Friday, July 3, 2015

How to Sew Girl Scout Badges (because You're Crazy)

Often I'll have Will sew the fun patches onto her Girl Scout vest and Syd's vest, but I tend to place the insignia and earned awards on myself, and...

I sew them. Despite the fact that the badges are all iron-on, I sew them.

I don't know if it's something about my technique, or something about my iron, or something about me as a person, but iron-on patches just do not iron on for me!

Sure, they may act as if they've ironed on, and they may indeed stay ironed on for a few weeks, but after some wear, and DEFINITELY after a wash, they gradually but certainly start to come undone. I hate that. Total pet peeve.

And honestly, if you really count the amount of time that it takes me, at least, to press and wait, and press and hold, and press and check, and press some more,  and then come back later and fix them when they start to come unstuck later, it just takes less time to simply sew the damn things on in the first place.

To sew on Girl Scout badges instead of ironing them, all you really need are:
  • sewing machine with a sharp needle: It doesn't need to be heavy, just sharp.
  • glue stick
  • invisible thread for the top thread
  • thread matching the Girl Scout vest for the bobbin
1. Figure out where everything goes. This is 90% of the effort involved in sewing on the Girl Scout badges. I messed up a couple of times on Syd's vest, sewing fun patches that I mistook for the official badges onto the front of her vest (the Girl Scout shop stocks a Pottery fun patch as well as a Pottery official badge, which if you're a noob, is hella confusing, Girl Scout Shop!), but even if you do that, really it's no big deal, unless your kid is going to meet the president while in her uniform or something, which I know could totally happen! But you'll have advanced knowledge, in that case, so you'll have time to spiff it up. 

Otherwise? NBD.

2. Glue it on. Don't glue everything on at the same time, but instead badge by badge, except in the case of the council insignia and the troop numbers, which need to be glued on together because you'll be sewing them all at once. 

Just put a generous amount of glue from the glue stick onto the back of each patch, then press it firmly onto the vest until it's nice and stuck:

Don't get your hopes up, because this won't stick forever, or even for a super long time, but it will stick well for about the next half-hour or so, which is plenty long enough for you to get it sewn on.

3. Sew it on. Using invisible thread on the top, and thread that matches the vest color in the bobbin, edgestitch around the patch. Fun patches, with their horrible unpredictable shapes, don't need to be painstakingly edgestitched--just go at angles more or less all around, and if a couple of sticky-outy bits aren't stitched down, it won't be noticeable.

There's a slightly different method for council insignia and troop numbers:

For this 3479 for instance, I sewed all the way across the top--9743--then down the 3 to the bottom and across. When I reached the bottom edge of 3, I sewed up that edge, across the top to 4, down 4 and across, up 4 and across to 7, etc.

If you're having trouble with your thread tension while sewing on these patches--the invisible thread breaking, say, or loops forming at the back of the vest--then your needle probably isn't sharp enough. When in doubt, I ALWAYS replace my needle. It's crazy how often that fixes my problem.

Now, all that being said, if you don't want to sew or you're getting frustrated (I had sooooo much to sew onto Girl Scout vests the other night, and after a full episode of Gilmore Girls, I was over it and ready to move on with my life), then use Aleene's Fabric Fusion instead. I like it better than any other fabric glue, including Aleene's Okay to Wash It.

In conclusion, thank you for sitting through that really long, type-A tutorial! I am 100% positive that there is nobody else on this planet who cares that much about how to correctly sew on Girl Scout patches, but that's okay. There's room enough for all us odd fellows. 

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