How do I sew on the patch now? - Have you ever wondered after you bought a patch from the cool band at the gig (or online)? This blog post is mainly about simple screen-printed patches made of fabric because embroidered patches, which often have an iron-on coating, are a bit different. Regardless of whether you have a sewing machine at your disposal or not, here you will definitely find an option that suits your taste and which, in my experience, will hold. [Translation and update of an older post in German.]
The classic - and the easiest - is to sew the patch with open edges and white thread by hand. I use star twine, which (depending on the material) can also be found under the name linen twine or button thread because it is sturdy and has a nice thickness for the decorative stitches. Some punks swear by floss. It is definitely very tear-resistant, but I have never tried sewing with it. You can also find it in black sometimes, so you're not limited to white.
Fix the patch in the desired place with 2-4 pins. If you don't have any, use safety pins. A thimble is recommended for thick fabrics, definitely with genuine leather. Then you should also use a leather needle. Otherwise, like with my synthetic leather jacket, regular hand sewing needles are no problem. At the moment, I really like to vary the stitches a bit in length and direction and to cross them every now and then. Get creative! It's not meant to look perfect - quite the opposite, really.
When there is enough fabric and you want it to look a bit neater, you can fold the edges inwards, so they don't fray. To make sewing more straightforward for you, it's a good idea to iron the edges down beforehand. Make sure not to iron on the motif, but preferably from the back. Here, I sewed with a thread of the same colour and even diagonal stitches. This is also good for difficult positions, e.g. where the machine would sew pockets or lining together.
With the sewing machine
With the sewing machine, it is easiest to iron the edges (described above) and sew on the patch just along the border with a straight stitch. When you have reached a corner, first lower the needle into the fabric, then lift your foot and turn the piece so nothing can slip. If you are unsure, you can first sew around the edges and then attach the patch to the garment.
You can use standard sewing thread for the sewing machine, but you should adjust the needle to the thickness of the fabric. For relatively thin patches on medium-heavy material (e.g. a sweater), I use the 80s. For everything else, I use the 90s. If the patch fabric is particularly thick or denim, a 90 or 100 denim needle is better, as with the white vest. Another tip for pinning: I always pin next to the motif because it can remain visible with some prints.
If the fabric has been cut a little close to the design and you cannot (or do not want to) fold it, you should use a zigzag stitch. On the left side, the needle goes into the patch, on the right, directly next to it. This way, the fabric cannot tear, as happened to me with the Magnificent7 patch before I sewed it on with the zigzag stitch. Otherwise, the same sewing tips apply here as for number three. I like the frayed look, and the thicker the fabric, the fluffier it gets.
If you want it to be quick and you still want an effect similar to the hand-sewn patches, take a look at the different stitches on your sewing machine. Even with basic models, some look great with contrasting coloured yarn. Here I tried a few on fabric scraps: the triple stitch in white and a very tight zigzag in red. The blue one is actually for a blind stitch hem, and the green one shows two more decorative stitches.
How do you sew your patches on? I like the look with the white hand stitches best, but I'm too lazy to sew all the patches on like that. :) You can find my patch designs here.