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Patch – Applique Types

Effective July 1, 2018 – 1 Ferrets Treasures no longer carries Hot Fix Appliques. The information provided below is for your general information. Thank you for your past purchases.

There are a number of different patch and appliqué styles and three ways to apply appliqués. Here we summarize the primary types of fabric embellishments offered at 1 Ferret’s Treasures and speak a bit about the tools to apply them. Most of 1 Ferret’s Treasures patches are the iron on variety as that is the most popular with the public. Please read our separate page of instructions for full details on how to apply each product type.

Iron On Patches

Worldwide, iron-on motifs and appliques are is the most popular type of embroidered patch. They are very easy to apply and useful for semi-permanent applications. They can be laundered after application and require just basic care.

Iron-on patches have what is often referred to as a heat-seal backing. This is an adhesive that, when subjected to the heat of an iron or heat press machine, melts and creates a bond to the fibers that make up the fabric..

We say these are semi-permanent, because, over time, and with repeated laundering, these types of patches can begin to lift away from the fibers of the material. If, when, and how long that process takes depends on many factors such as:

  • the type of fabric;
  • the number of washings;
  • the temperature of the laundry water;
  • drying methods such as air dry or machine;
  • drying temperatures; and,
  • any number of other variables that could occur.

That is why all manufacturers always recommend that patches be sewn on for permanent applications. It’s secure and permanent. It just isn’t very practical with many intricate and detailed patch designs.

Infant and children’s clothing: Patches used for small children and infant clothing and accessories should ALWAYS be sewn in place due to the potential chewing and coking hazard they present!

People often ask if you can glue on iron-on patches. Our recommendation is not to! Every glue has different properties and you may be trying to mix something like oil and vinegar. If you have a lot of items to apply, you can experiment with different glues and may get lucky and it will work fine; but we cannot guarantee that it will work for you or your project.

Note: A word about the glues used. There are a variety of glues used. Some manufacturers change the glues they use over time. In today’s world of complex chemical combinations, no one can begin to keep track of the varieties and variations available or used by hundreds of manufacturers.

Sew On Patches

The original fabric embellishment is the sew-on appliqué or patch. For hundreds of years, people have embellished their clothing and accessories with different bits of laces and trims. They are permanent and highly durable.

Sew-ons are wonderful for a vintage look as many floral and “lacey” looking appliqués are only available as a sew-on appliqué. They are perfect for sachets and delicate under-garment or sleepwear.

Most often people will notice that sew-ons appear “flimsy.” This is because they do not have the weight or thickness of the heat seal glue on the back. Sew ons include almost all the Venise lace pieces we carry, as well as a few sew ons that we’ve been able to acquire. Today many people do not want to take the time to sew on a patch, but it is really quite simple and easy, especially with the small pieces. You do not need to use a sewing machine. Hand-stitching is fine. Catch the threads on the back of the patch every few threads is all that is necessary. Concentrate on the “points” for a secure, polished look, do not pull your thread too tight.

Stick On Patches

Relatively uncommon in the patch world, stick-on embroidered patches, are great for temporary positioning.  They are perfect for occasional use on children’s clothing, or accessories. Similar to iron-on patches, they need to be sewn in place for permanent applications. These cannot be laundered unless sewn in place.

Another great use for embroidered stick-on patches is to embellish paper projects like scrapbooks or plastic items like school binders or backpacks. Again, do not expect them to last long on a backpack!

Hot Fix Rhinestone – Rhinestuds

Hot fix appliqués are an exciting, relatively new product. Small rhinestones, metallic or plastic studs or shapes are applied to a special, clear film that holds the pieces in place which make up the design. They are “backed” with a white, slightly nubby film that helps secure everything in place until ready to use. While these appear very delicate, they are surprisingly durable and hold up well to repeated washing (with some basic care). The shiny stones, bright colors and metallic accents lend themselves to myriad decorating opportunities. The one draw-back is that they can be a bit intimidating to a new user. They require more skill and patience and are far less forgiving than typical embroidered patches.

We offer a small line of hot fix pieces as they are fun and can add a bit of “bling” to your craft project.

Note: If a stone falls off, it is best to use a fabric glue to reapply it. Generally, once the stone or stud falls off you cannot get the residual glue, if any, to reattach it to your project.

Home Iron or Hot Seal Machine?

Home Iron

For the home user or small crafter, a home iron is a perfectly acceptable, inexpensive means to secure iron on patches and hot fix motifs. Look for an iron that does not have an auto-shut-off as this feature causes the iron to start cooling as soon as you begin to iron. Since you need to time your “heat sealing” you often do not get enough heat long enough with auto-shutoff irons causing application failures.

Hot Fix Applier

There are tools designed to apply hot fix stones and studs such as the “Bedazzler.” These are very useful tools for anyone applying more than a few hot fix appliqués. They are relatively inexpensive and are perfect to get that last stone or two that just doesn’t seem to want to stick or to repair a stone that has fallen off.

Heat Seal Machine

For the professional crafter doing a lot of fabric embellishment, a heat seal machine can’t be beaten. The temperature can be controlled and is evenly applied; while the timing can be accurately managed.  Unfortunately, they are rather expensive, though used machines are readily available online or locally.