Last week the embroidered hoodie pattern got many of you guessing how to attach embroidered patches to stretchable velvet. I'm sure the advanced sewists out there got the clues immediately after looking at the fabric swatches. For the others, I'm now going to show you how I did it and how you can too.
I borrowed this technique from a Japanese quilting designer Masako Wakayama who I meet last year in one of the workshops she taught in Singapore. A gentle lady with a sunny disposition and a lovely patchwork technique that goes back hundreds of years, but her ability to design a scenery on a quilt is nothing less than extraordinary. She has written ten books and I'm lucky to have one autographed by her. Although the book is in Japanese, thankfully her class was in English and it allowed me to understand how this quilting technique can be used in other ways.
- Sharp pointy scissors
- Iron and ironing board or mini iron
- Long pins with a large head
- Hand needle
- Thread zapper
How to choose the right embroidered fabric
Find a fabric where you can isolate a flower or a cluster of flowers you like and can use it as an interesting detail on the garment.
I have marked in yellow the flowers that I am planning to use. Using a sharp pair of pointy scissors, cut away the pieces you want to use.
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How to make the embroidered patches
Cut at least 1/8″ (3-5mm) from the edge of the embroidery. Sometimes you will have to get very close, but try not to cut the threads that make up the embroidery.
Place the patch on the rough side of the Heat and Bond. Pin the embroidered patch down on the Heat and Bond. Place a cloth on your ironing board and turn the embroidered patch upside down and iron. Cut away the excess tulle getting as close as possible to the embroidered patch.
Peel the backing of the patch and place it where ever you like on the velvet.I have cut away a few flowers from the embroidery and played around with the composition to achieve the “look” I am looking for. I want to have some flowers but not make it look overwhelming. Please see the picture below.
How to attach embroidered patches
To make the glue melt on the velvet you need to use the tip of the iron and no bigger. The iron is going to make ugly marks on the velvet and ruin your project so be careful. Velvet is a pile fabric and the heat of the iron will flatten, or worse, melt the fibers. Place a Teflon or cotton fabric to prevent the fibers around the patch from melting.
Taking this precaution is what's going to give your garment the machine embroidered look and no one will believe it is a patch. Iron in the middle of the patch until is it glued down.
Take the cloth away and iron the edges very carefully. Using just the tip of the iron will take time to glue the patch on the velvet, but it is good enough to finish the job.
A better tool and one developed for this same purpose is the mini iron by Clover. The tip and the edges are ideal for melting the glue and bonding the embroidered patch by getting in the smallest corners.
The heat and bond glue backing may still not be enough to make the embroidered patches stay on the velvet because of the pile fibers. In this case, use a hand needle and invisible threat to sew around the embroidered patches.
As you change the thread from patch to patch you may want to zap the thread with your Thread Zapper to avoid the tale of the thread scratching your skin. If you don't have one of these handy tools, please check out the link below.
If you do not have access to Heat and Bond
After cutting the flowers from the tulle, use a transparent drying fabric glue to attach the embroidered patch to the velvet. I prefer to use E6000 because it dries transparent and flexible.
Leave the embroidered patches to dry overnight, the last thing you will want is the patches moving around when you are sewing them. Use the invisible thread to sew around the patches. This is just a precaution since the glue will be strong enough to keep the embroidered patches down.
And that's it! I hope you enjoyed learning this new technique for how to attach embroidered patches. Please feel free to share pictures of your work in the comments below. I'd really love to see it.