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October 24, 2016

how to | make elbow patches

How to make and add elbow patches to a sweater
I'm not sure what the scientific reasons are behind it, but autumn always conjures up nostalgia. It's the only season (for me, at least) that feels fiercely familiar each times it rolls around. Back when I was an angsty teen, the arrival of colder weather would inevitably make me brood hardcore as I woefully re-remembered past embarrassments & pitfalls. Nowadays I use autumn to fondly relive old memories (& to wear a lot less eyeliner). I'm feeling the fall spirit like 24/7 because the leaves are SO CHANGING, plus I can buy pumpkin-flavored-anything basically everywhere. I'm in sweater-mode everyday, & spruced up one of my knitted shirts this past weekend with some elbow patches. So cozy, so fall.
Make your own elbow patch appliqués for sweaters and sweatshirts
I'm a big proponent of mending clothes rather than throwing them out, but I've gotta say: I've never had to patch elbows that have worn out. I don't know if I just have good table manners or what, but I don't put a lot of stress on the elbow-part of my shirts. That being said, elbow patches are adorable & I've been itching to try this out since last winter.

To add elbow patches to a sweater, you'll need:
  • The handy-dandy elbow patch pattern
  • Safety pins & a needle
  • Vinyl fabric (if you are using any other fabric, you'll need to add Fray Check to the edges to prevent fraying)
  • Heat'n Bond
  • An iron & a cloth (like a towel or washcloth)
  • Embroidery thread
How to: Add elbow patches to a sweater
First, print out the elbow patch pattern. Cut out the patch shape. Next, put your sweater on & locate where your elbow hits on the sleeve. You may need a friend for this part, as navigating the back of your arm can be tricky. Use the pattern as a guide & place safety pins where the top & bottom of the patch should be in relation to your elbow. If it helps, you can pin the pattern piece to your sweater to get an idea of where it should sit. Take your sweater off & mimic the placement of the safety pins on the second sleeve to that of the first.
Heat'n Bond + Vinyl = iron-on patches!
Cut two identically sized pieces of both the vinyl & the Heat'n Bond, large enough to fit two elbow patches. Per the Heat'n Bond instructions, lay the Heat'n Bond paper-side up on the vinyl, which should be facing right side down. Using a warm & dry iron, iron the Heat'n Bond to the vinyl using circular motions.
How To | Make Elbow Patches: Cut the patch from fabric
Trace two of the pattern shapes on the paper-side of the Heat'n Bond. Cut both shapes out. Remove the Heat'n Bond paper backing. 
Always use a cloth as a barrier when ironing vinyl!
Lay the patches right-side up on your sweater, using the safety pins as guides. Place a cloth in-between the iron & the vinyl, & per the Heat'n Bond instructions, iron the patches in place. It is very important that you never place a hot iron on the right-side of vinyl. Vinyl is mostly plastic, so it has a tendency to melt. Always use a cloth as a barrier when ironing vinyl.
How to | make elbow patches: Stitch, stitch, stitch!
Take your embroidery floss & divide it in two-strand sections. Feed the two threads through a sturdy needle, & tie the ends together (giving you the strength of four threads). Stitch your patches in place. Pro tip: it helps if you keep one hand inside the sweater at all times when you're sewing. 
Use leftover fabric scraps to make your own elbow patches
Spruce up your winter wardrobe with DIY elbow patches
Fall fashion > any other fashion. Happy Monday, gang!


P.S. These patches were made from the leftover fabric of this project. I still have a tiny bit left - any ideas on how to use it up?

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  1. Love how you kept the stitches visible. :)

    1. Thanks! It was worth the effort to keep all the little stitches even!


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