How to Sew On a Patch By Hand or Machine (Jeans, Shirt, Etc)

There was a time when patches were all the rage. If you didn’t have a patch on your jeans, you just weren’t cool. The kind of patch you had was sort of a status symbol, not just any patch would do. One thing patches did was make jeans look better than their ‘distressed’ counterparts.

The simplest way to do this and if you do not want to show stitch lines is to iron on the fusible patches. They hold up well and give the jeans, etc., a nice clean look. Another way is to make sure the patch is about 1/4 inch or bigger than the hole and sew them onto the fabric.

To learn more about sewing patches onto different clothing items just continue to read our article. it has the information you need to know in order to get a nice professional look. You never know, patches may be making a comeback like cuffed pants.

Can I Sew on Patches?


Anyone can sew patches onto jeans, dresses, skirts and it really doesn’t matter if you are an experienced sewer or a novice. This is one of the easiest sewing repair tasks that you can do and even knowing basic stitch lines will enable you to sew a patch on.

The only thing that may stop you or cause you to pause when thinking about doing this repair job would be your local cultural practices or fads. If it is not the ‘in’ thing to do, you may want to think twice. Especially if you are considering putting a patch on some of your children’s clothing.

Sewing patches is an easy task to perform and doing it by hand will be a lot easier than doing it by machine. You have more control over your stitches and it will be simpler to avoid putting the thread through the other side and sealing up the pant leg.

How to Sew on Embroidered Patches

This is actually not much different than sewing on a regular patch. The first step is to find the right placement for the patch. If the patch needs to be centered then measure from both sides of the garment to make sure you have the patch where it should be.

Once you have the positioning, step two has you pinning the patch in place and threading an embroidery needle. Make sure to use a needle made for the type of fabric you are working on. Also, use the appropriate thread making sure it is nice and strong.

A straight stitch may be the best option for the stitch pattern but you can use whichever stitch pattern you like. or, you can opt for one of the many iron-on embroidered patches if that is an option for you.

The only difference in the process is that you do not have to do any sewing. You still need to center it or have it look nice.

Best Way to Sew on a Patch by Hand

This is a simple task and you really do not have to do much work to get this done when you are sewing by hand. Positioning is the key and depending on the type of patch you are sewing, you want to make sure it is in the proper place.

Uniforms have specific places where the patches must go and you should be aware of that positioning. Other patches can be placed wherever they look best or to cover a hole.

The next key is to use the right stitch pattern. You want the patch to stay where you put it so using a straight stitch with a shorter stitch length is ideal. The shorter the length the better the hold on the fabric.

Then use a needle that is right for the material. A too weak needle will only give you trouble and have you take a long time to sew a simple patch.

How to Sew on a Patch With a Sewing Machine


The first step in this method is to choose the color of thread you want to use. Contrasting color adds a touch of decorative style. But if you do not want those stitches to be seen, choose a color that blends in with the border of the patch.

The second step has you doing the positioning. Watch out for seams as sewing over those can be a bit more difficult. Position the patch where it needs to go and then pin it in place.

Step three has you selecting the stitch pattern and you should go with a straight stitch with a short stitch length. Thread the machine and get ready to sew once you have made all of your selections.

Once you start sewing, don’t forget to backstitch after the first couple of stitches. Backstitch at the end as well. Some people will have you turn the garment inside out before you sew, but use the position you are most comfortable with.

Best Stitch for Patches

As you have read the different how-to sections of this article, you will notice that we have said to use the straight stitch when sewing. You can use other stitch patterns but the straight stitch will give you the strongest hold especially when your stitch length is 2 mm or less.

This is also the easiest stitch pattern to sew with as it does not take much effort. Once you backstitch at the beginning and at the end, you will have a very secure patch that should not go anywhere no matter how it is treated.

Anyone should be able to do a straight stitch and the key will be making sure that the stitch length is at the correct measurement. Also, you should use a nice strong thread if you are going to be frequently washing the garment the patch is attached to.

The color of the thread is up to you and the colors on the patch.

How to Sew a Patch Over a Hole

One thing about sewing patches is that there are only two sewing methods you can use and about 2 no-sew options. The trick to this process is getting the patch the right size. Positioning is not as important as sewing a patch on a uniform or sash.

The positioning depends solely on where the hole is located and if you want to show or hide the stitches. The patch should be no more than 1/2 inch larger than the hole all the way around. However, you can make it larger if the wearer wants it larger.

The next key step is how the hole looks. If it is frayed it is a good idea to trim the fray away before sewing. You may want to treat the hole edges with fabric glue or no fray options but that is up to you and not mandatory.

Once the patch is pinned in place, you can turn the material inside out and sew it to the inside of the garment. This will hide the stitches and allow you to use as many stitches as you want.

After stitching the patch try the jeans, etc., on or have the person wearing them try them on. If there is a problem with the stitches, you will have to pull them all and re-do your work.

DIY Clothes Patches for Holes


There really is no limit to making your own fabric patches for holes in your favorite jeans, except good taste. Not every creative idea is good or should see the light of day. One creative option is to embroider your own by hand.

This option lets you stay in complete control of the look, the design, and the colors of the patch. Another option would be to use GIFs and emojis as inspiration for your designs. You can cut the fabric any way you need to and add bits of thread for color and so on.

Other examples would be turning to cross-stitching to create the patch then apply it to the clothing item that has the hole. Or you can use a stamp and put the shape you want on the fabric then create your own border

When covering holes, just make sure the patches are large enough and will look good with the fabric it is being attached to. Sewing the DIY patches is the same as sewing regular patches on garments.

Where to Put Patches on Clothes

For the most part, this is up to you. If you think a patch will look good on the collar of one clothing item, then you are free to put one there. If you like it on the knee as it will reinforce that area of the pants, then you are free to apply it there.

The two exceptions to this are uniforms and holes. Both of these will dictate where you put the patch. Usually, the organization issuing the uniforms will have regulations on where patches go and you need to follow those regulations.

Holes have their own requirements and you do have a little freedom as you can sew the patch on the outside or the inside of the clothing item. When you are using patches as decorative items to spice up the jean dress, etc., then use the less is more principle.

Sometimes having a lot of patches will work but not as often as many people think.

Sewing Decorative Patches on Jeans

The process is going to be the same no matter which type of patch you will sew on a blouse, dress, or pair of jeans. Straight stitch, a good thread that is either visible or invisible, and the right location.

Just like real estate, location matters. Not all decorative patches that are attractive will look attractive in all placement opportunities. Good taste and an eye for what looks good are prerequisites when placing patches on clothing.

When it is your outfit, place it wherever you think it will work. But, when you are sewing for your children, think twice before placing it in a spot you think will look good. Children pay for the errors of their parents many times when the patch is in the wrong spot.

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What looks good to you may not look good to the general public. You do have to be cautious as not all patches will be accepted no matter how good they look.

Putting a Patch on Jeans

Puttin- a-Patch-on-Jeans

According to some experts, there is no right or wrong way to place patches on jeans. Their opinion is that you are expressing your creative spirit and giving your jeans a personal touch.

We would disagree with that sentiment as that concept is telling people to ignore the rules of good taste and decency because you want to be ‘creative’ and ‘personal’. The method of putting patches on jeans is the same as has already been described. There are only so many ways to apply patches.

One of the best ways to do it, if you do not know how to sew, is to find the iron on brands and pick the ones you like the best. Then place them where the patches look the best.

Those same experts claim that their style of applying jeans is creating art and we would humbly disagree with their assessment of what art is. Use patches in the best way possible so you always look good.

How to Put a Patch on a Jacket Without Sewing

The good news about patches is that you do not have to know how to sew to wear them on jackets. There are two basic ways to apply patches without sewing. One is the iron-on patch and the other is using fabric glue.

The first step in this process is to lay your jacket out on a flat surface and press the material so it is flat as well. You do not want creases where the patch will be placed. This is assuming you have already picked out the patch you want on your garment.

Step two has you placing the fabric glue on the spot where you want the patch. You want enough glue to hold all portions of the patch but not so much that it spreads beyond the border of the patch.

In step three, you place the patch onto the glue and press with an iron for about 2 to 3 minutes or a bit longer if the glue hasn’t adhered enough to either fabric. The final step is to wait for the glue to cure and that should take about 24 hours.

When you do an iron-on, the only step that is missed is applying the glue. Place the patch where you want it, heat your iron to the right temperature, place a towel over the patch, and press for about 30 seconds or so.

When you are done, you can check the patch to make sure it stuck as it should. If not apply a little more heat to make sure. Let the patch cool before wearing it.

Sewing a Patch on a Shirt

The key here is finding the right patch to help make your shirt look good. Not every patch will work with the color of the fabric nor be tasteful or creative. The next biggest decision will be which style of patch you want to go with.

You can use one that needs a needle and thread to attach it to the shirt, or you can go with one of the no-sew options. The latter are the easiest ones to apply. After those decisions have been made, you will need to decide where the patch will go.

Sometimes this decision is already made for you and other times, you will have complete freedom as to where the patch will rest. The patch should not clash with the shirt’s look or color and you can use a contrasting thread color if you want. It will depend on where you want the other person’s attention to be drawn.

How to Sew a Patch on a Shirt

The tricky part of this process is making sure that you do not sew the front and back fabrics of the shirt together. It can happen on armholes if you are not careful. When you use your machine, double-check to make sure there is only one layer of material on the arm.

The process is the same and if it is a uniform shirt, make sure you know the regulations governing where the patches lie and how they should be applied. Use a straight stitch and durable thread. Take your time, there is no rush to sewing on a patch.

For iron-on patches, your biggest worry will be location. Pressing the patch in place is simple and easy.

How Long do sew-on Patches Last?


There will be lots of variables that come into play when you sew on a patch. Ideally, if given the right treatment, the patch should last as long or even longer than the clothing item it is attached to.

Uniforms and their patches can last for decades if not generations if treated right. But if the clothing item is for rough house playing, neither should last a long time. Next, the material the patch is made from will determine its longevity. Low-quality items will not last as long as high-quality patches.

The third or fourth variable in this list will be the placement. If the patch is over the knees do not expect it to last for a year. It may last longer and it may not, especially on children’s clothing.

Generally, patches will last as long as they get treated well.

Shops That Sew on Patches

We checked a couple of shops that sell patches but they did not indicate that they also sew them on. That may be a side service they do not advertise but we can’t be sure. These shops may not want the liability that comes with making any mistakes.

The best places to go, if you do not want to do it yourself, would be to a professional seamstress or a tailor. These types of shops know how to sew and they can get your patch on right while making sure the patch is done the way you want it to look.

Don’t expect high fees for this work as it is a simple task but we won’t speak for them either.

Do Dry Cleaners Sew on Patches?

It is a possibility and it would depend a lot on the dry cleaner’s owner if they do or not. Some dry cleaning shops have alteration options but normally, they will not do any sewing without your permission.

You would have to ask your dry cleaner if they offer that service or not. If you are a soldier, there may be a dry cleaner near the base that will offer the service for a fee. Many male soldiers do not know how to sew and this is a good money-making service when it comes to soldiers and their many patches.

Some Final Words

Sewing patches is one of the easiest sewing tasks you can do. The hardest part is deciding which one to use and where it needs to go. Some placement options are already decided for you and your biggest worry is to have the patch large enough or having it look good when you are done.

Plus, you can sew them on by hand or by machine. Whichever is best for you and saves you the most time.

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