How to make PATCHES (10 ways)

Learn how to make your own Sew on or iron on Badges/ letters/ patches for attaching on clothes and accessories
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make fabric patches

Sew-on and iron-on badges or letters/sayings, name patches – all of these are things you can always make use of – for embellishing, mending a hole, displaying your loyalty, or just a declaration of your attitude.

Instead of relying on store-bought ones, you can make them just the way you want and the exact size you want at home without any complicated machinery.

After you have made some, they are like fabric bows – you will keep making them in numerous designs and find countless things to attach them to.

How to make clothing patches

Finding the designs for the Patches

Inspirations are all around us. Emojis make for great patches, and so do clipart. Checkout this pinterest board for more design inspirations.

clothing patches
Clothing patch with zig zag stitches all around them

Let us go about making them.

What are the things you will need to make these DIY patches?

  • A suitable fabric – Choose any fabric you want. It can be sheer and thin in the colour you want but ensure that you have a backing fabric or interfacing which is thicker attached to it. You can use the ordinary glue stick to temporarily glue the thinner fabric onto the thicker  fabric or heat fuse the interfacing. Denim scraps can be used to make rugged looking denim patches.
  • An embroidery hoop.
  • Embroidery/ sewing thread & needle.
  • Fabric glue.
  • A zig zag sewing machine (Optional).
  • A good patch design
  • Fray check.

Make your own custom sew-on or iron-on Patches for clothes

Method 1. Hand Embroidered patches

iron on or sew on clothing badges and patches - embroidery stitches filling inside
Embroidery stitches filling the pacth

The best and the most difficult way is to complete the whole patch with hand embroidery stitches. They are slightly more time-consuming than the other 9 methods – but they are well worth the time. If done neatly and patiently, these handmade patches are the best.

    • You need to trace the design onto a medium-weight cotton fabric that is bigger than the embroidery hoop you own. 
    • Keep the fabric smooth and stretched adequately on the hoop. 
    • Get 3 strands of thread from the embroidery thread and thread the needle
  • Cut the design out from the fabric very close to the back stitches, better than I seem to have done with the patch. You need really sharp pointed scissors for this, which I have misplaced as always.  
  • After everything is done apply fabric glue to the back of the stitches and sides so that the thread stays close.
sewing patches on clothes - with hand embroidery stitches
Back side of the clothing patch

For more step-by-step instructions on making embroidered fabric patches check out the tutorial in this post

embroidered fabric patch diy tutorial
Make hand embroidered patches

Method 2. Free motion embroidered patches

clothing fabric sew on patches

You can use free-motion embroidery to fill the inside of the patches you have made.

make clothing patches - free motion embroidery
Fill the design with free motion stitches

To make this patch draw the design on the fabric. Hoop the fabric (must do) and interface if you want to.

Fill the design with free-motion embroidery stitches. I just went berserk with my pressure foot removal machine. Cut out the design carefully without cutting the thread of the embroidery.

Apply fray check/fabric glue to the sides.

Checkout this post on hoops for directions on how to hoop fabric for machine embroidery. and a beginner’s guide to Free motion sewing machine embroidery 

how to do embroidery with a regular sewing machine

Method 3. Zig zag stitched outline patches

sewing patches - with zig zag stitch outline
Sew zig zag stitch along the outer edge

This patch is made by using zig-zag stitches on the outline of the design. You have to use dense, closely spaced zig-zag stitches all along the border of the design. It is better to use a contrasting colored thread for the edge to stand out. 

To make this patch, you can use a thick printed fabric like cotton canvas or denim. Suppose you have a thin fabric interface on the back. Sew tight zig zag stitches along the outer edge or overcast stitches.

Related post : Overcast stitch

When you are stitching keep the fabric on the embroidery hoop so When stitching, keep the fabric on the embroidery hoop so that the design is inside the loop.

You can use small pieces of fabric to add little touches to the design. You can also use a hand-sewing needle to make outlines inside, and fill little details with a satin stitch.

Cut out outside the zig zag stitches and apply fabric glue or fray preventer along the sides. 

Method 4. Fill with Fabric paint 

fabric patches for clothes - fabric painted
Fill the patch fabric with paint

A fabric paint patch looks just as fabulous as an embroidered patch. You will have to use the fabric paint thickly to fill in the details. You need the fabric color of your choice and black color.

  • Cut out a thick material to make your patch.
  • Hoop your fabric so that you have a smooth surface to work on. Make the design. Fill the design with fabric color
  • Give an outline with black color with a thin brush
  • You can use puffy paint or glitter paint to bring out design highlights.
  • Cut out outside the outline.
  • Apply the fray check or simple fabric glue outside the outline so that there is no fraying. Check out the best way to paint on fabric – with some important tricks
patch made with t-shirt fabric.
Fabric patch made with fabric painted t-shirt fabric.

Method 5. Using hand embroidery stitches in portions

Cut out a thick material. 
Hoop your fabric. Make the design. You can even use fabric with which you have transferred some favorite photographs, images, or letters. Find how to in this post – 6 Best methods to {Transfer Photos/Pictures/Images to Fabric} at home 

Fill the design with fabric color; outline with black color. Fill the inside portion with close satin stitches or padded satin stitches. Cut outside the black outline. Apply fray check/fabric glue along the cut edges.

Method 6. Using Rhinestones and beads

clothing patches - embellished
Attach sequins, beads or rhinestones

You can attach rhinestones, beads, and sequins to embellish store-bought patches. The picture below is a store-bought one. But you get the idea. 

Checkout posts on how to apply sequins  how to apply rhinestones to fabric and Bead Embroidery Techniques

glue on patches
Fabric patches with heat activated glue on the back

Method 7. Using Felt to make the patches

making fabric patches

Felt is an ideal material for making patches, as cut edges of Felt does not fray.

sewing patches -with felt
Cut felt in the size and attach by sewing


To make this patch, cut out the design from Felt. You can use a hand-sewing needle to make outlines inside or sew with a sewing machine to make the details.

Method 8. Glue or sew fabric flowers to felt piece

sew on patches -with fabric flowers
Several fabric flowers added to backing

This is made by making the fabric flowers and then sewing it onto the felt rectangular piece. This patch can be sewn onto any garment you want.

sew on fabric patches -attach felt backing
Felt backing piece is adhered to the back

Check out the post on making fabric flowers or the How to make ribbon flower – tutorial for making the flowers yourself quite easily. Rosettes can also be adhered to the patch.

ribbon flower tutorial
Make ribbon flower and adhere to a backing

Method 9. Print the patches

You need to fuse an iron-on adhesive to the back of a cotton sheet before feeding it onto your inkjet printer. Adjust your printer settings to heavy paper settings and Print out the designs you have designed on the computer.

Checkout this post on inkjet fabric printing for more details 

Method 10. 3D Sew on Patches.

This kind of patches are made by stuffing a patch.

Sew two pieces of fabric (cut in the shape of your design) right sides together, outlining the design, leaving a 1″ hole. Turn the design right side out through the 1″ hole you have left unsewn. Stuff the inside of the design with scraps of fabric or felted wool, cotton, or stuffing. Sew the hole closed with slip stitches with a hand-sewing needle and thread.

Decorate the seams with beads, as in the picture below. This patch is sewn to the garment with small stitches. 

sew clothing patches -puffy ones
Puffy clothing patch

This is essentially a brooch – check out different ways (10) of making fabric brooches like this.

diy brooch making

Now, you have to sew your patch on to your clothing. Learn how to here :

Related posts : How to make rosettes; How to make fabric flowers

how to distress jeans adding lacefabric and trims


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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

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