How To Sew On A Patch On A Backpack

Learning how to sew on a patch on a backpack can be very technical and quite challenging for the beginner sewers who never sew a single patch. The patch is a symbolic piece of art that can make your backpack even meaningful and unique. We have all seen them before.

Someone who has a backpack full of patches can help you instantly determine who they are. For example:

  • The frequent traveler.
  • The frequent concert-goer.

They all tend to have one thing that is common to them, a backpack full of patches showing where they have been or who they have seen.

Nothing showcases one personality than with patches either on a backpack or a jacket.

So if you are looking to customize your backpack, we have come up with a tutorial to help get you started.

Different Patching Methods

Different Patching Methods

Iron Patch

Ironing is one way that you can attach a patch. But be careful nylon melts. You must make sure that the temperature is right or risk ruining the patch. There is also the risk of the patch eventually falling off as the fabric flexes when used. But that will mostly depend on the adhesive.

Most patches are adhesive. By examining the back of the patch, you can determine if the patch is heat-activated. Most patches have a layer of coating that attached on the back of the patch and it normally cover hte stiches. They might come with different thickness. 

If there is only embroidery thread present and no backing, your patch is sew-only. (a sewable glue stick can be used to help hold the patch in place while stitching).

A patch that has an adhesive back can be semi-permanently placed on the cloth before stitching — using a very hot iron and press cloth, place the patch on the fabric where it will be stitched.

Make sure that it is squared and in the right position that it will be stitched. Although it is a temporary measure to hold the patch, you will still want it set precisely where you will sew the patch. 

Semi-sticking a patch helps you in the long run because it can be difficult to sew a patch into place, especially where there are existing seams that you might have to sew through. The extra support that is given using adhesive on a patch helps because if sewn on correctly your patch will last a very long time.

Sewing a Patch

If you have a patch that is not adhesive, you will need to use a needle and thread to sew around the edge of the patch.

Start by poking your needle up through the back of the fabric ( underneath the patch). You can then thread your needle with about 18 inches of thread. It’s better to start with a longer thread and cut it down to size later.

Bring your needle back up through the fabric, making sure to catch the edge of the patch as you go. You want to make small, consistent stitches all the way around the edge of the patch.

Once you have gone all the way around, poke your needle back down through the fabric to the back side. Make a few stitches on the back side of the fabric to secure the thread, then cut off any excess thread.

Sometimes moisture slips through to the fabric along the thread line. Adding a silicone seam sealant to the stitch holes on the inside of the backpack can help mitigate this issue. Sewing, although a little more work, could be less disastrous to the patch than the iron-on method.


If the patch is made of nylon bonding could be a solution. You can use a silicone seam sealer or any other kind of 100% silicone sealant that can b found at the hardware store. The best glue for nylon is either Loctite superglue or Polyurethane glue, which work with many household materials.

Spread a thin layer of sealant on the back of your patch. Stick the patch to the bag and apply direct pressure to the patch. Make sure you are using something substantial to spread the pressure over the entire patch making sure that the patch sticks correctly.

How to Sew the Patch on Your Backpack

Below are the materials and tools you need to sew on a patch onto your backpack.

– A Backpack

– Needle and Thread (or a sewing machine)

– Embroidery Scissors

– The Patch You Want to Sew On

Guide How to Sew A Patch on a Backpack

Instructions for How To Sew On A Patch On A Backpack:

Below are step by step instructions on how you can sew a patch onto your backpack.

Step 1: Choose Your Thread

Choose the thread that you will be using with each patch. You can go two ways with this. One would be to find a thread the same color as the patch or two to find a thread of a contrasting color to really make the patch POP. You can’t go wrong. Remember it is your patch, your style.

Step 2: Decide Where the Attach Will Go On Your Backpack

Keep in mind where you are placing the patch. Placing a patch on a seam or a padded area, could make sewing the patch a more challenging project.

Step 3: Pin The Patch

If not using the iron-on or adhesive method, hold the patch in place using a safety pin. Using a pin will help keep the patch in place as you continue to stitch, keeping the patch in place throughout the entire process.

Step 4: Prepare Your Thread

Take 16-20” of thread and fold in half. Take your needle eye and push the two loose ends through with the two ends should being significantly shorter (3-4” long. The folded ends should be hanging longer.

Step 5: Start Threading With Needle

From the outside of the bag, push the needle through the patches edge towards the inside of the backpack. Then pull both the needle and thread mostly through the patch. There should be a 1” loop visible at the top.

The use of a thimble (or you can use the back of your scissors) may be needed to help push the needle the patch, especially a thicker patch. Take your time, especially if you are new to sewing.

Step 6: Running Stitch

Now, from the inside of the bag, take the needle and push it straight through the patch towards the outside of the pack. This can be done in two different ways:

You can create a running stitch, by running the thread along the inner edge of the patch or an overcast stitch by using the area right beside (or off the edge) the patch and then down through the patch’s edge.

Step 7: Secure Your Thread Tight

Push the needle and thread, through the visible thread that was left from your first stitch. Pull the needle and thread through tight securing the thread.

Step 8: Stitch The Remaining Area

You can continue stitching the rest of the patch using either an overcast stitch or a running stitch.

Step 9: Create A Overhand Loop

Once the patch is sewn on, a simple overhand loop can be used to finish. Push the needle from the outside towards the inside of the bag, making sure not to pull the thread too tight. Now push the needle back towards the outside of the bag, passing the needle through the newly created loop. Then pull tight.

Repeat this step 3-4 times, securing the knot. If the patch fails to attach completely, repeat steps 4-9.

Step 10: Remove The Pin

There you have it. A pretty simple project that will get a lot of attention. But most importantly now you have that backpack that will lead to many conversations starting with a simple phrase 

“Remember when…”

If you enjoyed this tutorial, please check out our other sewing tutorials such as our how to sew a baby blanket! Happy Crafting!

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