Introduction: How to Add Elbow Patches

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Trendy and functional- a rarity for fashion statements. Perhaps you've loved your favorite sweater a bit too much and now theres a bit of wear- or worse! a hole developing on the elbows. Of course, you wouldn't dare to throw it out, it is your favorite after all. Elbow patches to the rescue! Whether you just want to add some character or some bandaging at the elbows, patches are a quick cure all!

In this instructable, I'll show you a couple different ways to go about making your elbow patches

Just a quick note on how to find your true elbow on a shirt/ sweater. For use on either of the methods that I've outlined here, you can either measure the space between your wrist and your elbow then subsequently use that measurement and add the very center of the elbow patch to that spot. Or you can wear your shirt and with a dab of water, mark where your elbow is. This second option is the way I prefer, but I've shown both below.

Let's get started!

Step 1: Iron-on Method

For this method you will need:

Fabric of your choice (you can literally use any type of fabric for this method, as the adhesive will not allow the edges to fray (much) )

iron-on adhesive

thread & needle

pins or safety pins

Cut out a pattern in any shape you like from paper. I chose a rectangle with rounded edges, nothing too fancy. But feel free to get creative here: I've seen heart, circle and star shaped elbow patches and they look awesome!

Now, place your patch fabric over the shiny part of your iron-on adhesive, front-side facing. Run the iron over the fabric with the adhesive below.

Trace your paper pattern or simply place-on-top of the fabric and cut out. Remove paper-side of the adhesive, and now you're ready to iron the patch onto your shirt/sweater.

Step 2: Sew-On Method

This method will require some hand-sewing know-how.

In choosing a fabric for your patch, make sure to get one that will not fray around the edges as we will not be using an iron-on adhesive to bind the threads together. Leather, suede, felt or some polyester blends work perfectly for this.

Cut out the shape you want. I used a traditional rectangle with rounded edges.

Using a brown suede that I was confident would not fray around the edges, I placed the patch onto the shirt, and pinned into place. I tried the shirt on in this state to confirm that the patch was properly placed. If you're trying to figure out how to best place the patch, put the shirt/sweater on, and with a dab of water wet the exact spot of your elbow. This wet area should correspond to the center of your patch. Pin the patch down to the shirt/sweater with either straight pins or safety pins (I recommend the latter since the patch will shift while being sewn on)

Now on to sewing! I used a variant of the blanket stitch all the way around the edge of the suede patch. Since I wasn't concerned with the suede fraying, I could treat the edges as finished.

The blanket stitch is a fairly simple one to master, but the pictures above do a good job of explaining it: basically, you're creating a sort of double stitch affect, one side will run along the outer edge of the patch, while the other will create vertical stitches that hold everything else in place.