How to Iron on Patches: An Easy Step-by-Step Tutorial

You might not think of using them often, but patches can offer a quick way to upgrade an item of clothing like a jacket, jeans, or hat. Plus, they can be a fun way to add flair to something more useful, like a kid’s backpack or work uniform. And the great thing is that you don’t need any great sewing skills to get the job done thanks to the easy to apply iron-on patches.

At the time of purchase, patches are marked as either sew-on or iron-on, explains fashion designer Maddie Iverson of O’Field Apparel. But if you’ve misplaced the packaging, the easiest way to determine which method is required to install a patch is to look at the back. “If there’s a sticky, sticky, sticky, or filmy layer on the back, then the patch is probably an iron-on patch. If a patch is devoid of extra layers on the back and has a felt or cloth backing, or you can clearly see the embroidery, then the patch needs to be sewn,” says Iverson.

If you’re working with the former, we’ll show you an easy way to iron on patches below.

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But first, what material do iron-on patches stick to?

You can iron patches onto a variety of fabrics, including polyester, denim, and more, but natural materials like cotton provide the best blank canvas. Keep in mind: Some materials, like leather or heat-sensitive synthetics, are prone to scorching and heat damage, so it’s best to choose patches for any item with this type of sensitive construction.

How to iron on patches:

Ready to start? Here is a short step-by-step guide:

  1. preparation First, make sure the back of the patch is free of foreign objects such as hair, lint, lint, or dirt. Next you need to know what type of fabric you are ironing the patch on.
  2. Choose the right temperature. When attaching a patch to clothing – such as jeans or a shirt – follow the iron setting indicated on the care label. If there’s no care label, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so use a lower heat but leave the iron on the patch long enough for the adhesive on the back to melt and fuse to the fabric. We also recommend covering the patch with a piece of cloth or parchment paper before ironing to avoid burning it.
  3. iron on Depending on the size of the patch, try using only the tip of the iron while applying the patch. Start in the middle of the patch to act as an anchor and move from there. Remember that the adhesive backing of an iron-on patch must melt completely in order to then bond to the fabric.
  4. let it rest Once you are sure the glue has set, remove the iron from the patch and allow your fabric and patch to rest and cool slightly. After about 5 to 10 minutes, you can lift the fabric up vertically and see if there are any spots where the patch isn’t fully fused. If necessary, repeat the process until the patch is fully bonded.
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What is the best ironing temperature for ironing on patches?

In general, delicate fibers like polyester use less heat and are heavier to stress, and more durable fibers like wool, cotton, and linen can withstand higher heat, Iverson says. Denim jeans and jackets, as well as most backpacks, can also withstand higher heat. Most irons have fiber settings that are safe to follow when choosing the best temperature for ironing a patch.

No matter what heat you use, never use the steam setting to iron on patches – the water will prevent proper bonding. Always use a dry iron to stick patches.

Why is my iron-on patch not sticking?

If your iron-on patch isn’t working, your iron probably isn’t hot enough, Iverson says. “Be sure to give your iron a few minutes to fully warm up to your chosen setting before using it.” And if you’re applying the patch to a delicate fabric, slowly increase the heat of the iron, being careful only using the tip of the iron and leaving it on the patch long enough for the heat to reach the glue and melt and bonds. Be careful with delicate fabrics to avoid melting or damaging them.

Pro Tip: If you find that the adhesive doesn’t hold over time and your patch is peeling around the edges, you can reattach it using fabric glue or hand-stitching just the part that’s peeling.

Can you iron on patches with a hair straightener?

“As long as the heat is hot enough to melt the glue on another garment or fabric, any iron will do,” says Iverson. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when using a hair straightener notes Lexie Sachs, Executive Director of the Textiles, Paper & Apparel Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute:

  1. It may be difficult to manoeuvre/reach certain parts of the garment.
  2. A used hair iron contains many oils and products. So if your iron isn’t clean, it can stain both the patch and your garment.
  3. You must be careful to only heat the patch, not the fabric itself.

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