Sewing Velcro on fabric is most definitely possible, but as anyone who’s ever tried it will know, it can be a time consuming and frustrating business.
Despite its difficulty, there are a few things that can make the process of sewing this densely knit, tough material that little bit easier:
The first step to making sewing Velcro a breeze is determining exactly what kind of Velcro you need. Different jobs require different types of Velcro, so don’t be tempted to just use whatever Velcro you have lying around the house.
If your project comes with a pattern, read it carefully to check what width of Velcro is recommended.
If you’re making things up as you go along rather than using a pattern, you’ll need to rely on your best judgment to decide what width (not to mention color) you’ll need.
As a general rule, the smaller the garment, the thinner the Velcro will need to be. The color, meanwhile, should match the color of the fabric wherever possible (if you can’t find colored Velcro, opt for white Velcro for pale fabric and black for dark fabrics).
While it can be tempting to save your cents by choosing the cheapest Velcro you can find, stick to a high-quality Velcro if possible. Sewing Velcro is difficult enough as it is – opting for a poor-quality version will only make the task even trickier.
Look for a soft, flexible strip with seams on each side – soft material will be infinitely easier to sew than the heavy-duty alternative, as will seamed Velcro over un-seamed.
Polyester thread has just the right degree of strength and durability to cope with Velcro. Try to match the thread color to the Velcro if you can, or to the fabric if the stitching will be visible from the front of the finished article.
Velcro isn’t the kind of material you can manage with a thin, pliable needle. Choose a sharp, thick needle to make the job as manageable as possible. A general/universal needle in size 14 or 16 will be best up to the challenge.
To get through the dense, tough material of Velcro, you’ll need to apply a lot more force to the needle than you’re probably used to. Unless you want a seriously painful finger at the end of it, using a thimble makes a very wise choice.
If you thought sewing non-adhesive Velcro was tough, wait until you try adhesive Velcro...
Although it’s possible to sew adhesive Velcro, it’s not advisable to do it if you have any kind of choice in the matter- unless you want to test your patience and perseverance to the limit, that is.
Unless your pattern calls for round Velcro dots (which are typically self-adhesive), save yourself a serious amount of pain and stick with the regular, non-adhesive kind.
Sewing through sticky back Velcro is never going to be an easy task, but if your pattern demands it, there are a few tips to get you through the experience:
If your pattern demands you use adhesive Velcro, try to avoid using your machine and stick to hand sewing instead. Yes, it may be more time consuming, but unless you want to gum up multiple needles and be left with a sticky, frustrating mess at the end of it, it really is the best way.
Use a sturdy needle and keep plenty of alcohol wipes nearby to clean off any adhesive that collects on the needle – it’s still not going to be a pleasurable experience, but it’s infinitely better to the one you’ll have sewing with a machine.
While no one’s going to pretend that sewing Velcro is an easy or relaxing experience, it can be made a lot easier by using the right technique.
Once you’ve gathered your materials and equipment, start by cutting your Velcro to size. Cut the hook piece first (i.e. the rough, rigid side), before using the cut-out piece as a template for cutting the loop piece (the softer, fuzzier side).
Cut the corners of the side seam to make them angled rather than straight. If you’re using Velcro that isn’t seamed already (although it’s highly recommended you do), create your own seams by trimming the hooks and loops down on each side.
Place the Velcro between two pieces of fabric. The soft Velcro needs to be placed on the underside of the top piece of fabric, while the scratchy Velcro should be placed on the lower piece of fabric.
Pin the Velcro to your project using a single sewing needle skewered through the middle. If it’s a large project, you may need a few needles placed every couple of inches. If you find it too difficult to get the pins through the Velcro, masking tape will work as an alternative.
Thread your needle with a 46- to 51-cm piece of thread (don’t be tempted to go longer than this; the longer the thread, the more likely it is to tangle). Tie knots on both ends.
Anchor the knot of the thread by pushing the needle from the back to the front of the Velcro.
Using small, straight stitches, sew as close as possible to the edge of the Velcro.
Once you’ve sewed all along the edge of the Velcro and are back to where you started, make a small stitch but don’t pull the thread fully through- the intent is to make a small loop. Make another loop by pulling your needle through the first, then pull the needle through the 2nd loop and tug to tighten. You should now have a small knot. Cut the thread as close to the knot as possible to finish.
TIP: if you find pushing the needle through the Velcro a challenge, try running it over a block of beeswax or needle lubricant first. You can also do the same with the thread to make it stronger.
Sewing Velcro with a machine is the kind of thing people try once and never try again. While there’s no denying machine sewing Velcro is, shall we say, an ‘experience’, it’s an experience that can be made that much more bearable with a little know-how. Set the machine tension correctly, use the right needle size and the proper foot pressure, and you’ll already be halfway there.
Cut the Velcro the appropriate size. Slide the scissors through the Velcro to avoid tearing the hooks or loops.
Lay the Velcro pieces onto the fabric. Place the soft Velcro on the underside of the top piece of fabric, and the scratchy Velcro on the lower piece of fabric. Ensure they are properly aligned.
Use a new, sharp, heavy-duty needle that has been lubricated with beeswax or needle lubricant. The lubricant will help the needle glide much more easily through the Velcro.
Some machines come with a special presser foot for hook and loop closures. If yours has one, make sure to use it. if not, use a zipper foot.
Sew by moving the needle either left or right and making small stitches along the seams.
Velcro is a tough, dense fabric that some machines are simply not equipped to handle in the same way as other fabrics. If you find you’re having a tough time getting your machine to work with Velcro, slow your stitching down as much as possible.
If the machine is working but barely manages to sew a stitch without the needle breaking or bending, try using a strong denim or leather needle, both of which are designed to tackle tough materials like Velcro.
There’s no denying Velcro is a hugely convenient, practical material with a myriad of uses. Want to stop the back cushions of your sofa slipping round? Try Velcro. Want to keep the back of your cushions securely closed? You guessed it…
Cut two pieces of cloth into the size and shape you want, be it square, oval, or rectangular. Allow around half an inch extra for seam allowances.
With the top side of both pieces facing each other, sew around the edge of the material, leaving a 3-inch-wide opening.
Turn the cushion cover right side out by pulling it through the opening.
Stuff the cushion with feathers, foam, cotton or batting until it’s as “fat’ as you want.
Tuck the ragged edges of the opening inside and sew closed.
Hand-sew a Velcro strip to one side of the cushion. Attach the other side of the Velcro to the chair.
Start by cutting out 2 pieces of cloth. Make the first piece slightly larger than the size of the cushion required; the other two should be a little more than half the size of the first piece (as an example, if you want a round cushion, cut out one full circle and two half circles).
Lay the two smaller pieces of fabric face side up alongside the larger piece and align them so that together they form the same length as the larger piece. They should have enough excess material in the middle to allow for hemming.
Tuck the middle edge of the top fabric under and sew it into place. Repeat with the bottom piece of fabric. A small amount of the top piece should hang over the bottom to allow the Velcro to close without straining.
Sew one side of the Velcro to the bottom of the top piece of fabric. Sew the second piece to the bottom piece of fabric.
Place the sewn fabric onto the larger piece.
Pin the pieces together and sew around the edges of the fabric.
Turn the cover inside out to finish.
Customizing your backpack with a Velcro patch might sound like a fun idea but be prepared for some hard work.
The thick, nylon material backpacks are usually made of can be tricky to work with at the best of times – add the notoriously tricky Velcro into the equation, and you’re looking at a seriously challenging, but not impossible, task.
Follow these tricks of the trade to make the job as easy as possible.
What you’ll need
What you’ll do
Place the Velcro Loop backing into the correct position on your backpack.
Mark the area where you’ll be placing the Velcro Loop with a pen or marker.
Thread your needle (you may want to run your thread through beeswax beforehand to make it stronger).
Sew a knot at the beginning of the first stitch you make before continuing to sew along the Velcro loop edge. Continue to sew along the Velcro loop edge until you reach the other end. Secure the final stitch with a backstitch.
Attach the custom patch onto your finished Velcro backing.
Sewing with Velcro is a challenge, but with patience, perseverance, and a scattering of know-how, you should be able to turn the task from an impossible one into a manageable one. Hopefully, at least some of the information discussed today will be helpful for your next project- if it is, please feel free to share the post.