Do you have any Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts or other scouts in your house? If you do, I am quite certain you have had to figure out how to get the patches on the vest or uniform. If you are like me, ironing them on doesn’t always work. I set out to figure out how to get the patches on to stay. I figured out how to sew on a patch and I have a tutorial for you! Yay!
Getting patches on a uniform really shouldn’t be that hard, but it seems that half the time when I iron them on, they end up looking like the patch in the picture above, half on half off. At least when I make the uniforms for our American Girl Dolls, those patches stay on! For the Girl Scout patches, I tried this magic sheet from the Girl Scout store that was supposed to get them on without ironing them or sewing, but that didn’t really work either.
I had heard of sewing them on, but sewing in a circle and changing thread colors for all the different color patches sounded about as fun as a root canal to me.
Then I heard (I don’t remember who told me or where I read the idea…sorry) that you could buy transparent thread and use it to sew the patches on. AhHa!!! That I can do. Then no one can see how badly I sewed the patch on and I don’t have to change thread for all the different patch colors.
I found the Coats Transparent thread (affiliate link) at my local JoAnn’s in the specialty thread section, got my sewing machine all set up and set to work sewing on the patches.
I quickly learned that sewing with the transparent thread was not a slam dunk in the easy department. You can see above how the thread got super messed up on the back of the patch. I did however figure out a few things that make it better than the alternatives. I’ve got the tips for you so you can use the method for all your patches this year.
On my machine, I needed to set the tension just slightly lower than my usual 3 setting. By setting the tension at 2 the thread seemed to not get tangled or break quite so much.
This was the biggest key for me. I had to keep the thread away for the end of the spool holder. I also had to watch that thread like a hawk. It tends to come off the spool more than other threads I have worked with. Then it easily gets tangled or stuck causing the thread to have too much tension and break or make the big mess on the back of the patches you saw above.
If I kept a watch on the thread here, not letting it get tangled and keeping it loose (like in the picture), and the tension at a 2, I was able to get the patches sewn onto the vest and the back of the patches looked good as well.
Still not totally perfect, but so much better then when I hadn’t figured out the tension and the thread getting stuck on the spool holder.
The fronts of the patches look really good. You can’t tell that I can’t sew a great circle to save my life! Problem solved. As much as this was a bit fussy, I will definitely be using this method to sew patches on vests for many years to come!
Do you have any tips or tricks for getting patches on vests? Please share! I would love to learn more tips for this oh so fun task. 😉