When my son first joined the Civil Air Patrol over seven years ago, I didn’t mind sewing the name tapes and other patches onto his BDU’s. However, that all changed when he earned the Billy Mitchell Award and came home with blue fabric scraps with unfinished edges and a white dot in the middle that I was supposed to form into a square and sew onto his cap and collars. I somehow managed to fold it into the correct shape and pin it in place and get it sewn on but after promoting all the way to Cadet Colonel and having two sets of BDU’s, those officer patches were still a source of frustration for me even as an experienced seamstress and home-ec graduate! I pinned and basted and ironed and even made little templates but every time he promoted, I knew the frustration would return.
It’s been three years since his last promotion but I’m still being asked occasionally to sew on a cadet’s newly earned patches and I gladly donate my time to this organization which has played a huge and positive role in my son’s life. Just the other day, after procrastinating on a BDU sewing job, a brilliant idea popped into my head. What if I were to use fabric adhesive spray to help form the patches and then also use it to keep them in place while sewing? It worked wonderfully! In fact, I sewed three patches in just a few minutes!
Here’s how to do it: Set out a large protective surface (I used poster board). Spray the back side of the patch and fold the top and bottom to the back. Press firmly and hold in place for a few seconds. There is supposed to be a 1/8” blue frame all around the dots (or diamonds) so measuring and ironing it first would help with accuracy.
Spray the back again and fold the sides in pressing firmly for a few seconds with your fingers.
Carefully following the regulations, spray the back again of the now-folded patch and press it down in the proper place on the uniform.
Stitch around the edge and you are done! If the side has flared a bit and there is some fabric sticking out from under the patch, use a pin to tuck it back in while you are sewing.
The can of adhesive spray was $12.95 and worth every penny. I sure wish I had thought to buy a can the day my son became a Civil Air Patrol cadet officer!