Iron On vs Sew On Patches Which is Right for You?

While iron-on patches offer convenience and speed for attaching patches, sew-on patches provide greater flexibility and durability. Although sew-on patches require more effort and some sewing skills, the time invested is rewarded with a more secure and long-lasting attachment, allowing for greater flexibility in the garment’s movement and wear.

Embroidery Patches have long been a popular way to personalize and embellish clothing, bags, and accessories. Whether you want to show off your favorite band, support a cause, or simply add a touch of style to your garments, patches offer a fantastic way to do so. When it comes to attaching embroidery patches, two primary methods are widely used iron-on and sew-on. In this blog, we’ll explore the differences between these two methods to help you decide which one is right for your needs.

Iron-On Patches

Iron On Patches

Iron-on patches are exactly what they sound like – patches that can be attached to fabric using an iron. These patches have a heat-activated adhesive on their backs, which bonds to the fabric when heat is applied. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of using iron-on patches.


Ease of Application – Custom Iron-on patches are incredibly easy to apply. All you need is an iron, a piece of fabric, and the patch itself. Just follow the instructions, and you’ll have your patch securely attached in no time.

  • Time-saving – Iron-on patches are a time-saver. Compared to sewing, the process is quick and hassle-free. This makes them a great choice for those who want a fast solution.
  • No Sewing Skills Required – Perhaps the most significant advantage of iron-on patches is that you don’t need any sewing skills to use them. They are beginner-friendly and accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of expertise.


  • Durability Concerns – Iron-on patches may not be as durable as sewn patches. Over time, they can start peeling or detaching, especially if subjected to frequent washing or high-heat drying.
  • Material Limitations – Not all fabrics are suitable for iron-on patches. Delicate or heat-sensitive fabrics can be damaged by the high heat required for application. This limitation means you must carefully select the items you want to embellish.
  • Appearance – While iron-on patches provide a great finish, they tend to have a slightly raised texture compared to sew-on patches. This texture may not be to everyone’s liking, especially on finer garments.

Sew-On Patches

Sew On Patches

Sew-on patches, as the name suggests, are attached to fabric by sewing them in place. Embroidery patches are versatile and offer some unique advantages


  • Durability – Sew-on patches are known for their durability. They can withstand repeated washings and rough handling, making them an excellent choice for long-lasting applications.
  • Versatility – Sew-on patches can be applied to any fabric type, making them suitable for a wide range of clothing and accessories. You won’t have to worry about material compatibility.
  • Customizable Application – When you sew on a patch, you have complete control over the stitching style and placement. This allows for intricate and personalized designs, giving your items a unique touch.


  • Skill Requirement – The primary drawback of sew-on patches is that they require sewing skills. If you’re not comfortable with a needle and thread, you might find this method challenging.
  • Time-Consuming – Sewing a patch onto fabric takes more time and effort compared to ironing it on. If you’re in a hurry, sew-on patches might not be the best choice.

Choosing the Right Patch for You

To determine whether iron-on or sew-on patches are the better option for you, consider the following factors

Purpose and Intended Use of the Patch

Are you attaching the custom embroidery patches for a formal occasion, like a wedding, or for everyday wear? Sew-on patches are better for formal events, while iron-on patches are convenient for casual use.

Fabric Type

Check the fabric of the item you want to embellish. If it’s delicate or heat-sensitive, sew-on patches might be the safer choice.

Desired Level of Durability and Longevity

If you want the patch to last a long time, especially through frequent washes, go for sew-on patches. For temporary or occasional use, iron-on patches are suitable.

Personal Skills and Comfort Level

Do you have sewing skills, or are you comfortable learning? If so, sew-on patches can offer a more personalized touch. If not, iron-on patches provide a user-friendly alternative.

Wrap Up!

The choice between iron-on and sew-on patches ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Iron-on patches are convenient and accessible, while sew-on patches offer durability and customization. Consider the factors mentioned above to make an informed decision and bring your patch-based creativity to life.


What is the difference between iron-on and sew-on patches?

Iron-on patches have adhesive on the back that bonds with heat, while sew-on patches are attached by stitching them onto fabric.

Can I use both iron-on and sew-on patches on the same garment?

Yes, you can use both types of patches on the same garment for a customized look.

What temperature should I use to iron on a patch?

Follow the patch manufacturer’s instructions, but generally, a medium to high setting (cotton setting) without steam works for most iron-on patches.

How long do I need to iron on a patch for it to adhere properly?

Typically, it takes about 20-30 seconds of continuous pressure and heat for an iron-on patch to adhere properly.

Can I use iron-on patches on leather?

It’s not recommended, as the high heat required for iron-on patches can damage leather. Sewing is a better option for leather.

Can I use sew-on patches on mesh fabric?

Yes, sew-on patches can be used on mesh fabric, as they provide a secure attachment without damaging the material.

Can I use sew-on patches on a backpack?

Absolutely! Sew-on patches are an excellent choice for decorating backpacks, as they provide durability and customization options.

I’m Paul Taylor, the founder and owner of Today Patches. I have over 18 years of experience in embroidery and patch design. Today Patches is a one-stop shop for all your custom patch needs, whether you want to personalize your clothing, accessories, or gifts. I work with a talented team of graphic artists and embroiderers to create high-quality patches that reflect your style and vision. I also love to share my knowledge and tips on embroidery, patch making, and fashion on this blog. I hope you enjoy browsing our gallery and reading our posts. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact me anytime. I would love to hear from you!

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Today Patches

We the people at Today Patches provide the best custom embroidery patches.

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Office Address: 166 Hayfield Dr, Delaware, OH 43015

Telephone: (740) 372 8309

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