Create Embroidered Patches From Digital Images




Introduction: Create Embroidered Patches From Digital Images

About: Making and sharing are my two biggest passions! In total I've published hundreds of tutorials about everything from microcontrollers to knitting. I'm a New York City motorcyclist and unrepentant dog mom. My ...

Reproducing digital artwork in embroidery isn't hard if you follow these simple steps. I'll show you how using the fffffatlab text. These and more are available for purchase in the fffffat etsy shop.

Materials and tools:
fabric on which to embroider
embroidery floss
embroidery hoop
embroidery needle
fabric for backing (optional)
sewing machine (optional)

if using dark or opaque fabric the following are also needed:
ballpoint pen
chalk or conti crayon

Step 1: Trace Your Artwork

If you're using a light colored fabric, you may be able to trace directly on the fabric. In this case, I'm using a very opaque canvas fabric, so I had to first trace the design on paper, directly from my computer screen. Don't use a drawing implement that requires too much pressure or that will bleed through onto your monitor. A regular ballpoint pen works just fine.

Step 2: Chalk It Up

If you traced your design directly onto your fabric, skip this step. Turn your paper template over and apply chalk or conti crayon to the back (in a color that will be visible on your fabric). Shake off the dust and place the paper template on your fabric. Trace over the design with a dull pencil or ballpoint pen, transferring the lines of the design onto your fabric. Be careful not to touch it too much after this, as the chalk will rub off with your touch.

Step 3: Start Embroidering

Stretch your fabric in your embroidery hoop. Select your floss color and get started. Use whatever stitches you feel are appropriate, and don't be afraid to experiment. I used the satin stitch for these. A great dictionary of stitches with video tutorials can be found at Needle'nThreadNeedle'nThread. It may be helpful to keep your reference image up on your monitor so you can keep track of small details that might have been lost in the tracing transfer. When finished, take your fabric out of the hoop and shake off any remaining chalk. Iron out the creases from the hoop.

Step 4: Create a Backing

This step is optional as well, but gives a nice finished look to your patch.
Cut a rectangle of your backing fabric with about a 3/8" border seam allowance all around your patch. Press in a 1/4" fold on all sides. Trim the corners at a 45 degree angle passing through the intersection of the two ironed creases. Iron in another 1/4" fold, turning under the first fold you made. Press in the corners so that the edge of the crease intersects the new corner intersecting folds, then press in the sides again. You should end up with nice mitered corners. Place the patch inside this frame and topstitch around all edges for a nice complete patch.



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    18 Discussions

    What fabric did you stitch onto? I could have missed it in the instructable.

    1 reply

    Great instructable, you've given me some good ideas. To add to what rusty said, if you have Photoshop elements, there is no "create path" command. Instead you would use Edit/Stroke after using the magic selector tool. You could also create a stamp of an image first, using the tools Filter / Sketch / Stamp -- although it would not be as smooth. But this method would permit creating images from photos of faces, for example, which could be quite interesting. Yeeks, too bad I need to get back to work!

    I've always wanted to learn how to make patches. This Instructable not only explains this specific technique, but includes enough extra links to pick up the basics. Lots of reading material here. Thank you for this content! :)

    If you are looking for a way to trace from an image that is mostly solid colors, you could use the magic select in The GIMP or Photoshop, then use the function 'create path from selection, which will create a 'path' that follows the border of what you selected. Now create a new layer with a solid white background, then use the function 'stroke path' use a 2 or 4 pixel wide black pencil, to 'draw' the path onto this layer. Print the layer. Then you can use a light table for white/translucent fabrics, or the chalk / crayon (or even correction tape paper) technique to transfer onto other fabrics. Looks good by the way. As an observation, you could use a technique like this to embroider in several colors, The original image includes a drop shadow which you could emulate by adding a quarter to half an inch of a different shade along the right and lower edge of everything you did embroider. Just thoughts.

    1 reply

    Another tool one might use to transfer the design to the fabric is a glass cutter. It need not be sharp and does a good job especially on long, sweeping curves. Keep up the good work.

    are you the only member of said club? i could find no info about it on the internet

    Beautifully done! You have made embroidery so modern!

    I like to make very tiny "x"'s when stitching computer graphics. I think it is called a crossstitch. Heres some pics of a hackaday one that i started, but never quite finished. What do you think?

    1 reply

    Excellent! Looks fantastic. Cross stitch is another technique that translates very well from the computer to needlework. You can use pixel fonts to design text layouts, and photoshop to reduce the resolution of an image to make it cross-stitchable.

    It's not as low budget, but you could probably use the pre-chalked paper that is used to transfer sewing patterns to fabric instead of rolling your own. This would be less messy, since the pre-chalked stuff doesn't come off as easily.

    You should try looking at Goodwill before you order any. Thrift stores almost always have a ton of embroidery hoops, and they're really cheap.

    Great job, I've been wanting to see an Instructable quite like this for some time, great job! +1 rating. +1 vote.

    Nice technique! and very well explained. I had honestly never thought of making my own patches but as I'm making a new backpack now I'll have a place to put patches so I may just use this.