Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tutorial: Sewing on ABU Patches Part 1

It's time for new uniforms and that means patches.   Lots and lots of patches!  Now we usually take them to the alterations place, but after they charged me $7 to sew a teeny tiny patch onto my hubby's hat, I vowed that I would learn to do it myself!  Plus, he does so much for our family and I am so proud of him, it is the least I can do. 

Now if you want to save some money and do it yourself too I have to warn you that it can be tedious.  BUT don't be discouraged!!  Just think of all the money you will save.  It took me lots and lots of tries, lots of trial and error to finally get it right and I thought I would show you a few tips so you won't be as frustrated as I was!

Let's start with the easiest of the patches.  The name and the Air Force ones. 
Now when it comes to thread I was really paranoid about it matching perfectly until I looked at a few of his old uniforms.  I realized that the alterations place just used thread that matched and blended well.  One of his jackets even had two different colors [the ranks on the collar were in green and the name ones were in silver].  I chose the tan color and no one has said anything to him about it so I am going to keep using it.  Thanks to amazon I got a life supply for $5 [in case he chooses the military as his career hehe].

So enough chit chat and lets get started.  These ones go on the right side and the last name ones go on the left.

Center the writing right above the pocket so it is touching and pin it.  You can measure it to make sure the AIR FORCE print is perfectly centered but I just eyeball it. 

Fold over the left side flap so that the edges match and lets get sewing.

You will want to sew down the bottom of the patch first.  I learned the hard way if you do the top, it could shift and it might not be touching the pocket anymore.

When sewing remember that this is not a marathon!  Take it slow and easy.  I even use the handwheel instead of my pressure foot to start so I don't mess up.   Don't forget to back stitch.

Sew down about halfway or a little further than halfway [slowly]. 
Now fold over the other end so it lines up with the pocket and sew to the corner.  Again use the handwheel and slowly turn it with your hand to make sure you don't sew too far or you will have to start over!

Once you reach the corner you will have to pivot.  If you don't pivot correctly you will end up with one pesky loose thread and yup have to start over.

Watch my needle carefully hehe.  Bring your needle down....

And I mean all the way down!  Make sure it is, move your foot up and pivot so you can sew down the next side. To see the pictures of the pivot you have to go to Part 2.  Soweeeee....

Three more pivots and you are finished!!

TADA!  Yeay for me, only four more of these left.  Stay tuned for part two where we will tackle the pesky little patches.


  1. LOL This is what I've been doing past few days! I've finished about 10 uniforms, I still have about 11 more to do!! If you can't tell I'm doing it for the whole shop LOL I charge for it though..
    One thing I do differently - I lay the patch above the pocket, mark where it needs to be folded, remove it, press it and then sew it on, works for me :)

  2. Thank you so much for this! I have been searching how to do my husband's patches and was so afraid I would mess them up!

  3. "These ones go on the right side and the last name ones go on the left." According to my son - and every image I can find online - you've got the directions mixed up. It looks like you sewed it correctly with the last name on the RIGHT side and the U.S. Air Force on the LEFT side, but you just wrote it wrong. Thought I'd point that out so you won't confuse anyone else! ;-)

  4. I'm on the hunt for a sewing machine so I can do this for mine and my husband's uniforms. Any recommendations on things to look for in a machine so I can do this??

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