Learn all about sewing Velcro. Velcro (or its generic name which is hook and eye tape) is one of the great inventions of modern times. If you have young kids you will love sewing Velcro on their clothing as they can put it on and remove it themselves, leaving you with an extra few precious minutes in your day. I use it extensively in my clutch sewing patterns too. It is easy and cheap to purchase and can be attached in a couple of easy steps. Ready to learn how to sew velcro? Let's get started...
Sewing Velcro Tutorial
Identifying the Sides
Before sewing Velco, let’s take a look at it. You will see that there are 2 different sides to Velcro. One is soft and the other has little loops and is quite scratchy. Check your pattern for instructions on where to put each piece.
If your pattern doesn't specify, I usually put the scratchy side facing out and the softer side on the piece facing in. That way if it happens to touch the skin it will only be a soft piece.
Substituting Velcro for Other Fasteners
Velcro can be used as a substitute for many types of buttons or zippers on many patterns and is a much easier fastener method for beginners to sew. Read more about clothes fastenings and alternatives to buttons.
How to Sew Velcro
Take the time to sew a scrap of Velcro before you start to put it on your final project. That way you can experiment with getting the stitches nice and even and find out what tools you will need.
When Sewing Velcro you need -
- The correct type of Velcro
- Good quality thread
- Strong needles
- Adjusted stitches
- Sewing tips
Purchase Good Quality Velcro
The right Velcro will make all the difference. Purchase a soft Velcro suitable for sewing through. These are available at most haberdashery stores or online sewing shops.
Avoid the cheaper hard stuff or the one with the adhesive on the back. These will cause skipped stitches. If the Velcro is not from a sewing type of shop, then it is probably not the type you are looking for.
Best Thread For Sewing Velcro
Color Matching - Use a matching colored thread to the Velcro. A matching thread will blend in and look much neater. If your stitching will show through to the fabric underneath, make sure your bobbin matches this fabric. Take the time to match the top thread to the Velcro and the bobbin thread to the fabric underneath and your sewing Velcro will look 10 times better automatically.
Strength - Make sure you are using a strong polyester thread. Cheap threads are more likely to skip stitches and break since they are under more pressure than regular sewing. I use the Rasant brand when I need to sew more difficult fabrics and Velcro since it is strengthened. Coats and Guterman are good as well.
Further Reading: Types of Sewing Thread
Use Strong Needles
For sewing Velcro, use a sharp needle in a thicker size. Try a universal needle in size 14 or 16. If you find your needles are breaking or bending, try a sturdy denim needle or leather needle. These are made stronger and are designed for piercing through tougher materials.
Further Reading: Sewing Machine Needles Sizes
Holding the Velcro in Place
I usually use pins to hold the Velcro in place. Good quality sewing Velcro is usually thin enough to get the pins through. Thicker Velcro can be held in place by a line of double-sided tape or fabric glue.
Just don't get any glue or tape under the edges where you will be sewing as it will gum up the needle and cause broken threads and skipped stitches.
Line up the two sides of the Velcro carefully. You can do this by marking the position first with chalk or a removable marking pen. You don't want to spend all this time sewing and then not have the 2 sides match up at the end.
Stitches For Sewing Velcro
When learning how to sew velcro, use smaller-length straight stitches. Try using a length of 1.5 to 2.0. I have always found longer machine stitches are more likely to skip.
Some Velcro can be stitched securely using a small zig-zag stitch of width 2.0 and length 2.0. Try widening the stitch if you are still getting skipped stitches.
If you see the stitching on the right side of the garment, I prefer a straight stitch, but this is just personal preference. You might like the look of the zig-zag.
Sew Around the Edge
When sewing Velcro, try and stitch as close to the edge as you can. Most velcro has a bit of a flat border which is easiest to sew on.
If you are having trouble getting close to the edge with your all purpose presser foot, try using a zipper foot instead. Of course, you can only straight stitch with a zipper foot. It is not suitable for a zig-zag.
Make sure you backstitch where you begin and end to ensure durability.
Most of the time, the stitching on the soft side of the Velcro will go smoothly, but you may have a few crooked stitches on the looped side. Don't obsess too much about it. As long as you are using small stitches, it will hold nicely and not come undone.
How to Sew Velcro by Hand
If you need to sew Velcro by hand, use a backstitch. Backstitch is an easy hand stitch that results in strong stitches that will be able to take the constant pulling required by the Velcro fastenings.
Always test a scrap before you start sewing on your final project to eliminate unpicking later.
Alternatives to Sewing Velcro
The Velcro brand now makes an iron-on version that is designed for fabric applications. It is mainly designed for heavier fabrics which are natural compositions such as cotton or canvas.
Other alternatives to Velcro are inserting a zipper, sewing buttonholes, press studs or my favorite no-sew option is Kam snaps. There are links to some of these tutorials below.
Do you have any extra tips for sewing Velcro? Please share with us below.
Read more about Fasteners
- 4 Alternatives to Buttons
- How to Sew Velcro
- Kam Snaps Tutorial
- How to Make Covered Buttons
- Sewing Buttonholes
- How to Sew a Zipper
- How to Sew Hook and Eye