Patches aren’t just for Girl Scout sashes anymore. They’ve made a comeback in recent years, and even celebrities have boarded the patch bandwagon.
Whether you’re an avid crafter or simply want to try getting in on the patch trend, we’ve got the basics here for you. Keep reading for tips on sprucing up your favorite garment or bag with a fashionable patch.
Pick Your Patch
It seems like there are as many patches out there as there are fish in the sea. Want a pizza patch or a patch of your favorite dog breed? You can probably find it!
Aside from the fun part of shopping for a patch that shows off your style and personality, you’ll also want to consider the type of patch you’re purchasing. Patches come in so many kinds of fabrics, and this often impacts the method for applying them and on what type of material.
You can make the actual process of putting on a patch as easy or as complicated you want, depending on the patch type.
Use Iron-on Patches
One of the easiest patch categories to work with is an iron-on patch. The beauty of this type of patch is the simplicity. It’s ready to go just as soon as you are—and your iron is hot enough.
You can purchase this type of patch nearly anywhere. It features a design on the face, which is often embroidered, and on the back, there’s an adhesive material protected by paper.
Think of it as a sort of sticker that you can slap right on to your jeans or backpack with minimal effort—and just a bit of heat.
Go the Printable Transfer Route
Another cool option is a printable transfer. If you choose this type of patch application, attaching it to a garment will take a little more effort. It’s essentially like an iron-on patch, except that the design is on paper and not fabric.
You’ll need the print-out of the image or design, some transfer paper, heat, and a bit of patience.
Make Your Own Patch
DIY patches can add another fun layer to the project if you’re a more advanced crafter—or just feeling adventurous.
Decide Where You’ll Put Your Patch
After you’ve picked out the patch or patches you want to work with, it’s time to figure out where you’ll put them. Not all patches work just anywhere and on any fabric, though. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Leather material won’t work with iron-on patches
- Be careful of substances like nylon or other flammable material when working with patches applied by heat
- Consider how much you wash the item; patches may not hold up to many cycles in the washing machine
Methods for Affixing the Patch
Crafting is a growing and popular lifestyle business. In 2018, crafting skyrocketed in the U.S. where it’s a nearly $44 billion industry. But if you’re not a die-hard DIY-er, you may be intimated by the putting-on part of a patch project—even if it’s as simple as ironing it on.
But you don’t have to be.
There isn’t just one way to put on a patch, which is good news for newbies. Choose the patch type and application style that feels most suited to your comfort level.
Could there be any other easier method than slapping on a patch with some glue? Probably not!
With the right fabric glue, you could simply adhere your favorite iron-on patch to denim, canvas, or other suitable material and be good to go without any sewing or heat.
This may not be the most reliable or long-term application, but it’s a fast and easy way to put a patch on items like hats and caps.
Sewing is another popular option for keeping iron on patches where you want them. Many people hand sew patches after they’ve ironed them on to reinforce them.
Depending on the stitch you use, you could create a neat outline around the patch. This adds another design to flourish to the patch.
You can also skip the thread and needle by using a sewing machine. This method could be best for thicker patches. And if you’re skilled with the machine, it will be much faster than sewing a patch on by hand.
You’ll need to be mindful about choosing the right stitch type based on the size of the patch, the type of material it’s made out of, and where you’ll be putting it. Zigzag is often the best bet for embroidered patches, for example.
Grab Your Iron
If you’re wondering how to iron on patches, well it’s really as simple as grabbing your iron—or purchasing or borrowing one if you don’t have an iron lying around.
Of course, unlike gluing or sewing, ironing patches comes with some extra precautions. Irons do get really hot and the adhesive backing on a patch will also get quite hot when heat from the iron is applied.
It’s wise to heat your iron ahead of time to the appropriate setting. Usually, the high cotton setting works best. After you’ve placed the patch where you want it, you may want to grab a towel or a piece of paper to act a sort of protective buffer between the fabric and the iron.
You’ll place this item over the patch and under the iron, which you should press down on for 10-15 seconds or so. After you let the patch and the adhesive set for a few minutes, you should be good to use or wear the garment.
Get Inspiration for Your Next Project
Ready to spice up your denim gear with a stylish patch?
After you master how to put a patch on clothing or bags, keep browsing our online magazine for new trends and DIY ideas. We’ll keep you up to date on the latest lifestyle news and tips.