Iron On Patches Vs. Sew On Patches. What Are The Key Differences?

If you’re here, you already know how transformative fabric patches are. They can instantly transform basic apparel into a unique fashion statement representing your personality. You can get it custom-made in a design of your choice and make your patchwork stand out. However, if you want your personalized badge to adhere to the garment for longer and retain its appearance, choose its type wisely.

Among all the types of fabric patches, iron-on and sew-on are the most popular ones that come with their pros and cons. Read this blog to learn more about their difference and identify the viable one for yourself.

10 Interesting Ways Iron-On Patches Are Different From Sew-On Ones

The Attachment Process

Iron-on patches are designed to be adhered to fabric using heat and pressure. They have a heat-activated adhesive on the back, which melts when exposed to high temperatures. As a result, it adheres the badge to the fabric. On the other hand, sew-on types require manual sewing to apply them to the material, requiring needle, thread, and some stitching expertise. They typically have a border that contains either pre-punched sewing holes or no holes.

The Application Method

The application process for iron-on patches is relatively easy and quick. All you have to do is pick a garment whose style you would like to upgrade or hide its stain. After that, select the location where you would like to apply precisely. Place the apparel on an ironing board or a clean and flat surface and keep one or more iron on patches over it.

Lay down a thin towel or, even better, parchment paper to protect the motifs from any possible damage. Heat the household iron to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and provide firm pressure and warmth for ninety seconds. Let it cool, touch the edges to check the attachment, and repeat the process if unsatisfied.

In contrast, the application process for sew-on badges is more time and effort-consuming. It starts with threading the needle the same color as the emblem’s border while keeping the patch over the apparel. Make the basic crisscross stitches from one point of the edges until you reach the starting point to sew your emblem properly.

Which One Is More Durable?

Regarding durability, sew-on badges are more long-lasting than the other option. The heat-activated adhesive on iron-on patches may weaken, especially with repeated washings or exposure to high temperatures. In contrast, sew-on emblems develop a strong bond with the fabric through the stitching, ensuring they remain securely attached even after extended use.

Which Option Contains Reversibility?

One advantage of sew-on patches is their reversibility. It is easily possible if you want to remove or reposition it to another spot on your garment or stick it to a completely different one. You do not have to damage your insignia or garment during the detachment process. Instead, simply cut the threads and take the emblem off. This reversibility feature allows greater flexibility in customizing your garments or accessories. However, once you have applied an iron-on motif, it becomes difficult to remove without leaving residue or damaging the fabric.

Suitability For Fabrics

Iron-on badges work best on fabrics that can survive high heat, such as cotton, denim, and polyester. These materials can handle the heat required to properly activate the adhesive solution on the back. On the other side, sew-on emblems can be applied to a broader range of fabrics, including delicate ones like silk or lace. This is because there is no risk of heat damage during the attachment process, so one can freely adhere it to various fabrics.

How Different Are Both Options In Terms Of Aesthetics?

In terms of aesthetics, sew-on badges offer more versatility. Since they are manually stitched, you have greater control over the placement and stitching style. You can also make it more eye-catching by integrating creative designs and offering an aesthetic appeal. Although available in various designs, iron-on emblems have limited options in terms of customization. They have a fixed appearance that you can’t change once you have applied to an apparel or an accessory.

The Difference Between The Texture

Iron-on patches typically have a smoother, flatter finish since they adhere to the fabric with heat and pressure. They are advantageous when applied to areas that require a sleek appearance, such as collars or cuffs. In contrast, sew-on badges may have a slightly raised texture due to the stitching. Therefore, it offers more elements and interest to the apparel, making it more eye-appealing.

The Level Of Skill Expertise Required

Iron-on patches are generally considered more beginner-friendly compared to their contrary option. You can conveniently apply them to your apparel using an ironing machine or a straightener and upgrade its style. In comparison, sew on patches is more time-consuming and requires decent sewing skills, specifically to achieve a polished look. However, you don’t need to be an expert to apply either of them if you’re using them for personal styling.

The Room For Customization

If you enjoy personalizing your patches, sew-on patches offer more room for customization. You can easily integrate embroidery or embellishments into them to enhance their design and make them unique. Besides, you can also incorporate different thread colors, beads, sequins, or even additional fabric pieces to create a one-of-a-kind motif appearance. While available in various designs, iron-on insignia are generally not easily customizable once applied. Therefore, this feature limits how much you can modify their appearance.

The Long-Term Maintenance

When it comes to maintenance, sew-on patches offer greater convenience. They can survive through regular laundering sessions, including machine washing and drying, without compromising their adherence to the clothing. Stitching provides a more permanent bond that can withstand the harshness caused by everyday use. In comparison, iron-on badges may require extra care during laundering. High heat, harsh detergents, or vigorous washing can negatively affect the adhesive, leading to emblem detachment or damage.

Closing Up

The choice between iron-on patches and sew-on patches ultimately depends on your preferences and the fabric you’re working with. More so, the final decision also depends on the level of customization you desire. Iron-on patches offer a quick and easy application process and contain materials that can effortlessly tolerate heat. They have a smooth appearance but are less durable than their counterpart.

On the other hand, sewer-on patches require manual sewing but provide more customization options and excellent durability. They are also very flexible in terms of removal and repositioning, as well as survive well during laundering. You can also apply them due to a wide range of fabrics, offering more versatility. Thus, consider these factors when deciding which type of badge you want and choose the one that suits your needs and style the best.


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