How to Sew on a Patch

A patch sewn onto denim

The Spruce Crafts/Stacy Fisher

Overview
  • Working Time: 20 - 40 mins
  • Total Time: 20 - 40 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

Learn how to sew on a patch in less than an hour with this tutorial. We'll go through each step of the process, from threading your needle to tying off your thread. This is an easy hand-stitching technique that even a beginner can handle. You can add your patch to your jeans, bag, jacket, or anywhere else you'd like it to go. Whether you're covering a tear, or just adding some flair, keep reading to find out how to sew on a patch.

You'll be using the backstitch in this project.

Tip

Choose a hand quilting thread or jeans thread for extra durability. These threads are much stronger than traditional cotton or polyester thread.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Sewing pins or Iron
  • Sewing needle
  • Scissors

Materials

  • Patch (sew-on or iron-on)
  • Piece of clothing, bag, or fabric
  • Thread

Instructions

  1. Decide Where Your Patch Is Going

    The first thing you want to do is decide exactly where you want your patch to go. Is it covering a tear? Are you looking to place it on a knee or elbow? Decide where you'd like to sew it on. If you are covering up a tear, this is a good time to make sure that the patch is large enough to cover the hole or rip.

  2. Clean Up Tear

    If you're covering up a tear, you need to clean it up before you start to sew your patch on. Cut off any of the white threads and fluff that may appear around the tear.

    A tear in a pair of jeans

    The Spruce Crafts/Stacy Fisher

  3. Pin or Iron Down the Patch

    Look at the back of your patch. If it looks shiny or has a thin paper covering it, it's an iron-on patch. That means that, in theory, you can just iron on the patch and go. However, once you do laundry a few times, iron-on patches will come off. That's why it's a great idea to sew down even iron-on patches.

    An iron-on patch is handy while you're placing it for sewing. Follow the directions included with the patch and iron it on. This will hold it in place while you sew it on for extra durability.

    If you have a sew-on patch, you'll want to use sewing pins to pin down the patch. This is going to be awkward because the patch is so thick. Use as few pins as you can to pin down the patch.

    A patch pinned onto denim

    The Spruce Crafts/Stacy Fisher

  4. Thread Your Needle

    Time to start sewing on your patch! Pick out a thread that matches or contrasts the color of your patch, depending on the look that you're going for. (A contrasting thread color is used here.) Grab your needle and thread and thread your needle. Double up on the thread and tie a knot at the end.

    Tip

    You can also use embroidery thread and a blanket stitch to attach a patch.

    A threaded needle with a patch

    The Spruce Crafts/Stacy Fisher

  5. Start Your Backstitch

    Start your backstitch by pushing the needle up through the fabric and the patch, and bring it all the way through so the knot is on the wrong side. You can start sewing anywhere on your patch.

    You may run out of thread as you're stitching down your patch. That's okay, just knot it off and pick up where you left off with a new thread.

    A knot in the back of denim

    The Spruce Crafts/Stacy Fisher

  6. Continue Stitching

    Make a backstitch by pushing your needle into the fabric and patch about 1/4 inch to the right from where your needle came up before. Push all the way through.

    Now come up with the needle 1/4 of an inch to the left of your first stitch. Put your needle back down into the hole where you first started.

    Continue backstitching until you've reached the point where you started. Remove any pins as you come to them.

    Tip

    If your patch is pinned down, you'll need to be extra careful that it stays in place. Every few stitches, make sure that it's still in the spot you'd like it to be.

    Stitching down a patch

    The Spruce Crafts/Stacy Fisher

  7. Finish Your Backstitch

    After you've backstitched all the way around the patch, it's time to tie it off. Knot your thread tightly on the backside of the fabric. You can double- or even triple-knot it for extra security.

    Tip

    Still worried about the patch not being secure? You can backstitch around it multiple times to make sure it will stay put.

    Knotting off the thread

    The Spruce Crafts/Stacy Fisher

  8. Cut Your Threads

    After you've tied your knot, you're ready to cut your threads. You're now ready to show off that new patch! Since you sewed it on, you won't have to worry about it coming off in the wash. The only way this patch is coming off is if you decide to remove it.

    A patch sewed onto a pair of jeans

    The Spruce Crafts/Stacy Fisher