How to Sew Patches on Military Uniforms? – Step-by-step

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

how to sew patches on military uniform

Patches or badges, also known as insignia, come hand in hand with uniforms in the military world. This symbol signifies the level of authority the bearer has and the type of military organization they belong to.

Uniformed personnel around the world embrace military patches and badges of honor every time they rise through their ranks and move to different missions, making it impossible to ignore their importance.

On this account, it is crucial to have a clear understanding on how to sew patches on military uniforms in a way that matches their snappy appearance.

What You Need to Know Before Sewing


1. Right Placement of Patches on the Military Uniform

Before sewing, you must be aware of the army uniform patch placement. Generally, the patches on army uniform are on the left breast pocket. When the patch is too large for the pocket, it is placed on the left shoulder parallel to the shoulder seam.

Combat and ensign patches, on the other hands, are placed on the right shoulder sleeve of the uniform. Combat patch is only given to soldiers deployed into a combat zone. This represents the unit they’re with during the deployment. The ensign patch represents the country being served, the one the soldier is trying to preserve, and to whom his loyalty belongs.

Other military organizations have rules about the placement of badges, patches, or insignias. Hence, it is advised to do research on the subject before sewing.

2. What Stitch is Best for Patches?

You also need to consider the thread properties for sewing military uniforms. Military-graded threads are recommended due to their durability and resistance.

This kind of thread is appropriate for a high-stress environment, and it can resist moisture and abrasions at the same time. Besides, it can withstand the degrading effect of different elements like acids and oils.

Furthermore, the type of stitch plays a great role when you sew a badge on a uniform both by machine and by hand. The most convenient stitch used for beginners is the running stitch. However, you may also use chain stitch and blanket stitch, which are easy to follow.

Ways to Sew Patches on Military Uniform

There are two common ways to sew patches on uniform. You may sew it by hand or using a sewing machine.

For the hand sewing method, a needle with thread is manually maneuvered carefully through the uniform and the patch, attaching them together in a tight manner.

On the other hand, machine sewing is stitching two pieces together using a sewing machine. This is much faster than hand sewing since the machine parts automatically work together to perform the sewing.

Method 1: Hand Sewing


To sew a patch by hand, you only need the basic tools and you’re ready to start your sewing journey.

Below are the tools needed to sew a patch by hand:

  • Needle
  • Thread – preferably military-graded thread and the color match the patch
  • Pin/tape
  • Measuring tape
  • Marker – (pencil, pen, chalk, or marker)
  • scissors
  • Iron
  • Flat surface to work on
  • Patch
  • Uniform

The following steps serve as guide to follow when you sew on military patches by hand:

1. Iron the uniform.


Ironing has a huge impact on sewing output. Hence, it is important to incorporate it at the beginning of any kind of sewing that requires professional and commercial standards.

To sew rank on army uniform, it is best to iron the surface where you want to place the badge nicely and wrinkle-free. When you plan to sew the badge on the shoulder sleeve, make sure to iron the front and back surface of the sleeve proportionately.

2. Place the patch on its designated position.


The US army jacket unit patch placement must be ½ inch below the shoulder seam and center.

Mark the edges with a marker. It is also helpful when you utilize the crease of the jacket as your center point.

3. Temporarily secure the badge with pins or tape.


You can never go wrong with this technique. It holds the patch in place while you’re stitching.

4. Thread Length


Cut about 45 cm long thread. It is advisable to stay about this length to avoid entanglement.

5. Thread the Needle


Feed a quarter of the thread on the needle’s eye. Make sure to tie a knot at the end of the thread.

6. Sew from Inside Out


Start sewing from the inside of the uniform going outwards. Begin on the top corner of the patch.

7. Sew Around to the Original Position


Continue sewing on a straight pattern all the way around until you complete the entire patch. Make sure that the patch is not moved from its original position. It must be laid flat on the uniform while you do the sewing.

8. End Your Sewing with a Knot


Once the patch is secure, tie off the thread on the inside part of the uniform and remove the pins. There, your patch is connected nicely to your respected uniform.

Method 2: Machine Sewing


Below are the tools needed to sew a patch using a sewing machine:

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread – preferably military-graded thread and the color match the patch
  • Pin/tape
  • Measuring tape
  • Marker – (pencil, pen, chalk, or marker)
  • Scissors – (no need if your sewing machine have built-in cutter)
  • Iron
  • Flat surface to work on
  • Patch
  • Uniform

You can sew military uniforms in a day or attach patches or insignias in a presentable manner in no time with less effort.

If you want to explore the different military uniform sewing patterns or attach that badge you’ve just got on your army uniform, you must have the same tools used in hand sewing ready except for the needle. Set up your sewing machine in place of the needle.

In order to sew a patch on a uniform using a sewing machine, follow the first three steps on hand sewing then continue onto the following steps.

1. Set up the sewing machine.


Make sure that the outer thread is ready, the bobbin is filled with the right thread, the needle size is appropriate (90/14 works well with heavy weight fabric), and the presser’s foot is up.

Use your sewing machine manual to find the best tension and stitch regulator for sewing patches.

2. Start Sewing with sewing machine


Place the uniform on the dog feeder, press the presser’s foot down to hold the patch and the fabric. Rotate the wheel to start the machine at the same time press the foot pedal in rhythm for a slower speed. When you are using an electric pedal, press the pedal lightly until you reach the starting point.

3. Seal the Patch by Sewing Back and Forth


Seal the patch by sewing three more steps past the starting point and back again for three more steps. You can do this by lifting the stitch regulator to its maximum, and the dog feeder will voluntarily rotate in the opposite direction.

Other than this, modernized sewing machines have the reverse button which you can just press to do the automatic reverse. Cut away any loose threads.

4. There it is! Your newly patched uniform is ready.



Sewing patches on military uniforms is not difficult, but it does require attention to details and a bit of patience especially when there are given standards that must be followed.

Hope this article gives a clear view about the question “how to sew patches on military uniforms?”. The more you practice, the more you gain confidence in sewing patches, whether by hand or sewing machine. Just make sure to follow the steps outlined in the blog for best results.

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