How To Sew A Patch On A Backpack

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By Alex McIl – Updated 15th June 2022

Backpacks can be a fantastic place to exhibit your favorite patches with whatever outfit you decide to model that day. It doesn’t matter if you bought your patch or made it yourself – everything works as long as you are satisfied!

How To Sew A Patch On A Backpack

Depending on the patch type, there are different ways to sew a patch on a backpack. You can ether glue your iron on patches or sew the regular ones (hand sewing, or using a sewing machine.

For iron on patches, you will need nothing more than a home iron and a piece of cotton fabric.

However, for sewing your patches, you will need a sewing needle or a sewing machine, a thimble (optional), safety pins, scissors, a clothing iron, and a press cloth. This is a more time consuming option, but for the old school lovers, this could be a fun way to beautify their backpack.

Steps to sewing patches on backpacks

Design or buy a patch

First, if you want to beautify your backpack with a patch, make sure you have the perfect one.

Many stores and online shops offer patches, but if you happen not to like any of them, you can always make a design yourself. You can even order a custom patch without going through the trouble of making one yourself. After all, it is all up to you and your creativity.

However, if you wish to design your custom patch, remember to select the proper patch type.

Choose a spot for your patch

Decide where you want to sew your patch. We recommend avoiding the seams because of their thickness – you will probably have some trouble stitching through them. Nonetheless, no one said it is impossible, so go for it if this is your wish.

Examine the type of your patch

Determine whether the patch’s backing can be heat-activated, as this will play a crucial role in the sewing process. If there is no heat-activated backing (it isn’t an iron on type of patch), you should proceed directly to ‘How to sew a patch on a backpack by hand/using a sewing machine’ after preparing your backpack.

Prepare your backpack

After washing and drying the backpack, spread it on a flat, hard surface, such as a table.

Also, this is a perfect time to put your sticker on the previously chosen spot on the backpack to make sure this is the place you want to sew it on.

Cover the patch area

Use a piece of cotton fabric to cover the area where you intend to sew your patch on a backpack.

Iron the cotton fabric

After preheating your iron to a cotton ironing setting, press the iron on the cotton fabric to heat up the backpack fabric.

Place the patch on a backpack

Remove the cotton cloth and place your patch on the heated backpack material.

Drape and iron the patch

Overlay the previously heated cotton material over the patch.

Push directly on the patch using a scorching iron for about 1 minute.

Remove the iron

Raise the iron to check if the patch is completely stuck on the backpack.

If it is loose somewhere, cover it with a cotton fabric and iron the patch again.

How To Sew A Patch On A Backpack By Hand

This is the most time consuming, but maybe the most original way for sewing your patch onto a backpack, so we are going to explain how you should do it in this step by step guide.

Pin your patch

After choosing your sticker and preparing the backpack, secure the patch using one or more fabric pins – stick the pin through both the patch and the backpack material and back through both again so that you can see the head of the needle and its point on the other end.

Although most patches have glue on the back, you can always move it when using the safety pins, making this a much safer option.

Choose the thread color

There are no rules when it comes to the color of the thread. You can pick the matching or contrasting color, depending on your liking. You can even choose the same color or use a different shade, it’s entirely up to you.

Prepare the threaded needle

Take one end of the thread, stick it through the eye of the needle and pull it to two even thread tails (the length of the tails depends on the size of the patch).

Take the thread tails and put them towards the back of the needle, and grab the connection spot with your thumb (you should basically make a circle of thread).

Take a thread, wrap it around the needle four times and pull it under your thumb. Hold the needle and drag your finger to the end of the thread – now you’ll have a knot at the end of the thread.

You can cut everything on the other side of the knot, so you wont have to do it in the end.

Sew your patch on a backpack

We highly recommend using a thimble when hand sewing as a matter of safety!

To start sewing, take the point of the needle and put it on the inside part of the backpack. You will have to gauge where your patch is on the front to push through the other side. Stitch back to the inner side, and so on, until you have sewed the entire patch.

This is essentially called a running stitch.

Try making a straight stitch along the patch border, if you can – we recommend sewing through the inner edge of the patch. A great thing about hand sewing is that you can always pull the needle out and get the right position for your stitch.

Make a simple overhand loop

When you have covered the entire edge of the patch and made sure that the patch stays sewed onto a backpack, go ahead and flip it to the inside of your bag – you should see the outline of your patch.

Make an overhand loop at the end of your stitch in a few steps:

Leave a small noose on the inside of the bag;

Get the needle through the loop from the outside of the bag;

Pull tight;

Repeat the process 3 to 4 times.

Final touch

Cut the rest of the thread.

Now you are done hand sewing your patch on a backpack!

How To Sew A Patch On A Backpack Using A Sewing Machine

If you happen to have a sewing machine at home and don’t want to glue your sticker, say hooray! In the next part of this step by step guide, we will briefly explain how to sew a patch on a backpack using a sewing machine.

Pin your patch on a backpack

Place your patch on the desired location on your backpack and secure it using fabric pins. You want to pin the patch to one layer of the backpack.

Leave the head of the pin to the right, so you can always pull them out easily while you are sewing.

Setup your sewing machine

You will want to use a zig-zag over a straight stitch when sewing a patch – this way will secure your patch

Make sure to adjust the wideness of the stitches so that they are not too wide for your patch size.

Make sure you are using a B foot when machine sewing.

Start sewing

Now that you have your stitch set and your B foot on, you are ready so sew.

Before making the first stitch, you should put your presser foot down.

Use a foot pedal to sew your patch.

Adjust your stitches

If you feel like you have to adjust the direction of your stitches, make sure that the needle is still in the backpack fabric when you move.

This will probably make your patch pop somewhere, so make sure you are still stitching through only one layer of the bag.

Stay close to the edge of the patch as much as you can – it is much easier to sew on a patch that has a straight edge, but anything can be done if you invest your time and energy a bit.

Make a back stitch

When you have finished sewing, make sure to make a back stitch – this way your patch will be strongly attached and without loose ends.

Trim excess thread

Most modern sewing machines have a cut option/button, but if yours doesn’t have one, there is a simple way to trim excess thread. Simply put your presser foot to its highest position, pull the thread and cut it off whit a pair of scissors or a cutter.

Frequently Asked Questions
✓ How can you attach a patch on a backpack?

There are 3 options: You either glue your patch onto a backpack or sew it using thread and needle or a sewing machine. The choice is all yours!

✓ What stitch is best for patches?

Depending on how you plan to attach your patch onto a backpack, you can use two types of stitches.

If you go with hand sewing your patch, you should probably use a straight stitch because it will be easier for you to sew. On the other hand, if you want to machine sew your patch, you should go ahead and make it more secure with a zig-zag stitch.

It is important to keep your stitch close to the edge of your patch, no matter the sewing option.

✓ Where should you sew patches?

It doesn’t really matter where you should sew patches onto a backpack. You can put them on the inside of your bag; you should only be careful and don’t make your loop visible on the outside. You can easily avoid this if you hand sew a patch onto a backpack because it’s much easier to control the backpack and patch movement while working.

✓ Should you put a patch on a new backpack?

If you don’t like your new bag because it is too plain, you can always make a couple of stitches and attach some cool patch onto it. We don’t recommend gluing anything on a new backpack because you can’t take it off later; You can always cut the stitches off without anyone noticing!

✓ What to do if the patch is too thick?

If you have a problem hand sewing your patch because it’s too thick, you can ether glue it on a backpack or use a machine to sew it on; If there is no glue on the back of the patch, and you don’t have a machine at home, try reaching someone who possesses one, or going to the tailor to ask for help. Try not to waste your time trying to hand sew the thick patch onto a bag, because you will have trouble to push the needle through both the material and the sticker.