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How to Sew Patches, Badges & Labels

When you have patches, badges or labels that you would like to sew on to an item of clothing it can be difficult to know where to begin. There are so many stitches and fabric choices that it is important to pick the correct technique to avoid damaging the fabric or the patch you are sewing.

No matter if you are planning to sew by hand or with your trusty sewing machine, this guide is here to help. From discovering the correct haberdashery to knowing what stitches to use and when, we’re here to help.

How to sew badges and patches

When receiving a new patch or badge you may be tempted to resort to fabric glue instead of sewing, but fabric glue can warp the shape of the patch and underlying fabric over time as well as losing its stick when put through a wash cycle. Sewing badges and patches is much more secure, and when done correctly can last for years.

Sewing Patches and Badges with a Bound Edge

Bound edges are common in badges and some patches, and they can be challenging to sew through as the edges are so tightly bound. As sewing through the bound edge can either break the needle of a machine or leave you with sore fingers after trying to push the stitches through, the best options are usually to stitch alongside the bound edge, or over the edges.

If you are planning to hand stitch a badge with a bound edge then a whip stitch may be your best option. This will be your best option if you are trying to sew onto a pocket that your sewing machine can’t reach.

Sewing a patch or badge with a bound edge using a machine is quicker if you have multiple to sew at any given time. Choose a zig-zag stitch and set it so the stitches are landing on either side of the bound edge, securing it without trying to sew through the edge itself, which could break your sewing machine needle.

If your sewing machine is an older model, or a straight stitch is your preferred stitch, stitch along the inside of the edge using a similar colour to the background of the badge or patch. 

Sewing onto knitted fabric

Knit fabrics are made of interwoven loops, making them more flexible and stretchy than woven fabrics. If you are looking to sew patches on woollen jumpers you should make sure you have a sturdy backing or interfacing on the inside of your fabric to hold your knitted fabric firm and ensure no warping of the fabric happens mid-stitch.

For any internal stitching on knitted fabrics, an overlock sewing machine would be helpful, however for an external addition to your knitted item you could use any sewing machine as long as the fabric will fit. The interfacing will provide a strong background to your stitches, allowing you more options when it comes to choosing your stitches.

Knitted fabric is more delicate than woven fabric in that it is very easy to pull or cut a stitch accidentally. First, pin your interfacing onto the inside of your knitted garment. 

Next, try using a jersey or ballpoint needle, the rounded tip won’t snag on any knitted fibres. If you don’t have a ballpoint needle to hand try out the needles you do have on an inconspicuous area of your fabric to test out which works best for you.

Finally use a stretch stitch or zig-zag stitch along the edges of your patch or badge, the zig-zag format works against the natural elasticity of your knitted fabric. You may want to test different stitch lengths on a hidden piece of your fabric first to make sure you get it right when you begin sewing the patch.

How to sew labels onto garments

Knowing how to sew on clothing labels can be useful if you have started to make clothing, either as a hobby or to sell. Labels remind people of where they found your brand, or what the washing instructions for that particular item are.

Hand stitching a clothing label

Hand stitching a clothing label is more delicate than using a sewing machine might be. Firstly you should find your smallest needle and thread for the task, you want your label to look seamless. 

Positioning your label should be an easy task. If you are looking to sew a neckline label, measure an equal distance between the shoulders, or line it up with pre-existing buttons or zips. Once you have found your ideal label position, pin it in place to secure it.

Start stitching your label by adding secure stitches to the two top corners of the label. If you’re planning to completely secure the label on all four sides you can add secure stitches to all four corners at this point.

Now you can border stitch along the sides you wish to secure. To create a secure border you can use a variety of border stitches, from a regular running stitch to more decorative stitches such as a blanket stitch, they’re easy to learn.

Hand stitching is a great way to secure a label, but if you plan to stitch multiple labels a machine may save you time.

Machine sewing clothing labels

Sewing labels using a machine is much faster if you are looking at stitching multiple labels at the same time. 

To be able to sew your label with a sewing machine your label needs to be big enough for the stitch length of your machine, if the label is smaller than the foot of your sewing machine you will not be able to hold it in place as you stitch. If your labels are too small you can hand stitch the corners of your label to secure it before running it under your sewing machine, this will prevent it from moving around.

When using a sewing machine to label clothing there are a few things to remember:

  • Always run a piece of scrap fabric through your machine first, you don’t want to find out there’s an issue with your sewing machine mid-labelling.
  • Lock in your ends. When you begin to run your label under the sewing machine lock the first corner in with a few backstitches before continuing to forward stitch. Repeat this process when you reach the end of your label, it helps to make sure each corner is secure.

Shop Sewing Machines and Haberdashery with Sewing Direct

Discover our range of sewing machines and haberdashery products at Sewing Direct to help you complete your sewing projects with ease. If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch with our helpful team for help with any questions or queries you may have.

Sewing Direct Beeston
133 High Road, Beeston, Nottingham, NG9 2LL
Email: -Info@sewingdirect.co.uk
Sewing Direct Mansfield aka Sally Twinkle
1-5 Handley Arcade, Mansfield, NG18 1NQ
Email: -shop@sallytwinkle.co.uk
Are both a trading name of Sewing Direct Midlands Limited
Registered in England & Wales, Company number: 14625487
Registered Office 133 High Road, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 2LL
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