Hand sew badges the easy way with a few quick tips – no thimbles or pliers, no cussing or stabbing, and no sewing machine required. Just easy and painless.
sewing is best
Really, there’s no better way than sewing. “magic” products are expensive, messy, and don’t work. Ironing is temporary. Stapling and pinning works but isn’t pretty. Sewing is always the best to get your patches on your uniform and keep them there. While I’m partial to machine-sewing because it’s much faster, cleaner, and easier than hand-sewing, sometimes hand-sewing is all you’ve got. So here’s how to hand sew badges the easy way.
hand sewing badges doesn’t have to be hard
Yet, hand-sewing badges is often difficult. Because they can be so thick, they are virtually impossible to sew *through* without using pliers or thimbles, or cussing and stabbing yourself. It sucks.
but there is an easier way
So … don’t sew *through* them, sew *around* them. Here’s how:
You need any kind of needle, so long as it’s long and sturdy enough for you to hold and push on. It’s good to have a variety pack on hand, like the one below. I sometimes use thread that matches the patches or vest color, but I especially like clear thread. It doesn’t show when you mess up and you don’t have to change colors for each patch. You could choose to get thread of every color so you’re always prepared to perfectly match every patch (I don’t; I just use clear thread.) And a pair of scissors, any kind.
I’m starting with this junior badge, a regular embroidery needle, and some bright orange embroidery floss. The floss is overkill for this project – I chose it only so you can see it clearly in these pictures. I’m going to show you how to hand sew badges on using a scrap piece of daisy tunic.
thread and tie
Thread your needle using at least about 18 inches of thread (or more), then match the ends and tie a knot in the end. This way the thread can’t slip out of the needle. Nothing here has to be perfect or fancy. I tie a knot in the end like you’re tying a balloon. Do that.
choose a spot for your badge
Pick where you want the badge to go. I use a pen and outline it in place. This will help you keep the badge straight when putting the stitches in.
You want to make your first stitch starting from the inside of the uniform – you want the knot you made to be hidden on the inside. So, push the needle from the inside towards the outside of the uniform, just inside the circle you drew. Pull the needle all the way through until the knot catches and all your thread is on the front.
Then line your badge up on top of your traced area. It should be just touching the thread or so.
here’s the trick!
Okay, so far nothing revolutionary. But here’s the real trick. DON’T SEW THROUGH THE BADGE! No wonder people tell me hand sewing hurts or they have to get out pliers and thimbles and what not, or they resort to expensive sticky goo products. Instead, pick up just a few threads from the embroidered border with your needle, and then go right back through the vest fabric alone.
The stitch is nearly invisible! And that’s even with using this thick bright orange thread. It’s a miracle – and it was EASY.
If you flip the badge up, you’ll see your tracing. Pick another spot on your shape that’s about one-fifth to one-fourth of the way around your badge and make another stitch just like the first one. Working just inside your drawn shape will keep the thread as hidden as possible.
Now, you want to go around the badge, repeating this stitch about 4-5 times depending on the size of the badge. Whatever it takes to make it as secure as you want it to be. It’s up to you!
Keep going until you have about 4-5 stitches, or until you feel the badge is secure. Now you’ll want to cut and tie. But wait! First make sure your needle and thread are on the inside of the vest – you don’t want an ugly knot or dangly threads on the front of the uniform.
Cut your thread about 4-5 inches away from your fabric to give yourself plenty of room to tie a knot. You know that first step in tying shoes, where you cross the shoestrings, and then pull one through the cross. Do that – separate your thread plys and tie them together like shoelaces. Repeat it a couple times for strength. No fancy knots needed. You can cut any remaining threads from either your starting or ending knots.
did you know i will sew for you?
Mail-In Uniform Service
check your back
this works on anything
You can use this method to hand sew badges and patches of any kind onto any vest or other item – as long as it has any kind of embroidery you can grab onto.