In elementary school, I’m sure you had that one kid who would always read ahead of the class…I’m that kid. I also have a bad habit of reading the last few pages of a book before I start it.
I had to make sure Harry lived ’til the end. Or, that is to say, I might have sewed ahead of you…Oops?
But, to make up for it, I’ve got a great tutorial all about making simple patches. Trust me, this is definitely a sewing skill I use often. It comes in handy, no matter if I’m patching a friend’s jeans or mending a hole in Husbands uniform.
To start, you’ll need:
- an embroidery hoop (not absolutely necessary, but it helps)
- fabric (obviously)
- embroidery needles
- embroidery floss
- regular needle and thread (or a sewing machine)
- a design (if you’re unsure how to find one, I wrote up a bit about how I create embroidery patterns from coloring pages here)
All set? Start by placing your fabric into the hoop. The more taut your fabric is, the easier it will be to stitch. I usually pin my design onto my fabric and just dive in. That’s the end of the tutorial!
Just kidding. Find the rest of the tutorial after the jump!
A brief note about fabric: I’m using lots of scraps to jazz up my bag. The mint green is a nice fleece, while the other pieces are largely cotton or cotton blends. Some fabrics are going to be sturdier than others. Wool or denim is harder to sew through (for me, anyway), but can add a bit of durability to your designs. I would recommend quilters cotton or cotton blend fabrics for the patches. But! This is your bag, so sew it as you want!
Once you have your hoop prepared and your needle threaded, go ahead and pin your design to the fabric. Before you start stitching, double check that you have a strong knot at the end of your thread. To start your design, pull your needle from the back through the front as shown. Move your needle about (or less than) a quarter of an inch and push your needle through the front to the back. This is the beginning of what’s called a split stitch.
I almost always stick with the split stitch, mainly because it’s easy and stays secure.You have your first stitch started; start the second by pulling the needle from the back up through the middle of your first stitch as shown in the bottom photo. Continue laying down stitches until you reach the end of your design. See, easy peasy! Take a tip from me: the tighter and smaller your stitches are, the stronger your design will be. There’s nothing worse than having your thread catch on clothing or something.
Looking at multiple tutorials really helps me; Sublime Stitching has a great illustration that explains the split stitch very well.
When your design is stitched, you can tear off the paper. Start slowly. If your stitches are small, then the paper should pull away pretty easy. To get smaller pieces of paper out of the design, I simply use cosmetic tweezers. Now, you have an embroidered image or word. Yippee! Turn your piece into a patch by cutting it into a shape. As you can see, I chose to cut mine in a hexagonal shape. Do make sure to leave a quarter of an inch or so to fold over. This way, all your raw edges will be tucked away.
Now you have the tools to start making your patches. To attach them to the bag, I used a needle and thread and ran a simple running stitch along the edges. I’m on the fence still about going over it with embroidery floss.
In the beginning, I thought my bag would have no embroidery on the physical bag itself. That clearly is not what happened! The mix was nice to work with, though. I’ve also chosen to attach some of the buttons I collected at PLA; leaving your patch design-free is a great way to showcase a favorite fabric or accessory. So far, sew good! (I couldn’t help it).
Any guesses as to what book I’ve chosen as my inspiration? I fell in love with it years ago after it was recommended to me by a library friend.
As always, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask! I love helping!
Next week, I’ll walk you through how I strengthened the bottom and sewing a bag liner. And don’t forget to follow along on social media using #theccsewalong!