HELLO, DEAR READERS!! Your pal Al here to give you the know-how to make embroidered patches (for yourself, your girl gang, your Galentine, et cetera) :-)
What you’ll need:
- Canvas. I like canvas for patches because it’s sturdy, but just about any other woven fabric will work, too.
- An embroidery hoop. These are in most fabric/craft stores. They come in different sizes, but a small one (four inches to six inches) will be big enough for most patches.
- A ballpoint pen
- Embroidery floss. You can buy colors individually or in packs at fabric and craft stores.
- An embroidery needle. They come in varied sizes, too, but what you really want to look out for is that the needle has an elongated eye so the embroidery floss will fit through it.
How to do it:
Embroidered patches are great because there are no preset templates: You can sew up whatever your little heart desires, be it your favorite snack, band, or even a monogram of your own name! The sky is the limit. Any idea will do. For this DIY, I’ll be going down the text route by sewing “ROOKIE,” but you can also sew a doodle. Once you draw/write/dream up your patch idea, YOU ARE READY TO GO!!!
Cut a portion of canvas that is larger than your hoop. Insert the cut canvas into your hoop by separating the hoop’s wooden or plastic circles and sandwiching the canvas between them. Pull the canvas taut and let the excess canvas hang around the hoop.
Grab that ballpoint pen and LIGHTLY draw/write out what you’d like your patch to be. This will the guideline for your stitches. *Don’t worry if you “mess up” your lines! This is not your final product!* I can’t tell ya how many times I’ve freaked out, thinking I ruined a whole patch before I even started sewing it. REMEMBER, you’re gonna cover this up with floss!
There are two basic stitches that I’m gonna use for my patch: the split stitch and the satin stitch. I’ll tell you how to do them both in just a sec.
Cut a piece of floss in the color of your choice. Make it however long you think you’ll need for the amount of space you’re going to cover (you can always cut more of that color of floss later if you need to). Each piece of floss is made of six strands of thread, and you’re gonna keep ’em all together. Thread your needle and tie a knot near the eye so the floss doesn’t slip out. Tie another knot at the end of your floss so it won’t run through your canvas while you’re stitching.
Make your first stitch! Hooray! This is going to be the beginning of a basic split stitch (Hannah has some tips on split stitching here, too), which I’ll use for most of this patch-to-be. The outline you drew will be your guide for where to stitch, but your starting point is up to you. Stick the needle through your canvas from the back side to the front side (the front side is where you drew your outline). After you pull the needle and floss through the canvas, the knot you made at the end of your strand of floss should be on the canvas’s back side. Do the same thing again, except in reverse—find a spot on the front side of your canvas, a little further down the outline, and push your needle and floss through to the back.
You made your first stitch!!! Do it again and again until you cover your outline! Each time, your new stitch will start at and go through the end of your last stitch that is furthest down the outline. It’s not as hard as it sounds! (And this guide is helpful if you need backup.)
Keep stitching until you cover the section of your outline that you wanted to make that color. (It should look something like the photo above.) Once you complete the section, tie a knot at the back of the canvas and cut the floss.
Repeat steps five through eight, alternating colors as you please!
Outline that there patch with a satin stitch border! Pull the needle through the canvas from the back to the front, like you would with the split stitch—except this time, line your stitches up so they’re stacked side-by-side, like in the picture above. Begin each stitch next to the far end of the last stitch, rather than through it. Continue this process all the way around your border (or whatever portion of your doodle you decide to satin-stitch) while keeping the stitches VERY close together.
Ages later, your border will be DONE. Be patient! I know it can be tiring but, hey, this process can also be incredibly relaxing. Don’t worry if your stitches aren’t *perfect*. It’s a hand-stitched patch, and the little mess-ups are the best part! Otherwise, a robot could do it. I decided to add some scattered split stitches in the inside of my border to jazz things up a bit (they’re the stitches in purple).
Here is what the front and back look like when the stitching is done!
Free your canvas from its little frame and cut it down to the size you’d like the patch to be.
YOU’VE DONE IT! I’m real proud of you! Wear that patch with panache. ♦