iron-on vs sew-on patches which one is better

iron-on vs sew-on patches

Patches are a popular way to customize clothing and accessories, adding a touch of personality and style to your belongings. Patches not only provide a touch of individuality but also act as a means of expressing oneself. They allow us to showcase our interests, passions, or affiliations. When it comes to attaching patches, there are two primary methods: iron-on patches and sew-on patches. The debate over which method is better, ‘iron-on vs sew-on,’ is a common one among patch enthusiasts. Both options have their advantages and considerations, making it essential to understand which method is better suited for your needs. In this article, we will delve into the details of iron-on and sew-on patches, exploring their pros, cons, and factors to consider before making a decision.

Difference between sewn-on & iron-on patches (pros and cons)

Iron-on Patches


Iron-on patches, as the name suggests, are patches that can be attached to garments or fabrics using heat from an iron. These patches typically have an adhesive backing that activates when exposed to heat, allowing them to bond securely to the fabric. Iron-on patches are available in various designs, colors, and sizes, making them versatile for customization.

Pros of Iron-on Patches

  • Ease of Application: Iron-on patches are relatively simple to apply and require minimal sewing skills. They offer a convenient solution for individuals who prefer a quick and hassle-free attachment process. With just an iron and a few easy steps, you can attach a patch to your garment quickly and effortlessly.
  • Speedy attachment: Iron-on patches can be applied in a matter of minutes, making them ideal for those who want immediate results or have limited time.
  • Accessibility: Iron-on patches can be easily found in craft stores, online marketplaces, and speciality shops, providing a wide range of options to choose from.
  • Versatility: Iron-on patches offer a vast array of designs, colors, and sizes, rendering them exceptionally versatile. Whether you’re looking to express your personal style, support a cause, or add a playful element to your clothing, there is a patch to suit every taste and occasion.
  • Convenience: Unlike traditional sewing methods that involve intricate stitching, iron-on patches offer a convenient alternative. They save you time and effort, allowing you to transform your garments without the need for extensive sewing knowledge or equipment.
  • Removability: Iron-on patches can be removed from garments, providing the flexibility to change or update your designs as desired. This feature is particularly useful when repurposing clothing or when you want to swap out patches, depending on the occasion.
  • Protection and Repair: In addition to their decorative purpose, iron-on patches can also serve as a functional solution. They can be used to cover up holes, tears, or stains on clothing, extending the lifespan of your garments and giving them a fresh new look.

Cons of Iron-on Patches

  • Durability: Iron-on patches may not be as durable as sew-on patches, particularly when exposed to frequent washing or intense use. Over time, the adhesive backing of iron-on patches may weaken, resulting in detachment or peeling.
  • Limited Application: Some fabrics, such as nylon or stretchy materials, may not be suitable for iron-on patches as the heat can damage the fabric or cause the patch to lose its shape.

Sew-on Patches

how to sew on a patch

Sew-on patches, also known as stitched or embroidered patches, are attached to garments or fabrics using a needle and thread. These patches have no adhesive backing and rely solely on the stitching process to secure them in place. Sew-on patches are known for their traditional and authentic appearance, often used in military uniforms and other clothing accessories. To know how to sew-on a patch click here.

Pros of Sew-on Patches

  • Durability: Sew-on patches are generally more durable than iron-on patches, especially when properly stitched. The thread provides a strong and secure bond, ensuring that the patch stays in place even with regular washing and use.
  • Versatility: Sew-on patches can be attached to various fabric types, including delicate or stretchy materials, without the risk of damage. They offer flexibility in terms of application.
  • Customization: Sew-on patches allow for intricate and detailed designs. The stitching process allows for greater control and precision, resulting in a more personalized and professional look. They can be custom-designed with specific logos, symbols, or artwork, enabling you to create unique and distinctive designs.
  • Handmade Look: Sewing patches onto garments or accessories can give them a handmade, artisanal aesthetic. The visible stitches add a touch of craftsmanship and authenticity to the item.
  • Enhance beauty: Adding sew-on patches to clothing or accessories can enhance their overall value, uniqueness, and appeal. They can transform plain or ordinary items into eye-catching and personalized pieces.
  • Identification and Branding: Sew-on patches are commonly used for identification purposes, such as military or organizational affiliations, team sports uniforms, or company branding. They serve as a visible symbol of belonging or association.
  • Eco-Friendly: By reusing and repurposing clothing or accessories with sew-on patches, you contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle. It reduces the need for constant purchasing and wasteful disposal of items.

Cons of Sew-on Patches

  • Time and Effort: Sewing on patches requires more time and effort compared to ironing them on. It involves needlework and stitching, which may not be suitable for individuals with limited sewing skills or those looking for a quick attachment method.
  • Attachment: Once sewn onto fabric, removing sew-on patches can become a laborious and monotonous task, consuming a significant amount of time. They leave behind needle holes and may require patching up or repairs to the fabric.

Tip for choosing a sew-on or iron-on patch

When deciding which one is better between iron-on and sew-on patches, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

  • Durability: Assess how long-lasting you need the patch to be and consider the materials it will be exposed to.
  • Application Process: Evaluate your skill level and the time you’re willing to invest in attaching the patches.
  • Design and Flexibility: Consider the intricacy of the design you want and the type of fabric you plan to attach the patch to.

By considering the factors mentioned and understanding the advantages and disadvantages of both iron-on and sew-on patches, you can make an informed decision based on your preferences, needs, and the specific garment or fabric you wish to customize. Whether you opt for the convenience of iron-on patches or the durability of sew-on patches, adding patches is a creative and expressive way to personalize your clothing and accessories.

Closing remarks

Both iron-on and sew-on patches have their merits, and which one is better for you depends on your priorities. Iron-on patches offer ease of application and accessibility, while sew-on patches provide durability and customization. Consider the mentioned factors and opt for the approach that aligns most effectively with your specific requirements. Whichever option you select, adding patches to your clothing or accessories is a fantastic way to showcase your individuality and style.


Yes it is possible to remove iron-on patches, the process can be challenging and may leave behind residue or damage the fabric. It is recommended to carefully consider placement before attaching iron-on patches.

Yes, sew-on patches tend to be more secure as they rely on stitching rather than adhesive. They withstand washing and wear better than iron-on patches.

The longevity of iron-on patches can vary depending on factors such as fabric type, washing frequency, and application technique. With proper care, they can last for a considerable amount of time.

Yes, most iron-on patches are designed to withstand regular washing. However, it is advisable to follow the specific washing instructions provided by the patch manufacturer.

Yes, you can sew on an iron-on patch if you want to ensure a more secure attachment. Sewing around the edges or adding additional stitches can provide extra reinforcement to prevent the patch from loosening or coming off.

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