Below is a story of my own personal experience with using Badge Magic on three different Cub Scout uniforms. Originally the Badge Magic was applied in the fall of 2004 and attempted to be removed in the fall of 2006.
If you want to read the promotional materials from Badge Magic and to read what they say about their product, go read their site, here.
If you are looking for instructions on how to use Badge Magic, they are inside the package. If you have lost those directions or you no longer own them, or if you want to read them before you purchase the product you may read the instructions on the Badge Magic official website, here.
The directions on the site also include the manufacturer's directions for removal of the badges which is something I didn't know existed, so I didn't read them before doing what I did, as told in the below story. I still hesitate to use solvent based cleaners on the uniform as the Badge Magic site does state to test an area to see if it stains.
Perhaps the moral of the story is to make sure you read the manufacturer's instructions on how to remove patches that used Badge Magic before attempting to do so.
It is that time of year again, time for the start of the new Scouting year. I am writing this blog post as a service to you. Hopefully you will read this and consider it wisely before making any decisions. I am inspired to write it also because I’ve been getting hits on my blog from people looking for help and information about an easy way to sew badges onto a uniform.
First I will say that to have a little side business as a badge sewer would be a small and easy way to make some money. From within your Scout Pack you could offer say, $1 per badge, if you are handy with machine sewing. Many parents would be happy for this, especially if you understand the BSA rules for proper placement of the badges on the uniform. Or you could do as my friend did and pay her tailor to do the work.
I am not a sewer. The two general times I wished I am a good sewer are at Halloween time each year, and at times when I need to sew badges onto Scout uniforms.
The first year my friend and neighbor helped me sew the badges onto uniforms with her machine. The next time I needed her help, her machine was not working.
Then a friend offered to help, one who brags at how easy it is. Well her machine broke and was out of commission.
So two seasons ago, at the urging of the Scout shop’s staff, I bought Badge Magic. It sounded too good to be true, put the sticker between the cloth and the badge and the badge would stay put, without sewing! It worked well, or so I thought, until when I washed and dried the garment in the machines, the badges fell off. Grrr.
I also tried using that adhesive free webbing intended for hemming pants, to use as a fuser between the shirt and the badge, you fuse it with the iron. That worked temporarily but not permanently.
Last spring, I applied a wide badge over my son’s top flap of his shirt (the Outdoor Activity Award). At uniform inspection he was told that I put it on the wrong side of his chest. Whoops.
It was applied only with Badge Magic. I removed it by pulling on it with all of my might. Note, I now realize that the manufacturer does not recommend that method. Adhesive residue was left on the cloth of the shirt flap. I worked on it for about an hour to try to pick it off to not much avail. I then washed it in the machine, that didn’t work either, it just balled up like a big glue ball with lint stuck all over it. I tried using a solvent to take it off, but a test revealed that it would stain the fabric permanently. I then sat and picked at it with my fingertips and tweezers for about two more hours. It is still not all off. I also didn’t bother to sew that big patch onto the right place on the shirt. I give up.
In their defense I will say that the makers of Badge Magic said to be careful with the placement of the badge. What can I say, I made a true mistake, pure and simple, it was unintended!
Last year, feeling incompetentabout the badges in general, wanting to sew the other badges onto a red vest, I bought a sewing machine for the purpose of badge sewing and Halloween costume making. I attempted and succeeded making two Halloween costumes. I spent 28 hours doing that and probably will never undertake anything like that again. I also shed many tears and stressed myself out completely. Now the machine seems to not be working.
My friend helped me sew some badges on with my machine. I asked if the pins were in the way, she said to sew through them. My husband said it would break the needle. My friend said, no. So I did it and the needle broke. Whoops.
At that point I gave up, and my son’s uniform could have had arrow points put onto it but they are missing. Oh well.
And so this fall, we have changed Packs. That means that I need to change the Pack numbers on my Leader uniform shirt and ditto for my husband’s. Guess what I found out? They were put on with Badge Magic (I could no longer remember which patches were sewn on by which method.). Since they had partially lifted off after being in the washing machine, I had my friend sew them onto the shirts on top of the Badge Magic that was still there. So I found out last week that the stitches were about 100 stitches to the inch. This was very hard to tear with the seam ripper and could not be done by hand either. And then there was the Badge Magic. What a disaster, even after the stitches were out I couldn’t get the patch off without a struggle. I ended up ripping my shirt once and my husband’s shirt in three places, when the seam ripper slipped or when I was pulling the patch away from the Badge Magic. Also the seam ripper was getting gunked up with the Badge Magic and I had to keep washing it with a solvent to get it off (nothing else worked).
I am at my wits end as now I am supposed to remove the big round patch on my husband’s shirt to change to note his different Pack position. It is both sewn and with Badge Magic. I am doomed. I am considering two options:
a. having him go through the year with a higher ranking position on his arm which he does not hold
b. sewing the new patch right on top of the old one
The third option is to buy a new shirt and all other new patches (over $60, I am sure it will cost us), so that is NOT an option for our family.
So I have now sworn off Badge Magic! I choose to hand sew patches going forward.
(If you want to use Badge Magic and you like it, good for you. I loved it until I had problems removing it.)
What I did earlier this week was to sew badges on by hand (and I am happy with that). To follow BSA rules I used the thread that matches the exterior ring/edge/piping of the badge. I sewed through that part only, with a whipstitch. (Note: I know so little about sewing that I just had to find what the name of that stitch is called using Google.) That stitch is easy. I doubled the thread to make it stronger. Since I matched the thread color, it is not very visible. I have to say I am quite pleased with myself. I only poked myself about ten times and only one of those was a serious puncture wound with prolonged bleeding.
The last complaint I’ll make is that even with pinning the badge to the shirt while doing the hand sewing, it slips, due to the fact that the badges are waxed on the back and the shirt has polyester in it.
Lastly, I did try ironing badges on in the past but that did not work, for whatever reason. Whatever happened to iron on badges?
Actually the hand sewing was not that bad, even if it did take me three hours to do two new shirts and make small modifications to two other shirts.
The next project for Scouts is sewing the extra badges onto the red vest.
And for the record this year we’ve bought store bought Halloween costumes, I’m over the idea of making homemade Halloween costumes.
I won't tell you what to do, whether to hand sew, machine sew or to use Badge Magic. I hope you are happy with the decision that you make.
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