear-Away (I used Sulky Sticky Self-Adhesive Tear-Away Stabilizer)
–  Dritz Fray Check Liquid Seam Sealant
–  Sharp Scissors
–  An Iron
– An embroidery file of your choice. Though I found applique designs work best.

To make these I used my Husqvarna Viking® Designer Topaz™ 50 and a 120x120mm hoop.

Tutorial: Make Your Own Patches

First step is to prep the hoop. I like to use Sulky’s Sticky tear away stabilizer when using thicker fabrics or fabrics that crease easily, because the actual item being embroidered only goes inside the hoop, not in between.

When using sticky stabilizer I always hoop it like above, with the paper side facing up. I don’t take the paper off until after it is perfectly in there.

Tutorial: Make Your Own Patches

Once I’m happy with the hooping, I take something kind of sharp and score and area inside the hoop. I’m never precise when doing this, I just make sure it’s close enough to the edge and large than the embroidery design.

Then I very carefully peel away the paper only in the scored area. As you can see above, it leaves me with a sticky spot just in the middle.

Tutorial: Make Your Own Patches

I then head over to my machine and load my design.

For today’s tutorial I will be showing two of the included files. The first one shown above is an illustration I did of my other sewing machine, which is also a Husqvarna Viking. I really wanted to have a patch showing off my love for sewing machines, so of course this was the first one I made.

As you can see, I centered the design in the hoop and once I was happy with everything I pressed “GO”

The first thing most applique designs will do is stitch a perimeter on whatever the back piece is. In my case it was the stabilizer. What this does is show you the exact placement  for your additional fabric in the hoop. For this technique, I just needed to know a basic idea of where to put my fabric, not an exact.

I cut out a piece of felt an inch or so large than the stitched out area and just stuck it right in place. That’s the beauty of the Sticky stabilizer.

Tutorial: Make Your Own Patches

Once the felt was attached, the second step in the design is to secure the fabric down. This eliminates any movement later on.

Tutorial: Make Your Own Patches

From here the machine will do most of the work. Every so often it will ask for a new color and then continue on. I’m always very fascinated by this and just stare at it while it goes.

Tutorial: Make Your Own Patches

Here is what the finished piece looks like in the hoop!

After the design is done, just remove the hoop and tear away the design from the stabilizer. Don’t trim the edges yet.

Tutorial: Make Your Own Patches

I like to take my design over to the ironing board and give it a nice press. I usually use the cotton setting for this.

Now is when these little embroideries start turning in to patches. The first step is to cut a piece of the Heat N Bond Ultra Hold out slightly smaller than the piece of felt you are working with. By going smaller, you are less lightly to gunk up your iron or board.

Place the patch, design down and back facing up on the ironing board and then place the Ultra Hold shiny side down and paper side up on top of the felt. Using a dry iron, firmly iron the adhesive to the back of the patch. After a lot of trial and error I found that one minute on, two minutes off, and then about 30 seconds on created the perfect amount of hold for this purpose.

Place the patch aside to cool down. If you work with it hot or warm, the adhesive gets very messy.

Tutorial: Make Your Own Patches

Once the patch is cool, open up your fray check and start applying it around all of the outside edges. This stuff smells pretty bad, so i suggest doing this step in an open area, next to a window or fan. Let it dry for a few minutes and then go back for a second round.

Don’t out the bottle away though, we aren’t quite done with it.

Once the second round of fray check dries, you can peel off the paper backing from the adhesive and then carefully cut around the edge of the patch. Keep an eye on the little applique threads on the edge. If they start to unravel that means you missed a spot with the fray check. You can easily save those loose pieces with a little more of the solution.

As you can see above I was able to cut very very close to the felt, pretty much to the point where it disappears completely. I believe this is all because of the marriage between that ultra Hold and the Fray Check!

Tutorial: Make Your Own Patches

From here you can do whatever you like with your brand new patches! The Ultra Hold allows you to just iron them on objects as if they were store bought patches. You can also hand or machine sew them on. I sometimes do both. Especially if I put them on my kid’s bag.

Tutorial: Make Your Own PatchesTutorial: Make Your Own PatchesTutorial: Make Your Own Patches

I am in love with modern quilting, so two out of three of these designs are all about those. The third, like I said before, is an illustration of one of my machines. There’s also a fourth bonus one, a machine inside a round border.

I have included all four of these designs as free downloads for you to try out! They are set up as applique files, so you can also try them that way.

Click here to download the patch designs!

Tutorial: Make Your Own Patches

I would like to thank you for stopping by today to check out this post! If you try out any of the designs, or just the method, please share them with us. If you have any questions, just leave a comment below.

As always this was a lot of fun to try out and I can’t wait to show you another neat trick next month.

JESSEE MALONEY Art School Dropout
I have spent almost my entire adult life as an indie business owner and maker, 12 years to be exact. Most of my time was spent dabling in cast plastic jewelry, mix media accessories, 3D printing, laser cutting, embroidering and assembling vinyl pouches and much much more. It wasnt until 2014 that I decided to jump in, head first, in to quilting. Now it’s pretty much all I do!

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9 Comments on “”

  1. Jane

    Hello Jessee, I am trying to make a badge and have one query – when you have hooped the sticky stabiliser, do you then stabilise the back of the felt with the heat and bond and then place this on your sticky hoop. I have just started the tack down straight onto my felt but think I have missed a step. OR do you place your felt straight on to the sticky hoop, embroider and then take it off the sticky hoop and then iron on heat and bond?

    Many thanks for your help.

    Kind regards


  2. Christine

    Thanks gir this post. Did my first patch today! Great instructions. Now just to get up the nerve to putit on my granddaughter’s backpack….wish me luck!

  3. Vang Davies

    I find it is really useful for me. Thank you so much for sharing. I will suggest your posts to my friends. Hope more people will appreciate your posts.

  4. Miranda

    When you say press go and let the machine do the work do you mean the machine does this on its own or no. I’m looking into making patches for my fiance for his truck. Thing is idk what sewing machine Hine to get or how to go about this.

  5. Suzanne

    Hi, will the badge be too heavy to put onto. T shirt please. I am going to try to make one of your patches, just have to pluck up the courage, thank you very much for the instructions

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