Proper Way to Apply Patches on Karate Uniforms

Karate master in kimono

Most karate systems have guidelines for where and how to place patches on a uniform. These patches signify various achievements, such as advancing to a new rank or becoming an instructor. With a few simple techniques, you can apply karate patches yourself every time you earn them.

Proper Positioning

When you earn new patches, ask your karate instructor where they should go on your uniform. Pin the patches in place with safety pins or pushpins. Try on your uniform to be sure the patches are positioned correctly.


Sew on the patches by hand with a needle and a thread, or with a sewing machine. Machine-sewing takes less time and provides a stronger bond than hand-sewing. Match the thread color with that of the patch's edge and, for machine-sewing, match the inner bobbin color with the uniform color. Remove the pins as you sew.

Ironing and Gluing

Iron-on backings and fabric glues make short work of applying patches to karate uniforms. However, these methods do not produce as strong a bond as sewing. In addition, patches that are glued or ironed onto your uniform might loosen over time or cause damage to the fabric.