A couple weeks ago I showed you the shirts I sewed up HERE. Now I’m going to share how to make leather elbow patches. They are seriously so easy and add such a great touch to simple clothing. My kids love their new shirts, and the patches are their favorite part.
Here’s what you need. You don’t have to make a new garment, but it does make it easier to sew the patches on. Plus it was a good excuse to try a couple new patterns I’d been eyeing.
You will need:
*the sleeves of your pattern cut out and not sewn (or an existing shirt)
*pellon wonder-under transfer web. I have two 4″ x 6″ pieces cut out here.
*your shape you want for the elbow patch (search google images and you will find so many! Next on my list are elephant and turtle silhouettes!). The Darth Vader image I found HERE.
*some flexible leather. Don’t use leather that is too thick–you want the elbow patches to be comfortable and able to mold to the elbow when bent. I have two 4″ x 6″ leather pieces. My leather is from a thrifted jacket. I also love to get leather from PeggySueAlso on Etsy, which is where I bought the gold leather from.
*exacto knife if you need to cut anything out of your patch (Vader’s eyes in this instance)
*a leather needle would be helpful, as well as a plastic presser foot so the leather doesn’t stick when sewing
*if using a thin knit or other fabric, it would be a good idea to use some interfacing inside the sleeve where the patch will be sewn, to reinforce the sleeve so it doesn’t rip where you sew the patch. I used sweatshirt fleece and french terry and didn’t feel the need to use interfacing.
The pellon is sold by the yard and is inexpensive.
To know where to sew the patches, I took a sleeve and wrapped it over the arm it would be worn, then I had my child bend their arm so I could place pins where the patch would need to be centered. Then mirror that same spot on the other sleeve.
If you don’t have a child present so you can measure, these sleeves below are all pinned for the right sleeve. It’s almost in the middle both ways when folded in half as pictured (apart from the cream fabric–the sleeve was much too long for my little girl, so the pins are not centered on hers). Again, you can choose an existing shirt. Just be careful not to sew through another layer of the shirt.
Take your pellon paper and place on top of your shape, with the smooth side up. Trace the portion you want to cut out of the leather on the smooth side.
Place the paper over the wrong side of the leather with the bumpy side down. Iron per the instructions for the pellon.
Cut out the shape.
Use the exacto knife and cutting mat to cut out any tricky shapes.
Peel off the paper portion carefully to leave the fusible webbing on the leather.
Take your patch and place it, centering over the pins you placed when checking where the elbow bends.
It may help with the ironing on the next step, to unfold the fabric before centering the patch over the pins.
I didn’t want to iron right on top of the leather. So unfold your sleeve (preferably in the step before), and lay the fabric from the rest of the sleeve over the patch. Iron for a little, then flip the whole thing over, carefully holding the patch in place, so you can iron from the inside of the sleeve with the wrong side of the patch directly under the fabric you are ironing. This way the heat isn’t going through so many layers and can fuse the webbing well. ** This is also a good time to place the interfacing on the wrong side of the sleeve under the patch, if you are using a thin fabric.
Now that your patch is ironed on, you need to sew it in place. A leather needle and leather foot help in this step.
I set my stitch length to 3 and also moved the needle position to the right, so that when I followed the center of the foot, it sewed nicely right along the edge of the patch. Sew around the eyes as well.
Repeat above steps for the other patch. Make sure you are mirroring the sleeves, so both patches end up behind the elbow.
Now on to the quilted heart and cat elbow patches. Follow all the same steps up until you are sewing the patches on.
This is a better picture of what the fusible webbing looks like after you ironed the paper to the wrong side of the leather and peel it off.
Sew evenly spaced lines one direction on the patch and repeat going the other direction, as pictured.
On the cat patches, I liked how it looked with just the diagonal stitching. I used gold metallic thread on the top and the bobbin thread is polyester. Otherwise the metallic thread isn’t as strong and I want the stitching to hold.