How to Hand Embroider Sweetheart Patches
Do you remember sweetheart candies? The pastel sugar hearts with fun sayings like, ‘Be Mine,’ ‘Hug Me,’ ‘Only You,’ ‘Sweet Talk,’ and more. These were an elementary school favorite of mine. I loved eating them as well as using them to glue into Valentine’s Day cards. What can I say, even as a kid I was crafty!
Did you know that these candy conversation hearts have been around since the early 1900s?! That’s a long time to be professing our love with and for these whimsical confections.
While I loved these candies as a kid, I’ve grown to be more of a chocolates kind of person as an adult. But even though I don’t eat them anymore, that doesn’t mean I can’t long for the nostalgia of these cutie candies.
If you have a Valentine, Galentine, BFF, or just want to make a whimsical craft for the holiday of love, then try this tutorial for how to hand embroider an iron-on sweetheart patch. These are an easy project you can finish in a few hours.
Here’s what you’ll need to create this project:
- Craft felt in the colors of your choosing- I used pink and purple from my felt variety pack
- Heat erasable transfer pen – My go-to pen is the Pilot Frixion erasable pen
- Embroidery thread in the colors of your choosing
- Embroidery needle
- Sewing pins
- Scissors – For this project, I used two pairs of scissors. The first was a larger pair of craft scissors to cut out my felt and iron-on adhesive. The second was a smaller pair of embroidery scissors. You don’t have to use both kinds of scissors, however, I find them helpful.
- Heart shaped cookie cutters
- Heat ‘n Bond Lite iron-on adhesive
- Iron and ironing board
Let’s get started with our project!
1. Place your heart shaped cookie cutter on top of your felt. Use your transfer pen to outline the heart shape. The cookie cutters I used came in a set of five varying heart sizes. I used two different sized hearts for each patch. If you only have one cookie cutter, trace two of the same heart shape. Then fold the second heart in half (like a hot dog) and trim the outer edge so that you’ll have two different heart sizes.
2. Next, draw your design onto the smaller heart using the heat erasable transfer pen. Get creative with your design! For my patches I chose the phrases ‘Love You’ and ‘Bestie’ because I’m making these for one of my girlfriends who loves to add patches to her bags and clothes.
If you need ideas for phrases or patterns, try some of these conversation heart patterns from Creative Fabrica. And if you change your mind on what you want your heart to say, simply use an iron or blow-dryer. The pen ink will disappear, and you can start again! Heat erasable pens are kind of like magic and make it easy to remove mistakes or switch up a design part way through the process.
3. Now that your design is set, it’s time to pick out your embroidery thread colors. I like to use DMC embroidery thread because it comes in hundreds of color options and is available at most craft stores. For this project, I decided to stick with the stereotypical Valentine’s Day colors of pinks and reds. When picking out colors, I found an etoile embroidery thread in my stash and couldn’t help but use it. This thread has a bit of a sparkle to it.
4. Next, hand embroider your design. For the larger pink heart patch, I used the back stitch, whipped back stitch, and running stitch. For the smaller pink and Purple Heart patch, I used the back stitch and blanket stitch. No matter what stitches you use, be sure they’re no longer than half an inch. Anything longer tends to pull away from the fabric and can get caught for torn when worn.
5. Once your design is stitched, it’s time to use an iron or blow-dryer to remove any excess transfer pen marks.
6. Then attach the smaller embroidered heart to the larger heart. Pin the two hearts in place using sewing pins.
7. Next, use your desired type of stitch to attach the two hearts together. For the larger pink heart patch, I used the running stitch along the inner edge of the smaller heart. For the smaller pink and purple patch, I used the blanket stitch that was stitched into the fronts of both the inner and outer hearts. Don’t worry about hiding the end of your knotted thread when attaching the two hearts together. This will get covered up when we add the iron-on backing.
*If you’d prefer to keep your patch as a sew on patch, skip the next few steps. Instead, you can use the running stitch to embroider the patch onto your desired location.
8. Once the two hearts are connected into one, it’s time to add the Heat ‘n Bond Lite iron-on adhesive. This will turn your patch into an iron-on patch! Unroll the adhesive, laying it on a flat surface with the bumpy side down and the paper side up.
9. Using your transfer pen, outline the heart patch. Then cut out the patch using scissors. If you’re like me and have multiple labelled pairs of scissors in your craft room, be sure to use a larger pair of paper scissors and not your fabric scissors for this portion of the project.
10. Continue using your scissors to trim the iron-on adhesive so that it’s slightly smaller than the heart shape. If the adhesive is larger than the backing, you could accidentally iron your patch onto your ironing board or iron.
11. Now attach the iron-on adhesive. Warm up your iron to a medium setting. Lay the front of the heart patch (embroidered side) down on to the ironing board. Align the iron-on adhesive so that the bumpy side is against the patch back and the paper side is facing up. (If you mix this up, you will have adhesive on your iron!) If you’re worried about getting adhesive on your iron, use a piece of scrap fabric or a towel in between the adhesive and the iron. Press the iron onto the backing for 10-15 seconds. Be sure to move the iron around the entire patch so that there aren’t any air bubbles in the back of the adhesive.
12. And your patch is complete! You can give it as a gift or iron it onto whatever you’d like! Attach your sweetheart patch is easy! Simply peel off the paper backing of the iron-on adhesive. Lay the patch onto the item you’d like it attached to so that the back of the patch is flush with the item. Then gently press a warm iron onto the patch for 10-15 seconds. This will securely attach your patch for wear.
For my sweetheart patches, I decided to layer them on top of a black t-shirt. I love how vibrant the pink and purple look against the darker fabric. And I can’t wait to give this to my friend at our next craft night!
I hope you have fun creating your own sweetheart patches for Valentine’s Day. Share what phrases you’ll be adding and photos of your finished patches below.