DIY Elbow Patches Tutorial by Ashley

Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Hi, I'm Ashley from the blog Distractions. Do you have a hole in your sweater or are you just obsessed with elbow patches like I am? In either case, adding elbow patches to a sweater or cardigan is super easy and it can even be done without a sewing machine. Yup, you read right. No sewing machine needed and, nope, you don't need fabric glue or a glue gun. However, it will require a little hand sewing, which shouldn't be too bad because I know you all have a mending kit or minimergency kit, right?

To create your own elbow patches, here is a list of supplies you will need:
  • Hand sewing needle
  • rectangle of felt in the color of your choice (You can find felt at Walmart, Jo-Ann Fabric, or Michael's.)
  • Thread (to match or contrast the color of the felt)
  • Tailor's chalk or a non-permanent fabric marker (you can also use regular chalk or a regular washable marker instead)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Tall square tissue box
  • Pins or safety pins

Are you excited to make some elbow patches? I am! Let's get started!


1. Put your sweater/cardigan on and using a mirror and your chalk/marker, make an X on your elbow area.

Yes, I missed my elbow in the pic, but you get the idea...

2. Next take your scissors and cut off the top of the tissue box. Remove any plastic that may be around the opening of the box top.

3. Grab your felt rectangle and fold it in half (hamburger style) and pin it so that the fabric stays folded in half. Using your tissue box top as a template, trace an oval on the felt.

4. Pin your ovals over the X marks you made. Fold the sweater/cardigan in half to check and see if the oval are placed evenly in the same spot of each arm.

5. Begin hand sewing your patches and try to keep the fabric level and even as you sew. For this project I recommend using an overcast stitch. You can find great hand sewing instructions here.

6. After the patches are sewn down, you are done! If you can't get enough of elbow patches, you can also try making them in different shapes like I did here.


  1. Crinkle Your closetFebruary 1, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    Simple.  Awesome.

  2. I LOVE ELBOW PATCHES! Thanks for sharing this tutorial... it's definitely already "pinned" and on my to-do list.

  3. I'm loving elbow patches...Now to find a sweater that needs some extra flair...

  4. So cute! I'm going to have to find a vintage-y style cardigan to put these on!


  5. You think I could use a fabric glue or a iron applied adhesive?  Love this idea..

  6. Thanks for this! I might give it a shot on my husband's sweater is fraying at the elbows!


  7. You can, but the fabric glue will make the felt stiff. 

    Since felt doesn't fray I didn't look into using an iron on backing.  I imagine that it will also make the felt a little stiff.  You can always ask at the craft store, they might be able to recommend a brand that won't make the elbow patch stiff.

  8. Such a lovely DIY! Thanks! :)

  9. I love this trend so much! definitely trying this out :)

    Please follow:3wildxx.blogspot.comxoxox

  10. if you dont have this type of kleenex box to use as a pattern and need to draw your own, try drawing patches that are roughly 4x6.  These are good measurements to start with.

  11. Make sure you get washable felt... the felt squares are NOT washable... you can buy a quarter of a yard of WASHABLE FELT... it will last longer..