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THE PAWFECT PATCH

When I was a baby, we adopted a cat. 

Her name was Nola and she was my Aunt’s before becoming ours. My Aunt, who’s animal ownership infuriates me to no end, would leave her unspayed to have litters of kittens. 

While spending some sisterly quality time together, she complained to my mother that she was sick of the cat becoming pregnant and decided to abandon her to a shelter. My mother became upset at the notion of just tossing her aside and asked her why she didn’t just get her fixed? As a barrage of excuses came about, “it’s too expensive” “I don’t have the time” etc.. in walked my cousin. A toddler herself, carrying a cat that was looped to her side with her arm under her belly, dragging her feet and tail along the carpet floor. Completely unbothered, just along for the ride. Needless to say, my mother was shocked. This kid was tossing her from side to side with not a single scratch on her from this cat. Any cat that doesn’t rake a child’s eye out while being roughly handled, shouldn’t have to go to a shelter where there was a potential to be killed. And surely didn’t deserve living a life with my Aunt. So it was that moment that she said, “we’ll take her”. 

Nola and I grew up together. She was my best friend and we did everything side by side. I always joked about how I never needed an alarm clock because she always woke me up before school. When I’d pull into the driveway she would be at my window sill, waiting for me to walk in the garage door. She’d bounce around, lean her body against me, and do a combination of a purr and meow when I picked her up. She would finish the milk in my cereal, ate potato chips with me on the couch, and would only eat 2 bites of food at any given time. At the end of the day she would nestle in and sleep in the crook of my arm. She lived to be 22 and passed away in my arms, laying her head where she used to sleep. 

She was more than just an animal, she helped shape me into who I am today. She taught me countless life lessons and in 2018 I got her immortalized on my body. I found an old photo of her curled up on our homely looking couch and decided to get her portrait tattooed on the inside of my arm – you guessed it, right where she used to sleep. Everytime I look down it’s like she’s just taking a peaceful little snooze next to me and it brings me happiness and comfort. 

Nola was the perfect pet. Regardless of her flaws and claws, Nola was my everything. Just as I’m sure to you, your animal is the perfect pet. I chose to get her memory represented on my skin, but I know there are those who can’t or wouldn’t do that. Thankfully with the initiative of The Pawfect Patch, there is a way you can show everyone how special your companion is to you without having to go under the needle… sort of.

Owner Hali Englert + Moo

A Pawfect Patch is a one woman owned custom embroiderment business that launched in the summer of 2020. Hali, the brains and brawn of the operation, began this as a way to express creative energy during her off months as a high school science teacher. As a practitioner of Muay Thai, she is no stranger to dedication and commitment to learning a new skill and thus began the road to patchwork. 

Owner Hali Englert

Strike-Eng Designs began from an idea in July 2020. Her thought process verbatim was “Hey! Muay Thai peeps LOVE their pets and showing them off– what if they could wear their pet on their shorts?” Patches are very common in the Muay Thai community. Fighters often use their shorts as a way to promote. This could range from the gym they fight out of, paid ad sponsorships, last names or fight nicknames, or simply something the fighter finds endearing, such as their pet. 

As she began her business, we began to see the pandemic spike, causing the majority of us to isolate ourselves yet again. Hali saw this was an opportune time to research products and machines to make her dream come true and nail down her brand. Settling on the name “Strike-Eng Designs”, to pay homage to her last name, Englert (ING- LURT) and love of Thaiboxing, She worked diligently to get the right equipment and programs in order to digitize your pets unique features. 

William Seeman + Molly

With eagerness and devotion, she spent weeks figuring out how to better understand textures, fill stitches, satin stitches, fabric buckling, all while waiting for supplies to arrive. After a few months of trial and error, her first patch was created. By mid september of 2020, she had made her first sale! 

It didn’t take long for outside audiences to take notice of her work. Strike-Eng Designs was founded specifically for Muay Thai enthusiasts, but soon thereafter, many customers who were not a part of the fight community, began to commission portraits of their pet. As we know, patches and embroiderment does not belong to one niche group. So come November, Strike-Eng Designs was struck out and it was replaced with a whole new revamp titled ‘The Pawfect Patch’.

“One of my customers said “OMG, this patch is PERFECT!” to which my corny-self replied “I think you meant PAWFECT”, and thus, The Pawfect Patch was re-branded!”

– Hali Englert, Owner

The process is daunting to anyone like myself who has zero needlework skills. So I briefly interviewed Hali on what her design process is.

Me: Okay…  Now that you have refined your techniques, take me through the steps like if you’re teaching me elementary school science.

So, I take the photo the client supplies and trace it on a drawing program on my tablet. I block out colors in the base layer according to colors in the photo and what color threads I know I have. Then I’ll trace a second layer for the darker details and line work. Then a 3rd and sometimes 4th layer for highlights or to make textures for fluff.

I send myself the photos and then run them through a digitizing program which will turn the design into three sets of sewing files. Throw them on my usb, plug it in to the embroidery machine, and get to work.

And what holds all of this in place as you’re working?

The grey thing is the hoop. I sandwich a few layers of stabilizer and felt, then stretch it tight like a drum. Arguably this is the most important step. If it moves at all we get gaps between the colors or the fabric buckles and it all implodes 

How many colors does one patch use?

Each patch typically has 15-25 colors. I’ve gotten really into the idea that it’s like painting with thread. I counted and I have 26 different browns/tans and 12 different gray/black

You learned all of this so quickly! How did you get to where you are now?

Most of this I learned through trial and error and youtube videos. I didn’t know how to sew or anything about a machine before I bought mine in August.

What do you require for someone who wants a patch done?

I make my best patches with high quality photos! If it’s grainy or dark, I interpret the lines and that doesn’t always turn out great 😓 I have gotten far more comfortable with dog and cat facial structure, so I’ve also gotten better “painting” shadows in

This was so informative and gave an awesome insight to what can be done with just thread! Thank you!

The Pawfect Patch offers plenty of behind the scenes content on their Instagram and TikTok which is linked below. You can tell that Hali takes great pride in her work and the love and care that goes into her designs are unmatched. My partner got both of the puppies on patches and I can’t begin to tell you how without even meeting them she nailed their personalities. Although both him and I have our companions tattooed on us, it doesn’t change the fact that I would 10/10 recommend getting them stitched too. His, a bright reminder while fighting in the ring of Molly who’s waiting at home; and a hat to commemorate the absolute goofball that is Rudy. 

Left: Rudy
RIght: Molly

Though it will be coming up on a year since her journey embarked (get it?), she has no means to slow down. 

With a new vision in mind, increasing her machinery, and experimenting with new materials, Hali is expanding her business to offer a wide variety of designs. Numerous big plans are in the works that are top secret for the time being. However, I can assure you that you won’t want to miss out on her latest updates! If you find yourself curious on any of her products, you can find her shop and email down below. 

Shop The Pawfect Patch below and follow their social media to stay updated!

Thank you for reading!

Follow On Instagram | @allthingssadgirl
Author | Chelsea Matsumonji @thechelseam

3 Comments

  1. Hali K Englert
    Hali K Englert April 9, 2021

    Omg I absolutely adore this ❤❤❤ I’m so honored you wrote about me and my business! And, of course, for letting me stitch up Rudy and Molly 😅😅

  2. Eric
    Eric April 11, 2021

    Loved this. Hali is awesome and it was fun to see her transition to Pawfect Patch, She got so good, so fast at this. Also, love your story about Nola. Props to the tattoo artist who nailed it!

  3. Riveavat
    Riveavat May 4, 2021

    It is remarkable, very good information

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