We often see bikers wearing patched jackets. A biker’s jacket will protect the biker from road debris, rocks, and dust and also convey a message or a brief introduction to those you meet by the patches on them. Patches are used not only for decorative purposes but also for what organization you are affiliated with. That is why you must know how to properly apply your patches to your biker jacket.
Patches are a great way to customize or reinvent your leather biker jacket. Applying it to your favorite leather jacket is not complicated as long as you have the proper equipment and are creative enough to DIY the patch application on your favorite leather biker jacket.
What are Biker Patches?
Motorcycle clubs are diverse and include clubs for police officers, veterans, firefighters, families, and others. Biker patches are patches worn on the vests of members of motorcycle clubs to showcase their membership. These patches are often worn at the back of their vest and are full of meaning and tradition. Most motorcycle club uses customized biker patches with unique designs and meanings. But ready-to-use biker patches are also available in patch shops.
The Meaning of Biker Patches
Biker patches are not just used as decorations; they also have meanings that convey information only known to the bikers. Below are the meanings of some biker patches:
- One-piece back patch: A one-piece patch signifies the wearer belongs to a riding club or motorcycle organization. This patch contains information like the club’s name, logo, and location.
- Three-piece back patch: Three-piece biker patches are used by biker clubs that have standards on who can join their club. In this patch, the centerpiece often carries the club’s emblem and name.
- Activity patches: These patches are given to bikers who join club activities such as charity events.
- Outlaw bike insignia: Some self-designated “outlaw” bikers or motorcycle clubs wear patches with the shape of a diamond and a log reading “1%.” This is because they considered themselves not part of the 99% of bikers represented by the American Motorcycle Association. Some patches may also indicate that the wearer may have engaged in criminal activities. An example of this is the number 13. Number 13 stands for the 13th letter of the alphabet, M, which refers to marijuana.
Why Adding Patches is a Great Way to Personalize Your Jacket
While the classic leather biker jacket is undeniably chic, personalizing it with patches takes it to new heights. Adding patches allows you to transform a mass-produced jacket into a one-of-a-kind statement piece. It’s a creative outlet for self-expression, letting you showcase your passions, affiliations, or unique tastes.
Whether you’re a vintage motorcycle fan, a music enthusiast, or simply someone who loves to stand out in a crowd, patches offer a canvas to tell your story. They breathe life into your jacket, making it an extension of your personality. Plus, the DIY aspect adds a touch of craftsmanship and authenticity, making your jacket truly yours.
Materials Needed for Patch Application
- Leather Biker Jacket: Start with a quality leather biker jacket as your canvas. Ensure it’s clean and in good condition before applying patches.
- Thread and Needles
- Iron and Ironing Board
- Fabric Glue (Optional): Fabric glue can provide additional security for patches, especially if you’re concerned about them coming loose.
Preparing Your Jacket for Patch Application
Before you start adding patches to your leather biker jacket, it’s essential to prepare your jacket properly to ensure flawless and lasting customization. Below are the steps involved in cleaning and prepping your leather jacket.
- Begin by gathering high-quality leather cleaning products.
- Look for leather-specific cleaners and conditioners that effectively remove dirt, grime, and any previous residues from the jacket.
- Avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the leather.
- Use a soft, lint-free cloth for the cleaning process. Microfiber or chamois cloths work well. Avoid abrasive materials that could scratch or scuff the leather.
Choosing the Patch Placement
- Consider Design and Balance: Consider the size and shape of each patch and its designs. Consider how they will visually interact with each other and with the jacket as a whole.
- Use Pins to Visualize Placement: Before committing to sewing or gluing on the patches, use pins to secure them to the jacket temporarily. This allows you to experiment with different placements and arrangements. Step back and assess how the patches look on the jacket, ensuring they align with your vision.
How to Put Patches on Leather Biker Jackets
You can use iron-on patches on leather jackets, but sometimes, the adhesive backing doesn’t affix well. If you iron them on your leather jacket, you might scorch your jacket. So, the best way to apply iron-on patches to your leather jacket is by sewing or gluing.
1. Sewing Patches on Leather Biker Jacket
- Threading the Needle: Thread a needle with the appropriate thread color. Double-threading can provide extra strength. Knot one end of the thread to prevent it from slipping through the fabric.
- Securing the Patch: Position the patch on the desired location, ensuring it’s aligned as intended. Use pins to keep it in place while you work.
- Employ a basic or more decorative embroidery stitch, depending on your preference.
- Pass the needle through the patch and the leather jacket fabric, securing the patch tightly.
- Continue stitching around the patch until it’s completely attached.
- Knot the thread on the inside of the jacket to secure it.
Tips on Sewing Patch on Leather Jacket
- Make sure you have suitable materials.
- Remember, “less is more.” Don’t overdo your leather biker jacket with patches.
- Remove some stitching on the jacket lining to run your hand under it, and when you sew on the patch, you can keep from sewing the lining.
- Use a heavy-duty needle and thimble. Thimble protects your fingernail.
- If you can’t remove the lining, try to keep the lining smooth and centered so as not to tear or bind when you put it on.
- Keep each stitch close so it will not come loose or get caught and ripped.
2. How to Put a Patch on a Leather Jacket Without Sewing
Using fabric glue to attach patches on your biker jacket offers a simple and convenient alternative to sewing. Fabric glue provides a strong and permanent bond, making it ideal for attaching patches to various fabric types.
When selecting fabric glue for attaching patches, consider the following:
- Look for the best glue for patches on leather that are labeled as washable and durable.
- Choose a glue that dries clear to avoid any visible residue on the fabric or patch.
- Ensure that the glue or adhesive suits the fabric type and the patch material, as different adhesives work best for specific fabrics and patch backings.
Steps on using fabric glue:
- Preparing the clothing and patch:
- Clean the surface of the leather jacket where the patch will be placed, and ensure it is free from dirt, dust, and any residues that may affect adhesion.
- Adjust the patch on the fabric to your desired placement.
Applying the glue:
- Apply a thin and even layer of fabric glue to the backside of the patch, covering the entire surface area.
- Press the patch firmly onto the leather jacket and apply even pressure to ensure good contact between the glue and the fabric.
- Check that all edges and corners of the patch are securely adhered.
- Allow the glue to dry completely as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on the product used, this typically ranges from a few hours to overnight.
Tips on maintaining the longevity of patches attached with fabric glue
- Follow the care instructions provided by the fabric glue manufacturer.
- When washing the garment, turn it inside out or place it in a laundry bag to protect the patch and reduce stress on the adhesive.
- Avoid using harsh detergents or bleaching agents that may weaken the adhesive bond.
- Handwashing or spot-cleaning the garment is often gentler on the patches and glue.
- Check the patch periodically for any signs of lifting or detachment. If needed, reapply fabric glue to secure the edges or corners.
Cleaning Tips for Leather Jackets
Whether patched or not, leather jackets require special care to maintain their appearance and longevity. Here are essential cleaning tips:
- Regular Dusting: Gently dust your jacket with a soft, dry cloth or a soft-bristle brush to remove surface dirt and dust. This helps prevent dirt from settling into the leather pores.
- Spot Cleaning: Use a damp cloth with a small amount of mild leather cleaner for minor stains or spills. Always follow the product’s instructions and avoid using excessive water, which can damage the leather.
- Deep Cleaning: Occasionally, you may need to perform a deeper cleaning. In this case, use a leather-specific cleaner and conditioner. Apply the cleaner using a soft cloth, following the product’s instructions. After cleaning, apply the conditioner to keep the leather supple and prevent it from drying out.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight and Heat: Store your patched jacket away from direct sunlight and heat sources, as excessive heat can cause the leather to dry and crack.
- Hang Properly: Use padded hangers to store your leather jacket. Avoid hanging it in a crowded closet, as tight spaces can lead to wrinkles and creases.
- Weather Protection: If you plan to wear your patched jacket in wet or rainy conditions, consider applying a leather waterproofing spray to protect it from moisture.
Your personalized biker jacket is more than just an article of clothing; it reflects your passions, interests, and unique taste. By adding patches or your own artwork, you’ve transformed a simple jacket into a wearable work of art that tells your story.
Wearing your personalized biker jacket confidently is the first step in showcasing your style to the world. Mix and match it with different outfits, adapt it to other seasons, and use accessories to complete your look. It’s a versatile piece that can adapt to any occasion and make a statement wherever you go.