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How To Sew A Patch On A Backpack (Detailed Step By Step Guide)

Your backpack is your constant travel companion and fashion accessory! It can be a great canvas for your treasured memories and an easy way to display your personality.

An easily affordable way of customizing your backpack is with patches, and this guide is here to show you how easy it can be to add them!

Different Types Of Backpack Patches

There are seven common kinds of patches that can be put on your backpack. Which patch you choose may depend on the design you want, how easy they might be to put on your backpack, and how much they cost.

Embroidered patches

Colorful thread can make for eye-catching designs that last a long time. They are made by sewing thread to a backing fabric, and machine embroidery processes have made them fast and easy to produce and cheap to buy.

PVC patches

PVC patches are made by pouring soft PVC rubber into molds. They are not as cheap as embroidered patches, and while they are not heat resistant, they are very durable and might be a good option if your hobbies include anything outdoors, such as hiking.

Chenille patches

Chenille patches are easily reconcilable by their soft and fuzzy appearance. This is created by twisting yarn threads together. You've probably seen them on high school letterman jackets as well as backpacks for college students.

Woven patches

Woven patches are also made with thread, with a continuous stitch resulting in a smooth flat finish without raised textures. Woven patches look great if your design has lots of text or tiny details. This can be a good addition to canvas backpacks and sling backpacks

Leather patches

If you have a specific folksy aesthetic in mind, leather patches may be the ones for you. They are on the more expensive side but are long lasting. They can even be made from vegan leather.

Printed patches

Printed patches are made in much the same way printed t-shirts are. These kinds of patches are great for the ultimate personalization and memory-capturing - you can print any picture or image you desire! Like embroidered patches, they are fast and cheap to make. If you want to give your kid's backpack an upgrade with his latest favorite character, you can go with this option.

Bullion patches

These are by far the fanciest and most expensive patches available. These are handcrafted using embroidery along with gold and silver metal filaments. The wire stitching and crafting process gives the patches 3D effects, making them very eye-catching and unique.

hiking with backpack

Ways Of Putting Patches On A Backpack

The best method for you will depend on the material of the patch, the material of your backpack, and what activities or environments you will commonly be exposing your backpack and patches to.

  • Iron-On Patch
    Many patches will come with a heat-activated adhesive on the back, or they may also be bought separately. Using an iron, you will be able to bond the patch to your backpack. NEVER attempt to iron on a PVC patch as they will melt when heat is applied. This kind of application should also not be used for backpacks made of leather, nylon, rayon, or elastic as it may damage the material.
  • Bonding
    Another method of putting patches on your backpack without sewing is with an adhesive such as fabric glue. There are several kinds available, and most should enable your patches to stay attached to your backpack for a long time. This is a good choice for a nylon backpack such as ones from Fjallraven.
  • Sewing
    Whether sewing, gluing or ironing is better will depend on the kind of patch and the materials you have at hand. Sewing is perhaps the most reliable method and the one that will ensure your patch stays in place on your backpack. Most patches can be sewn on with a simple stitch that people of all skill levels should be able to replicate.
red backpack with patch

How to Sew a Patch on a Backpack: Step-by-Step Guide

1. Sewing by hand

You will need:

  • A needle and thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • A thimble

Sewing by hand is best if you are a complete beginner to sewing. It may take a bit of time, but a simple stitch is easily achievable. Hand sewing is also quite a bit cheaper than buying a sewing machine. However, you are at risk of minor injuries from a sharp needle, so take care!

  1. 1
    Make sure your backpack is clean and empty. Decide where your patch will go and pin it in place. Avoid anywhere too close to a seam or with thick padding as this will be harder to sew.
  2. 2
    Pick an appropriate thread for your patch! The color will depend on if you’d like the stitches to blend into your patch or contrast and stand out.
  3. 3
    Cut a piece of thread around 16-20 ‘’ long, depending on how big your patch is, and fold in half before threading through the eye of your needle.
  4. 4
    Starting from the outside, push your needle into the patch and pull through, leaving a small loop visible on the outside of the patch. Push the needle through the loop you created and pull tight to secure the patch.
  5. 5
    Sew around the edge of your patch. The best way to sew your patch is either a running stitch or an overcast stitch - more detail on these below!
  6. 6
    To finish and secure the stitching, create a loop by not pulling a stitch completely tight and passing the needle through it. Repeat to secure fully.
  7. 7
    Take out the safety pins - don’t leave the pins or your needles lying around!

2. Using a Sewing Machine

You will need:

  • A sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors

Using a sewing machine is faster than hand-sewing and will result in a neater finish. However, unless you have previous machine experience, absolute beginners may find hand sewing a better option.

  1. 1
    Choose where you'd like to place your patch on your backpack. Make sure you'll be able to easily place this part of the backpack into the sewing machine. Pin the patch in place to prevent it from slipping while you sew.
  2. 2
    Pick out a thread and load it onto your machine.
  3. 3
    Place the bag under the presser foot, taking care that only one side of the bag will be sewn, as sewing a patch to both sides may prevent your backpack from being a backpack.
  4. 4
    Lower your presser foot, set the machine to your preferred stitch, and begin. It's best to backstitch at the start in order to secure the patch. Follow the edge of your patch, turning where necessary and using the needle to guide as you turn any corners.
  5. 5
    Once you complete the outline of your patch, backstitch again, lift the presser foot and remove the backpack.

Alternative Methods of Stitching: Which Is Best For Patches?

To secure a patch well, following the edge is advised. There are two easy stitches that will achieve this result.

  • Running Stitch
    This is the most basic of sewing stitches. By passing the needle through at equally spaced intervals, you create a row of neat stitches. If the thread matches the patch, the stitching will be invisible. While the patch is secure, a small part of the edge is loose, allowing for fraying or risking the patch being ripped off.
  • Overcast Stitch
    Alternatively, using an overcast stitch would ensure the entire patch is tightly bound to your backpack. An overcast stitch goes over the edge of the patch all the way around it. This may be more visible but will also be more secure, making it harder to accidentally rip off your backpack.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How Do You Put A Velcro Patch On Your Backpack?

You will need to attach the Velcro strip first. It may come with an adhesive backing that will stick well to your backpack, or you may need to use fabric glue to keep it in place.

How Do You Put Patches On A Nylon Backpack?

Do not iron patches onto a nylon backpack! It could damage the material - always sew on patches using the methods demonstrated above or by using other bonding methods such as fabric glue.

Does Fabric Glue Work For Patches? What Is The Best Glue For Patches On A Backpack?

You can use fabric glue for patches. The best kind would be a strong, durable glue that is waterproof.

How Much Does It Cost To Get Patches Sewn On?

It may cost between $3 - 5 to have a professional sew a patch on your backpack. The final price will depend on the number and size of patches being sewn on.


Patches are fun, affordable, and as versatile as you need them to be. It’s fairly easy to attach them to a bag, or even a jacket. Express yourself and make your backpack truly unique.

  • Updated November 2, 2021