How To Tell If a Patch is Iron-on

Today you don’t have to wear the ordinary denim jackets that you buy from stores. You can deck them up the way you want with the help of patches. Yes, these are the extra embellishment that you add in your jacket or other apparel to make it look different. These patches can be anything, a scout patch, a quote, or even your business logo. You just need to learn the right way to attach the patch on to your apparel.

Patches are available in different fabrics that go well with varied outfits. You can use readymade patches or make an embroidered one. But, the most important thing is to learn how to patch it. Ironing the patch is the most common way that does not require stitching.

Fact check: both the iron and sewing patches look the same from the front. You need to conduct a thorough examination to check. In this article, you will learn how to check whether your patches are iron-on.

How to Tell If a Patch is Iron-On?

how to tell if a patch is iron-on

The iron patch will have layers of adhesive in its back, which gets activated when heated with an iron. When you touch the patch fabric from its back and feel a bulge, it would definitely be the adhesive holding it. In case you don’t find any adhesive bulge on the back but embroidered threads, you can conclude that it’s a sew-on patch. Iron on patches is shiny and blackened, which is the adhesive. When you hold the iron-on patch in your hand, you would not feel the stickiness until the adhesive is activated.

How to Attach an Iron-on Patch?

Now that you have learned how to identify the iron-on patch, you must learn how to patch on the clothes. It is one of the easiest methods for patching; all you need is your desired patch and a hot iron.

Follow these steps to apply an iron-on patch:

Step 1 – Heat Up

The first step is to heat up the iron and keep it on the highest setting so that the patch firmly attaches to the cloth. In case you do not have an iron, you can also use your hair straightener.

Step 2 – Plan the Design

plan the design

Now lay out the garment in your ironing board and decide where you need to put the patch. Make sure the adhesive side of the patch must be facing the cloth. You should also add a layer of towels before putting the iron for extra protection.

Step 3 – Thin Cloth between Patch and Iron

You would not want to damage your cloth with the iron’s extreme heat, so it is better to protect it with a thin cloth that will safeguard the fabric from burning. You can use a pillowcase or a damp towel.

Step 4 – Iron It

iron it

It’s time to make the most critical move. You need to place the iron on the patch and hold it for a few seconds. Press it with pressure so that it completely attaches to the garment. If your patch has certain instructions regarding how long you should hold it, you must follow that.

Step 5 – Flip and Repeat

Now you need to flip the garment and repeat the 3rd and 4th step again. It is essential to make sure that the patch is completely attached to the cloth. For this, you need to do all the steps again from the inside. This time you need to place the damp towel or cloth in the backside of the garment.

Let everything cool down for a while before you try your garment on. Make sure to maintain your iron-on patch carefully and extend its life.

How to Clean Your Iron-on or Sew-on Patches?

Every patch on the garment needs proper care and maintenance. Right from washing to folding it, you need to make sure it stays for a long time. Here are a few tips that you must keep handy to keep your patches new as ever.

Laundering and Drying Tips

laundering and drying tips

  • Always turn the garment inside out when washing or drying them. It is extremely important for the iron-on patches as the washer’s agitators can damage the adhesive on the patches. Avoid extensive rubbing and squeezing that might also result in damaging the garment.
  • Always use cold water instead of hot water for washing the garment; you would not want the adhesive to come out with the warmth. Though heat is something that helps in patching, it can also be the reason for its damage. So, be careful while washing, try to keep the water temperature as low as possible.
  • Always dry the patches away from the direct sunlight. It acts as the natural warmth that is harmful to the patch adhesive—using the dryer, us the coolest way to dry up your garments. When you are using an air dryer, or blow dryer, make sure to keep it at a certain distance from the patch to avoid the heat.

Exceptions and Warnings

There are some exceptions and warnings regarding iron-on patch that you need to take into considerations:

  • The stick-on patches are not washable. The adhesive used in them is of poor quality that cannot withstand the water. Even if you cannot dry clean them, it is better to avoid it altogether. The adhesive on the stick-on will also create trouble during the sewing. You would need to remove some parts of the adhesive while sewing.
  • Today patches are available in different forms. You can find sequins, holograms, plastic coatings, vinyl, leather, etc. It is important to understand each material’s washing method as you would not want to damage your embellishment. Anything that does not have threads must be dealt with care while washing.
  • Patches that comprise feather or any other light material must be dry cleaned and not washed with water. Consult your dry cleaner prior to giving it for the wash.
  • Beaded patches can wash at home, but prefer handwashing over the machines. Wash with proper care and concern. Seek assistance from someone else if needed.

Related Questions

Iron-on patch or sew-on patch? Which is better?

Both iron-on patch and sew-on patch are considered ideal for patching up jackets. Sew-on patches are effective as it gets proper hold onto the fabric. Iron-on patches are the easiest method to patch the fabric on your jacket. When it comes to flexibility, sew-on is more flexible in the garment. If you want to make the patch the fabric firmly on the outfit, you can sew it. The iron-on patch is easy to attach to your fabric, but there are some drawbacks, including you cannot wash it in hot water. If you want to make things quick, then you should definitely use an iron-on patch.

Will the iron-on patch come off after a wash?

You can wash the iron-on patch, but you need to make sure that the water is not warm that can peel off the adhesive from the patch. It is better to wash in cold water without worrying about it coming off. Do not heat dry the iron-on path, hang it loosely in the air for a while, and take it inside. Too much heat from the sun can also damage the adhesive.

How long can the iron-on patches last?

how long can the iron-on patches last

After a thorough patching up process, you do not have to worry about the garment for at least 5 to 30 washes depending upon the type of fabric you used. There are some care practices that you need to follow in order to extend the life of your iron-on patch. It would help if you folded your clothes inside out before you put them into the machine. Ensure not to wash it with other clothes; it would be best if you hand wash them or dry clean instead.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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