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Are you tired of losing your child’s iron-on scout badges? But do you also cringe at the thought of hand sewing badges instead? Never fear!
I’ve got some tips for you that will help you hand sew them all on without getting murderous thoughts.
My daughter’s troop is very active and she ends up with a LOT of badges. I kid you not- I had over 50 badges to sew on her brownie vest this year alone. And she still has her second year to go.
All of the badges are of the iron-on variety. At first, this seems great because, I mean, who wants to sew all of those onto a vest? Not me! Iron-on sounds like a dream! Well, it turns out that it is a dream. I tried so hard to avoid sewing on my daughter’s patches, and just iron them all on. I really wanted the iron-on technique to work. At one point, I even added “stitch witchery,” an extra layer of iron-on stuff to the backs of the badges in the hopes of making them stick better.
But alas, we just kept having patches fall off. Girl scouts can be very active and wild while wearing their vests.
I had been lucky enough to always find them when that happened- until a few weeks ago. That lost patch that I now have to buy again was the last straw.
I was procrastinating on hand sewing the badges until yesterday because when I tried to do it, I had a really hard time getting a needle to go through them. I poked myself a lot and was covered in band-aids before I finally figured out three wonderful tips that worked great for me.
These tips helped me finish hand sewing the badges faster with fewer needle stabs (and no band-aids!), no more broken needles, no worrying about thread colors, and a 100% staying power success rate. No more lost badges!!!
So what are these 3 awesome tips for hand sewing badges?
Read on to find out.
Tip #1: Don’t sew through the thick edging of the patch.
This will kill your fingers- and your needles. Trying to sew through the thick edging of the badges is so difficult! It’s what caused me to constantly poke myself with the needle- and break the needles.
Instead: Do sew tiny stitches further inside the thick edging of the patch.
I had read another blog about sewing on patches that said to match the thread as closely as possible to the thick thread around the edge of the badge, then periodically sew little loops around it. I tried that and it was so hard to do! If the needle went through the existing edge thread at all, I had the worst time getting the needle all the way through. I broke a few needles this way. Plus, if the color was off at all, it was obvious.
You can see my attempt at matching the thread. Even so, the loops are still quite obvious.
So instead, I decided to try sewing the patch on further inside that thick edging, still near the edges but through the much thinner part of the badge. This tip kept me from pricking myself constantly and solved the problem of the difficulty in getting the needle through the patch.
I sewed inside that outer edge of thick thread, and made tiny stitches on the visible side of the patch and big stitches on the inside of the vest to cover more ground faster.
The tiny stitches on the visible side of the badge were completely invisible on the white backgrounds and on other colors!
That brings me to my second tip about thread colors.
Tip #2: Don’t worry about matching the thread with the patch.
This requires buying a lot of spools of thread that you may or may not need for anything else ever.
Instead: Use any color thread that you have available.
You can use any color thread you have available if you make tiny stitches on the front of the badges when you’re sewing them on.
I was able to sew on all of my daughter’s patches with white thread – even if the badge didn’t have white on it!
Though I found that white works best with lighter colored badges, and black or brown works best with darker badges.
And this next and final tip is another big time-saver when hand sewing badges.
Tip #3:Don’t sew all the way around every patch.
If you’re hand sewing and trying to ensure that the stitching is nearly invisible, this will take forever!
Instead: Sew just one or two sides of a badge to keep it from falling off.
You can sew just one side and not all the way around the patch, and it’ll still stay on great and prevent any losses.
If you notice that a badge is starting to come up around other edges due to the failure of the iron-on, you can always add a few more tiny stitches later.
If you have badges lined up next to each other, you can go back and forth with your stitches to save time as well.
Close-up of the badges “showing” the invisible tiny stitches:
And the best part- no worrying about those iron-on patches falling off anymore!
Give these tips a try and let me know how you like them. Or please share your own badge tips in the comments below.