The Difference Between iron on Patches And Sew on Patches

Patches have been a popular and easy way to add a touch of individuality and customize clothing and accessories for many years. From punk rockers and bikers to military personnel and sports fans, patches have been used to express various personal styles, affiliations, and interests. 

But with many types of patches available, sometimes it can be challenging to decide what type of patch is right for your needs. This blog will discuss the differences between iron on and sew on patches to help you decide which patch type is best for your application. 

Whether you’re a seasoned patch collector or looking to add a unique touch to your favorite jacket or backpack, this post will provide valuable insights into the world of patches and their uses.

What is Iron on Patch?

Iron-on patches, also known as heat-transfer patches, are patches that can be attached to fabric using heat and pressure. These patches typically have a special adhesive on the back that activates when exposed to heat, allowing them to stick to the material without sewing.

To apply an iron on patch, you’ll need an iron and a flat surface to work on. Just place your patch on your desired area of the fabric, cover it with a cloth to protect it from direct heat, and press the iron down firmly on the patch for a few seconds. Once the patch has adhered to the fabric, allow it to cool before wearing or washing the garment.

Advantages of Iron on Patches

  • Easy and quick to apply.
  • No sewing skills required.
  • Iron on patches are available in a wide variety of designs and sizes.
  • Ideal for temporary use, such as for a special event or occasion.
  • Iron on can be removed easily if desired.

Disadvantages of Iron on Patches

  • Not as durable as sew on patches.
  • They can come loose or peel off after repeated washings or heavy use.
  • Not suitable for fabrics that can’t withstand heat, such as nylon or silk.
  • May not adhere well to textured fabrics.

What Are Sew on Patches?

Sew on patches are attached to the fabric by sewing them in place. Unlike iron on patches, sew-on patches do not have any adhesive on the back and require sewing to be attached to the material.

To sew the patch on fabric, you’ll need a needle and thread that matches the color of the patch. Simply position the patch on the desired area of the fabric, and sew around the patch’s edges using a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch. 

Advantages of Sew on Patches

  • More durable than iron on patches
  • Can withstand repeated washings and heavy use
  • Suitable for a wide variety of fabrics
  • They provide a more secure and permanent attachment
  • They can be customized with unique stitching and thread colors

Disadvantages of Sew on Patches

  • More time-consuming to attach than iron-on patches
  • Not as easy to remove as iron on patches
  • Limited design options compared to iron-on patches
  • They can be more challenging to attach to thick or textured fabrics

Comparison between Iron on Patches and Sew on Patches

When choosing between iron-on and sew on patches, several factors must be considered, including durability, aesthetics, and convenience.

  1. Durability and longevity: Sew on patches are generally considered more durable and long-lasting than iron on patches. Sewn patches are less likely to come loose or fall off over time, even with repeated washing or exposure to high levels of heat or moisture. Iron on patches, on the other hand, may begin to peel away from the fabric over time, particularly if exposed to high heat or moisture levels.
  1. Aesthetics and customization: Iron on and sew on patches offer a wide range of options for customization and personalization. However, some people may prefer the look of sew on patches, which can blend seamlessly into the fabric and create a more polished, professional appearance. Iron on patches, on the other hand, may create a raised or textured appearance on the material, which can be a desirable aesthetic for some people.
  1. Convenience and ease of use: Iron on patches are more convenient and easier to use than sew on patches as they can be attached quickly and without sewing. While sew on patches may require more time and effort to attach, particularly if you’re attaching many patches or working with a complex design.

Which One to Choose?

The choice between iron on patches and sew on patches ultimately comes down to personal preference and specific needs. Iron on patches might be the best choice if you want an easy and quick way to add a temporary touch of personality to your clothing or bag. However, if you want a more permanent and durable solution or want to customize the stitching and thread colors, sew on patches would be a better option.


When it comes to choosing between iron on and sew on patches, there is no right or wrong answer. Both types of patches offer their unique advantages and disadvantages. 

The choice between iron on and sew on patches depends on your preferences and needs. If you’re not sure which patch is best for your needs, consider your priorities in terms of durability, aesthetics, and convenience, and choose the patch that best aligns with those priorities.


1. Can I iron on a patch to a nylon or silk fabric?

Answer: Iron on patches are unsuitable for fabrics that can’t withstand heat, such as nylon or silk.

2. How often can I wash a garment with an iron-on patch before it comes loose?

Answer: The number of washes an iron on patch can withstand before coming loose depends on various factors, such as the type of fabric, the temperature of the water, and the quality of the patch. Iron on patches are less durable than sew on patches and may come loose after several washings.

3. Can I remove an iron on patch once it’s been attached?

Answer: Yes, iron on patches can be removed easily by heating them with an iron and then peeling them off. However, be sure to follow the instructions on the patch packaging to avoid damaging the fabric.

4. Can I sew on an iron on patch instead of ironing it on?

Answer: Yes, you can sew on an iron-on patch instead of ironing it

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