So you want to flaunt your favorite band on the sleeve of your jacket, or brag about a skill you just learned during your scouting education? Iron pads are a great way to express your personality, and are quite useful for hiding rips or damage marks on your clothes and accessories. Learn how to prep fabrics, iron them, and make sure they stick even after washing.
Part 1 of 3: Preparing the Ironing Patch
Step 1. Find out what type of patch you have
Some patches have glue behind them, and others are just fabric. Look closely at your patch and determine if you need additional ingredients.
- Decorative embroidered fabrics are usually thick, stiff, and have some kind of plastic glue on one side. This patch can be used to cover torn or discolored fabric.
- Transfer paper patches have printing on one side of the special paper, and plain paper on the other side. This patch cannot withstand tearing of the fabric and the fabric underneath will appear see-through if it is not applied to the white fabric.
- Patches that have a simple cloth backing can be attached using a fusible web (a kind of cloth that melts and sticks when heated).
- Patches work to cover holes or stains and are designed to blend into the fabric. Usually, the patch has a paper back that needs to be peeled off before applying the patch.
- Consider designing your own patch if you can't find a pattern you like.
Step 2. Check the fabric of your clothing or accessories
Fabrics such as denim or cotton can bond well with the ironing board. As a general rule, the selected fabric should be the same weight as the patch.
- Check the fabric care label to see if it's OK to iron (otherwise this article won't work for you). If the garment doesn't have a label, try to find out what it's made of.
- Be careful with polyester fabrics because the heat transferred when ironing the patch can burn or discolor the fabric.
- Silk and other sensitive fabrics should not be patched.
Step 3. Think about the design and placement of the patch
Before ironing the patch, lay out your clothes or backpack and decide where the patch will be placed.
- If this is the only patch you're going to stick to your clothes or bag, make it as well positioned as possible. Try to place the patch where it looks intentional.
- If you plan to apply more than one patch, for example on a scout sling or other type of collection, plan ahead and make sure there is room for additional patches.
- If you're using a printed sheet of paper, keep in mind that letters and other asymmetrical objects will appear upside down.
Part 2 of 3: Ironing the Patch
Step 1. Spread the fabric to be patched on a flat, heat-resistant surface
You can use an ironing board, but if you don't have one, you can use a towel folded in half on a sturdy table.
To make sure the item provides a good surface to paste, try ironing it first. If the patch will be attached to a backpack or other object that is difficult to iron, try setting the area of the fabric to be patched so that it is flat against a hard surface
Step 2. Place the patch in the position you choose
The adhesive side should be flat against the fabric. Make sure your patch doesn't wrinkle.
- For patch embroidery, the adhesive side is on the bottom side.
- To paste transfer paper, the adhesive side is on the side of the printed image. Place the image face down on the fabric. The back of the paper will peel off after the patch is ironed.
- If you are using fusible webbing, this part should stick to the fabric.
- If you're using a patch that blends into the fabric, it's a good idea to turn over the side of the garment or backpack you're patching. Read the user guide provided in the package.
Step 3. Heat the iron
Turn it on to the hottest setting your fabric can handle. Make sure you turn off the “steam” option, and that the iron is not filled with water.
Step 4. Spread a light towel over the patch
Try not to interfere with your patch position. The towel will protect the patch and the fabric around it.
Step 5. Place the hot iron on the patch and press down
Hold the iron for 15 seconds. Press as firmly as possible.
Step 6. Lift the iron and allow the patch to cool
Lift the towel and rub the edges of the patch with your finger to check if the patch is firmly attached. If the patch lifts a bit, change the towel and press it again with the iron for 10 seconds.
If you are using a transfer paper patch, wait for it to cool completely (about 10 minutes), then carefully peel off the paper
Part 3 of 3: Caring for Patches
Step 1. Consider sewing around the edges
To keep the patch firmly in place, use a sewing machine or a needle and thread to keep the patch from moving off the fabric. Thus, the chance of patching off is getting smaller.
- Choose a thread that fits well.
- Do not try to sew the edges of the printed paper patch.
Step 2. Don't wash clothes or backpacks that are patched up too often
Iron patches are designed to last a very long time, but over time they will loosen. Try not to get too dirty clothes or backpacks because the patch can start to come off when washed.
If you must wash a patched garment or backpack, wash it manually in cold water and air dry
- Trim the image onto the template, but leave at least 2 mm of “white” space around the image to ensure the patch adheres to the fabric.
- Turn off the iron when not in use.