Girls Horse Club Blog

Horse Crafts: Fashion Patches and Appliques

Published by • Jul 11th, 2007 • Category: Arts & Crafts, How It's Made, LeadMare Tales

Ever read those stories from way back when education for girls consisted of learning to sew, cook, paint, or play the piano? It was all about acquiring “feminine” skills to attract a husband. Now girls earn advanced degrees and advance to leadership roles alongside the guys. We still learn to sew, cook, paint, or play the piano (and so do the guys!) but mostly as an enjoyable hobby.

Speaking of enjoyable hobbies, crafty things can be a lot of fun, especially personalizing your clothing. Here’s a simple, inexpensive way to express your horse craziness and create a piece of clothing that’s uniquely yours.


  • New or recycled clothing item
  • Sticky back fusible web such as “Steam-a-Seam” (see below for more info)
  • Horse-themed fabric
  • Straight pins
  • Iron
  • Embroidery or regular thread (optional)
  • Needle or sewing machine (optional)


    1. Pick a piece of clothing you want to personalize. I chose these ‘designer’ jeans purchased at a discount store for just a few dollars. They’re big and baggy (very comfy for riding) and came with ‘designer’ holes. You can choose something already in your closet, or go to a thrift store and find something inexpensive.


    1. Find a piece of horsey fabric. I bought this vintage fabric piece on eBay. There are plenty of online sources for fabric (like this and this) and your local fabric store may have horse-themed prints. You can also cut up an old piece of clothing — maybe those horse jammies that no longer fit but you can’t bear to throw them away. The size of your patch(es) or applique(s) will determine how much fabric is needed.

Horse Fabric

    1. Whether you’re patching a hole or adding a decorative applique to a perfectly good piece of clothing, you’re ready to start the design. Determine where you want the patch or applique, how large it will be, and what shape. If necessary, make a rough pattern using a sheet of paper, or use a light pencil to sketch the shape onto your fabric.
    2. Now take out a sheet of sticky back fusible web. It’s a thin material that, when heated, will ‘glue’ two pieces of fabric together so you don’t have to sew. I used Steam-a-Seam. Most fabric and craft suppliers carry something similar.


    1. Pin your fabric to the fusible web, being sure it’s securely attached to the area of your patch. Cut through both the fabric and fusible web along the outline of your design. You’ll end up with the patch and a piece of the fusible web in the same size and shape, like this:


    1. Now you’re ready to iron it onto your clothing. To make sure nothing slips around, pin the patch and fusible web onto your clothing then iron it into place, following the instructions on the fusible web package.


      THAT’S IT! You now have a fashionable horsey patch to personalize your clothing. But if you want something even more special…

    2. (optional) The patch will hold up in the wash, but not indefinitely so you may want to take some optional steps. Use a sewing machine or a needle and thread to stitch around the edges. This will secure the patch and keep the cut edges from becoming frayed. Or…
    3. (optional) You can do what I did and secure the patch while spiffing-it-up with some embroidery. I purchased this package of embroidery thread in various colors for $5. You can also buy individual colors.

Embroidery Floss

    1. (optional) Select a color of thread and decide what stitch you want to use. I visited the Embroiderers Guild web site with lots of info and a library showing different stitches. I decided to use a basic chain stitch and picked black thread so it would stand out against the design. Thread one end of the embroidery thread through an embroidery needle (basically a regular needle with a large eye), pulling it through about two or three inches. Tie a knot in the other end. It should look like this:


    1. Now follow the instructions for whatever stitch you choose. Be sure to sew through all layers of fabric to help secure the patch or applique. You may need a thimble to protect your finger if you’re pushing the needle through thick fabric like denim. When you’re done, it will look something like this:


VOILA! I now have a pair of jeans that are uniquely mine. And on those occasions when I need to do a one-rein stop, Annie will have a pleasant view of this cute little foal instead of looking at the hole in my jeans. :)


Did I mention these jeans also came with only one back pocket? Perhaps that’s why they were at a discount store instead of an expensive boutique. Guess what I’ll be doing next…