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Girl Scout Badges

sewnew | Posted in General Discussion on

I was wondering if anybody knows of an EASY way for a beginning sewer to attach girl scout badges on a vest?  My daughter has about 15 for me to sew on, and they’re all those little 1 inch round ones.  Can anyone help me out?


  1. mimi | | #1

    Sewnew:  Try using your zipper foot and slowly navigate around the inside of the badge.  I have found this works best, but I mostly do military insignia (straight sides).  I wish the scouting people would come up with a pin on badge system!

    I wonder if you could use a button the same size as the badge?  Glue the badge to the button and sew the botton on?  Just a thought :)


  2. Megh | | #2

    I'd also suggest using a glue stick to temporarily hold the patches in place.    Meg

  3. kjp | | #3

    Wash the badges first - they will soften a little. 

  4. SewTruTerry | | #4

    Sewnew I had to respond to this one myself as this is one of the main things that I have people calling me to do in my small business.  The first thing that you need is clear monofilament thread.  It looks like very fine fishing line.  I use the stuff that is sold in the Quiliting department of my local JoAnns.  Then set up your machine for a narrow zigzag (width is about a 3 and length is about a 2 on my machine) and attach any foot that has a narrow channel on the bottom.  I use a 3 groove pin tuck foot because the size is perfect.  Then loosen your tension slightly and just sew around the badge.  If you are sewing on Try-its you can sometimes sew in a triangular 8 pattern if you know what I mean to sew on 2 at a time without having to cut the threads and begin again.

    If you do not have a machine then do a small whip stitch and just catch the loose threads of the badge trim.

    This works as well with BoyScout badges also.  And if you are sewing on a pocket I always take off part of the pocket to attach the badge and then resew the pocket. That way the pocket is still functional.

    Good luck.

    1. sewnew | | #5

      THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!  I will try that out.  Does a glue stick work to temporarily hold the badge in place?  I'm so new that I'm afraid I'll get started and the machine will move the badge, etc!!!  Also - I assume that it's "easier" to sew on the "right side" rather than from below?  Is that right?

      1. sueb | | #6

        Hi sewnew,

        Just use a water soluble glue stick and you should be fine.  You could also use some stitchwichery too.  That would really hold it in place for you.  Alternatively you could hand baste it down with some large running stitches in a contrasting thread that you'll be able to see easily to take out once you've machine stitched it down.  And yes, you'll definitely want to stitch from the front.

        Good luck !

      2. carolfresia | | #7

        Another tip that I learned from experience: if you use monofilament thread, and are using fusible web to hold the badges in place, position and fuse all the badges first, before sewing. If they're closely spaced, you can melt the stitching on one as you fuse the other if you sew first, then fuse!


        1. sueb | | #8

          Actually sewnew, Carol makes a good point.  If you sew the patch down with monofilament thread you'll have to be careful whenever you iron the uniform as well as with the heat of the dryer when it's washed.  You may want to consider just using a cotton thread in a matching color instead.



          1. SewTruTerry | | #9

            Just remember though by the time all of the badges and other patches get sewn on there will be no need to iron the vest or any other garment.  They become almost bullet proof.  LOL.

          2. sewnew | | #10

            HA HA HA!!!  Yeah - I bet they do!!  The patches that are big that I put on the abck of her vest are proving that theory already!!!  I appreciate ALLLLL of your great advice!  I feel much more confident about sewing them on now!!  Thank you all!!

          3. stitchwiz | | #11

            I've been following this thread with great interest.  Having been in 4H, Guides etc, and having 4 children go through Army cadets, I'm really surprised that all these moms and their helpers are sewing on the badges.  We were told to do our own.  So my children had to do their own also.  I always had a machine and a set of tools that were just for the kids.  (My main machine was off limits, along with with my personal sewing scissors and rotary cutter)  Theirs was serviced along with my own - no point in giving them inferior tools to work with, it would just discourage them from sewing.  Many can be bought at yard or rummage sales for very little money.

            I've never regretted showing my kids how to sew, iron and do their own laundry.   I started each one off by letting them make a blanket for their favourite teddy bear.  They cut out the fabric, folded the hem and stitched it on the machine.  The final step, if they wanted, was a decorative blanket stitch around the whole thing.  Each child was different but they all loved to try something new.  Two of the kids still have their first bear blankets!  My daughters' was given, along with a new teddy,  to a child who has just lost a sibling, the other was lost on a stormy, snowy night.  It was stormy inside as well as out that night!

            They all started to learn how to do laundry as toddlers by sitting on the dryer while I loaded the machines.  It was a game to see if they knew which cycle I needed, and of course, they got to start the machines.  By the time they figured out that it was work, it was too late!  They were hooked!  Of course, now that they are grown up, they are so glad that they never had to wear pink socks, shirts and underwear and some of the other disasters that they witnessed.

            They can all press a military uniform to perfection.  One of my boys actually made money at camp one summer doing other kids uniforms.  It defeated the purpose of having the kids be truly responsible for their own uniform since they would rather pay someone else than do it themselves.  My son sure made a lot of money for himself because he could do it well.  My eldest son took size 44x34 mens pants from his step-brother who had lost weight and remade them to fit himself - 32x34.  He removed the waist band, restitched all the seams resetting pockets, inserted pleats on a couple of pairs, re-positioned the belt loops, and finished off be re-attaching the waistband.  The first pair he would only wear with the shirt out, the second pair he bloused the shirt over the waist band, if he thought about it, the rest of the pairs were perfect!  Saved himself a lot of money on school clothes that year.  The amazing thing about this was that I had never been aware of him watching me as I sewed.  He figured it out on his own. 

            Perhaps we have so few sewers now because the young people were never encouraged to sew for themselves.  Having access to the equipment is so important.  If they have to worry about being too careful, they are afraid to try or their creativity is stifled.  I made myself available for them, but never watched over their shoulder (I hated that.)  I never gave them a hard time about something jamming or getting broken; who hasn't broken something at some point!  I fixed things many times, but never the same thing twice for each one. 

            My two step-sons have also learned the basics as grown men.  They had their fair share of broken needles, throat plates etc, but they can operate a sewing machine almost as well as lawn mower.  And, the best of all, is having grandchildren who can ask their dads to fix anything, even a torn coat.  In a childs eyes, dad is right up there with God, and helping dad stay there as long as possible is probably one of the best gifts that I could give them.

            Happy stitching!


          4. madameblue | | #12

            So glad I found this topic. Even though I have nobody in Scouting or the military, there are 3 of us in Taekwon Do, and we have our share of patches, too. I will definitely make use of these tips. :D

          5. User avater
            ElSews | | #19

            Most Excellent!

            I am glad to hear that you have taught your children some very basic skills that we all should learn. 

            Absolutely, kids should sew on their own patches, for what every organization/sport.  For Girl Scouts, learning to do this could be a part of a sewing badge.

          6. Libby100 | | #20

            I am a Girl Scout leader and enjoy sewing of many kinds in my spare time.   Sewing on badges is really quite difficult for beginners, so in our troop, we have occasional uniform nights where a couple of moms with sewing machines help get everyone up to date.  To encourage new sewers, I bring in a couple of items to see if there is any interest.  At the moment, several girls are collecting up their Capri-sun juice bags to make a purse.  I hope to have that project underway after the holidays.  This past week, four new scouts made their "sit-upons" which required them to sew around the sides of their vinyl pads.  There were some very interesting variations.

            Girl Scouts have changed Brownie badges, which are called Try-Its, to the iron-on format only.  These really is easier since Brownies easily average a Try-It per meeting which means a lot of things to attach to that vest.




      3. mem | | #13

        Instead of a glue stick I would use a double sided adhesive like fliesofix which you iron onto the back of the badge and then take the backing paper off and iron it into postion. You could use a hot glue gun too that might be a permanent solution if you arent washing.

        1. SewTruTerry | | #14

          Unfortunately most of the uniforms or vest or karate gear that most of these patches or badges have to be attached to are made of a polyester blend of some kind and so it is like ironing onto teflon.  It might look good at first but will never last.  I have a son in karate and boy scouts and a daughter that was in girl scouts and have tried everything and heard from other parents that have tried things as well and sewing is the only thing that will last.

        2. carolfresia | | #15

          For my last bout of Cub Scout badges, I used scotch tape. I just taped each badge in to position, and pulled up the tape as I reached it. It seemed to work fine, although using a fusible web tape holds the badges in place more effectively.


          1. kjp | | #18

            I like the scotch tape idea, or the glue stick!  No need to add extra steps to a tedious task.  I think I should start a local business to sew these on for our cub scout pack!  I use the clear monofilament thread.  The iron could be a problem IF I needed to iron the cub scout shirt.  But - there's so much polyester that it doesn't wrinkle!  karin

        3. vaaardvark | | #21

          I used a hot glue gun to stick a patch on my military uniform.  I thought I was doing a great thing.  But the first time I had my uniform cleaned. The glue melted and left a permanent stain that was very visable.

          I was dissappointed.


          1. mainestitcher | | #22

            I wonder if I should even admit this, but it's so long ago....
            I was a Girl Scout.My Mom taught Home Ec. at the time.She attached the badges with "Jiffy-sew," a precursor to Fabri-tac. Yup, they were glued.

          2. vaaardvark | | #23

            The military patches are so thick that glue doesn't hold them very well.  As my boss found out in front of a 2-star general.  His patch fell off right in front of him during their first introduction.

            NOT a good impression.  I was very imbarrassed for him....


  5. MTothill | | #16

    As a former Scout leader, the kids were strongly encouraged to sew their own badges. As I was in Brownies 30 yeas ago.

    Part of the whole idea behind these programs is to help our kids be independant, to learn new skills and have a sense of accomplishment.

    By all means show your daughter how to do one, then let her do the rest.

    Many people have given you great suggestions on how to go about it.

    I too have a 3/4 size sewing machine for the kids to use.

    What is that old proverb about giving soemone a fish or teaching them to fish. I think we give our kids to many fish, but do not take the time to teach them to fish.

    1. SewTruTerry | | #17

      "What is that old proverb about giving soemone a fish or teaching them to fish. I think we give our kids to many fish, but do not take the time to teach them to fish."

      Unfortunately there are fewer and fewer "fisherman" out there to teach and too many that just want to wave a magic wand and have it done.

      Speaking as one who teaches the problem lies in not getting to them when they are young enough to interest them.  I have a tendency to find the ones that are examples of another old saying about teaching an old dog ect...   Oh well better late than never.

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