How to make an embroidered badge

Embroidered badges are a great way to lend distinction to a uniform or a garment worn while in the service of any kind of organisation--whether it's a scouting troop, the PTA, a camping and hiking team, or any other group of motivated people.

Decide on the themes of your badge. Choose the writing you want, as well as the image you want to feature. You can use writing, an image or a combination of the two. Keep the writing short and simple and the image minimal. Draw a few layouts of your badge, colouring it in to make sure your colours work, until you create the execution you think is the most effective.

Decide on your badge's size and shape. Draw your shape and add the text and/or image elements. Make sure they fit your specified shape and size. Choose the background colour of the badge. Make sure that the cotton twill you purchase for your badge is the colour you want for the background, and that it provides the right contrast for your embroidered elements. Carefully trace your badge onto a new plain piece of paper with a regular pencil. Turn the tracing over and colour the whole area with your pencil, making it as dark as you can. This tracing can now be used to transfer your badge image onto your cloth.

Place your cotton twill onto a flat surface and tape down with masking tape. Place your transfer on the twill. With a blunt-tipped pencil, trace the shape of the badge and every element in it. Gently lift the transfer. Your images and text should be transferred onto the cloth. If some of it is too faint, lightly fill in the missing details with a sharp pencil. Place your cloth into an embroidery hoop.

Thread the needle with embroidery floss and embroider your elements--your text and your images--over the pencil tracing. For larger badges you can thread your needle with three strands of floss to fill up spaces more quickly. For smaller badges you can use one or two strands of embroidery floss. After the text and design have been completed, satin stitch around the full border of your badge using stitches approximately 1/8 of an inch perpendicular to the line that marks the badge's border.

Take the cloth out of the embroidery hoop. With a pair of sewing scissors, very carefully cut out your badge, leaving 1/16 of an inch of fabric around your satin stitched border. Tear off a piece of waxed paper and place on a flat surface. Turn the badge over so that it is lying face down on the waxed paper. Place a very small amount of fabric glue all around the badge border and move it towards the centre of the badge back. Squeeze a few drops of glue on the back's centre and use the paintbrush to evenly coat the back of the badge with a very thin coat of glue. Dry. Sew badge onto garment.

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