How to make an embroidered iron-on patch

Written by julie elefante
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How to make an embroidered iron-on patch

Patches aren't just for hiding holes anymore. They're often used as stylish design elements for clothes, bags, hats, pillows, and any other fabric you might want to add some of your personal style to. It's easy to find ready-made patches at craft and fabric stores, but you can also make your own for that 100%-homemade touch. All the supplies you need are readily available at the same stores where you'd find ready-made patches. You could stitch your patches into place, but iron-on adhesive gives the advantage of making patches quick to attach with a strong bond.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Embroidery design
  • Pencil
  • Patch blank
  • Tear-away backing (optional)
  • Spray adhesive (optional)
  • Embroidery hoop (optional)
  • Embroidery needle
  • Embroidery floss
  • Ironing board
  • Iron-on adhesive
  • Iron

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  1. 1

    Sketch your embroidery design onto your patch blank. From here, you can either embroider your design without a hoop, or use a hoop to make sure your finished patch is flat and not warped from your stitches binding the patch blank.

  2. 2

    To use a hoop, clamp a sheet of tearaway backing into your hoop, making sure it is pulled taut, before screwing it closed. Attach your patch blank to the backing with some spray adhesive.

  3. 3

    Thread your needle with your floss. Don't use more than 2 feet of floss at a time, or you might tangle your floss while pulling it through your fabric. You can either tie a knot at the end of the floss or make sure to leave extra floss hanging out of the back of your patch from your first stitch.

  4. 4

    Start each length of floss from the back of the cloth so that your knot or extra length won't appear at the front of your design.

  5. 5

    Once you've embroidered your design, remove the backing and patch from the hoop and gently tear the backing away.

  6. 6

    Cut a piece of iron-on adhesive that's the same size and shape as your patch.

  7. 7

    Place your patch facedown on your ironing board and place your iron-on adhesive sheet glue-side down on top of your patch. The glue side will be slightly tacky.

  8. 8

    Place a paper towel or clean rag on top of the patch and adhesive sheet, set your iron on low (silk setting), and iron the adhesive onto the patch. The paper towel/rag will prevent any glue from sticking to your iron and can be discarded once you've attached the adhesive to the patch.

  9. 9

    When you're ready to attach your patch to the fabric you want to dress up, peel the paper backing off from the adhesive, place your patch where you want to attach it, and iron it into place, pressing down on the iron firmly to ensure that the adhesive makes a strong bond. You may want to iron the patch into place with the fabric turned inside out, ironing through the fabric instead of through the patch, to activate the adhesive. You can use a few stitches to ensure the patch stays in place for this method.

Tips and warnings

  • Iron-on patches need both heat and pressure for a strong bond, and a heat press supplies both.
  • You can also transfer your design onto iron-on paper to apply your design to your patch blank.
  • Patch blanks aren't necessary to make iron-on patches. You can embroider onto stiff fabric, such as canvas, but make sure to use a satin stitch around the patch's edges to finish it.

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