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Spruce Up Your Wardrobe with Embroidered Patches


Over spring break, I've gotten really into embroidery, specifically making embroidered patches that I can sew onto jackets. While this may seem impressive or like it takes a lot of skill, it's actually surprisingly easy once you know the basics. Here's a tutorial on how to make your own embroidered patches:

You will need:

- Embroidery hoop

- Embroidery needles (often called chenille needles, but you don't have to specifically buy chenille needles, any needle with a large eye and a thin, sharp body will do)

- Embroidery floss

- Scissors (to cut fabric and thread)

- Fabric (to embroider on. I use canvas, but pretty much any fabric is okay as long as the weave isn't too loose)

- Pencil (to draw your design onto the fabric)

- Patience! Embroidery isn't hard, but it does take a long time. I do my embroidery on the bus or when I'm waiting in line for things, to pass the time. Try doing a little bit a day over a period of time if you don't have the patience to sit down for hours.

Extras (you don't need these, but they help):

- Thimble (helps when you need to push a needle through a spot with a lot of resistance without hurting your hand and fingers)

- Needle puller (helps when you need to pull a needle through a spot with a lot of resistance, but honestly, just wrapping your fingers in fabric should be good)

- Fabric Chalk/Water-soluble pen (a fancier, slightly better alternative to drawing on your fabric with a pencil. However a pencil should work fine)

- Measuring tape (for measuring the dimensions of your fabric and/or embroidery)

- Heat-bond: You'll need this if you want to make iron-on patches instead of sewing them on. See the patch-making tutorial below for instructions on how to apply.

Where to find: I got my hoops from my mother, so I don't know where a good place to buy them would be; however, Amazon or your local fabric store should be a safe bet. For scissors, embroidery floss, needles, thimbles, measuring tape, and water-soluble pens, I got mine all from Daiso. If you're just starting out, Daiso is great: everything there is just $1.50! Sure, some of it is a little cheaply made compared to the stuff at an actual fabric store, but if you're just starting out and care more about cost than quality, Daiso is a great choice. I don't actually use heat-bond myself, since I sew on my patches, but I'm sure you can pick some up at a craft store, like Michael's.

Now that you have your materials, you're ready to learn the basic stitches of embroidery with this simple YouTube tutorial:

Once you know how to do the stitches, find out how to make your completed embroidery into a patch using this tutorial:

This tutorial is for making iron-on patches; that is, you iron them on instead of sewing them onto your clothes of choice. This is nice because more people have irons and know how to iron than sew, and you don't have to worry about finding matching thread to sew the patch on without seeing the stitches. However, I prefer to sew on patches, because from my experience iron-on patches are insecure and tend to peel off. Plus, once you iron on a patch, it's there to stay, whereas you can just cut off a sewn on patch if you need to remove it or want to put it on a different piece of clothing.

Happy embroidering!

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