Designing original ideas for embroidery patches and then transferring the designs onto your embroidery machine in order to produce them follows a specific set of guidelines. The design process allows you to sketch freely and develop your vision of what the patch will ultimately look like. Making your embroidered patch, however, does require preset parameters built into your embroidery machine and specific steps in order to make your design concept come to life.
Draw your design on tracing paper or your sketch pad. Your embroidery machine has preset sizing embroidery parameters that cannot be altered. Keep this in mind while developing your patch to avoid having to redesign your embroidery.
Colour your sketch with coloured pencils depicting your embroidery thread type and placement. This is crucial in order to execute your patch. For example, using a polyester thread will give a sheen to your embroidery while a mercerised cotton thread will give a uniform matt finish to the embroidered patch. By inserting a colortwist thread, you will be able to achieve a two-tone embroidery with one thread type.
Stitch examples of your embroidery stitches on a piece of scrap fabric. This will help you visually select your stitch transitions within your patch. Although you can use one type of stitch throughout your design, you can add interest by mixing two to three stitches. The embroidery stitches will have to be selected from your built-in embroidery stitch selector wheel.
Stitch your patch's embroidery frame on your fabric scrap. The term frame refers to your patch's border, which ultimately encases your patch. This border stitch has a high stitch count and usually will have a raised surface. The surface texture will depend on the type of stitch you select for your patch's frame. It is best to begin with a geometric shape such as a circle, rectangle or square.
Draw your sketch onto your project fabric with your tailor's chalk. Although you can cut out the shape and directly trace it onto your material, it is best to have a separate sketch to refer to while embroidering your patch. Make a light marking with your tailor's chalk on your fabric to show colour, thread and stitch changes.
Measure your patch's width and height. Refer to your machine's hoop attachment size prior to cutting your fabric. For example, if your hoop has an 8-inch diameter and your patch measures 4 inches by 6 inches, do not cut your fabric to your patch's dimensions. You will not be able to hoop the fabric in order to embroider. The hoop is a separate attachment used to hold the fabric in place during the embroidery process.
Select a fabric that will be able to sustain high needle puncture marks, a high stitch count and density. This is very important. Most patches are completely embroidered. By using the incorrect fabric type, your embroidery can produce warping, puckering, skipped and broken stitches as well as fabric shifting, which will result in an uneven embroidered patch.
Attach your stabiliser. This is a separate sheet that stabilises your fabric while you are embroidering and also prevents your fabric from shifting, resulting in uneven stitches. Although there are a variety of stabiliser types and weights available, it is important to remember that the lighter your fabric, the heavier the stabiliser sheet should be; the heavier your fabric, the lighter the stabiliser.
Hoop your fabric to your machine's hoop attachment. Add your stabiliser to your hoop. The position of your stabiliser will depend on the type of fabric you have selected. For example, a napped fabric will require you to set the stabiliser on top of the fabric. This will prevent the loops or pile from separating and spreading. For a heavyweight twill fabric, you can place the stabiliser on the back of the fabric and spray a light coating of temporary adhesive to hold in place while you embroider. Make sure the fabric is taut to avoid any skipped, broken or uneven stitches as well as a misaligned frame.
Embroider your patch's pattern and then finish by framing the pattern. This embroidery order will ensure that your design is encased. Cut your excess fabric and loose threads as close as possible to your border's frame with scissors or a rotary cutter. Your embroidered patch is complete.
You can opt to add a double-sided fusible tape to the back side of your patch in order to iron it onto your garment.
Stitch your completed frame on fabric scrap prior to using your project material.
Tips and warnings
- Stitch your completed frame on fabric scrap prior to using your project material.
Things you need
- Fabric: medium weight for embroidery stitches
- Tracing paper or sketch pad
- Tailor's chalk (preferably two separate colours)
- Embroidery stabiliser (weight according to your fabric weight)
- Temporary adhesive spray (optional)
- Embroidery machine's hoop attachment
- Rotary cutter (optional)
- Heavy-duty iron-on double sided fusible tape