Sewing for scouts! How to sew badges, uniform tips, retired badges, keepsakes, and more. All projects and posts may contain affiliate links. Read our policies here.
Sewing badges on is FAST and EASY when you've got the right tools! Faster and easier than any other method, and cheaper too!
You gotta have clear thread! This means the top thread blends right into the surface of the badge. It's invisible, so you can just keep on sewing however many badges and patches you've got piled up (who, me!?) without changing the thread. BUT, it's not always so easy, unless you know a trick or two...
This is the exact product I order and use all the time:
If you've ever tried to use the clear thread and have failed, you are not alone! It's not uncommon for it to get twisted around the spool peg and break. I've heard people say, "that stuff makes my machine go all exorcist!" and "my machine just can't handle it." And they are often given the very bad advice that altering the tension on the machine will fix everything, which of course it doesn't because this is not a tension problem. That's enough to make even the best sewists crazy.
BUT - it's not you, or your machine, or the thread, or the tension, or the thickness of the badges, or anything else. It's 100% about the direction of the thread coming off the spool. The tangling and breaking happen on both vertical and horizontal spools, and it happens because the thread itself is slippery and plasticky. This is great for invisibility, but not so great for tangleupedness. Because it's slippery, it slides down off the spool before it is supposed to, and ends up at the base of the spool pin. Then, when your machine tries to use the thread for sewing, the thread is already stuck around the pin, and then the machine breaks and that's when you get Linda Blair, angry-mom-face and you resort to using (not)magic products and when *that* happens, you open up the tenth circle of hell.
So, to prevent all this disaster, all you need to do is change the way thread enters your machine from its spool. Making this one little change will make it all work the way it's supposed to. In ALL of the methods using clear thread, you should always load your bobbin with regular thread that matches your uniform. Trying to use clear thread on top and bottom will surely set your machine afire. Here are three successful ways to do this:
1. The thumbtack method
My personal favorite trick is one of those ten-cent solutions and all the credit goes to Mr. Badge Fairy for this one. A simple thumbtack just barely wedged into the gap between the front and top casings on my machine forces the thread to come straight forward off the spool, before winding through the machine to the left. This completely eliminates the possibility of it getting tangled up around the pin. Look closely - it's invisible!
Still need a machine? See my post on choosing the right sewing machine for you:
2. The thread net
One other method I've seen used is a thread net. One actually came with my machine. At first I even threw it away because I thought it was part of the packaging!! Amber, a Daisy mom made this video of how she used it, and I'm sharing it here with her permission:
3. The cup method
The third way I've heard reported, but have yet to try (please try this and let us know in the comments how it worked for you!) is to not use the spool holder on your machine at all! Put the whole spool of thread into a cup or bowl and set it behind the machine on the table, then thread your machine regularly. This would certainly prevent it from tangling around the pin!
Still not convinced that machine-sewing is best? Read this post on my perma-patch technique:
Have you tried any of these tangle-proof methods? Do you have any other tricks? Leave a comment below!
You May Also Like: