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How to tell if patches are iron-on

Updated February 21, 2017

Patches offer an easy way to decorate a bag or your clothing. Some patches are sew-on, which can be a time consuming process, especially if you have several patches that you want to attach. Stick-on patches are much easier, but the attachment doesn't always last. For a happy medium of ease and durability, you want an iron-on patch. When looking at patches in the store, it's smart to check the backing to tell if patches are iron-on, stick-on or sew-on.

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  1. Turn the patch over to look at the back. Only the back will tell you whether the patch is iron-on or not.

  2. Examine the look of the back. If it looks like fabric, it's a sew-on patch. If it is slightly cloudy, it's probably iron-on. You may also be able to tell if it's an iron-on patch by pressing firmly on the back. If it's slightly sticky, it's iron-on.

  3. Read the package carefully. If the patch is in a package and you cannot touch the back, look over the package. It should clearly state whether it's an iron-on patch or not.

  4. Try ironing the patch onto your clothes. If you cannot tell for sure whether the patch is iron-on or sew-on, you should simply try to iron it on before wasting time sewing it. To do this, set the iron on a high setting, iron the area where you want the patch, place the patch on the area, cover it with a cloth and run your iron over the cloth for about 30 seconds. When you remove the cloth, you can see if it sticks or not.

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Things You'll Need

  • Iron (optional)
  • Patch

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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