Patches are a brilliant way to add some personality and color to a piece of clothing. It might be that you have an old jacket you want to personalize, or you have kids wanting bespoke items of clothing or backpacks with patches from their fandoms. But what do you do if you don’t want to sew these patches onto their clothes?
While sewing patches onto clothes is the best option if you want a more durable garment, it has its downsides. Anyone that lacks confidence with a needle and thread may panic about modifying clothing like this. It could go wrong and get messy quite easily. It is perfectly understandable if you want an alternative solution for attaching patches without sewing. So, what are your options?
How to attach patches without sewing.
The good news for all of you that don’t like the idea of sewing patches onto clothes is that there are some great alternative options out there. You can get some products that fuse or stick the patches to the product without too much difficulty. You can see some of these below. I have provided a brief introduction to the different forms so you can decide which is the best fit for your needs. Just be aware that while many people find non-sewing methods to be the easiest, less-time consuming option, there are still risks and you do need to be careful.
What can you use to attach patches without sewing?
There are three common options for those that want to attach patches without sewing them. They are:
- Fabric fuse webbing
- Fabric adhesive glue
- Hook and loop tape
There are pros and cons to each option so, it helps to get a better idea of the process and likely results first. From there, you can browse the best adhesive materials for patches online and find one that is best suited to your needs and your budget.
Ironing on patches with fabric fuse.
This is a popular option when dealing with patches. Fabric fuse material is a nice thin weave mesh that adheres to the material of the patch and the garment to create a strong hold. You can use this material when hemming clothing as well because the process is so easy. You just stick the webbing to the materials and press them together.
I do like this option in the right situations. You can find that you get a nice flat surface where you barely notice how the patch is attached. However, you do need to be careful in how you use the material, as you will see later. You can also learn how to make iron on patches here.
Using fabric adhesive.
Alternatively, you could glue the patch to your material for a strong bond. There are some great glues out there specifically designed for use with fabric. You may also find that there are some that are better for denim or other fabrics. Just make sure to get the best fit so that you don’t damage your clothes in the process.
Using hook and loop tape.
You may be more familiar with the term Velcro than hook and loop tape. Turns out that Velcro is one of those examples of a brand name that has become synonymous with the type of product. Either way, this is a potential solution for attaching patches without sewing them. You do need to be sure that you have a self-adhering hook and loop strip here, or else you will need to get fabric glue as well.
Personally, I am not keen on this approach apart from in specific situations where it becomes the most practical solution. The negative side of using hook and loop tape for your patches is that you have a very thick layer between the patch and the jacket. This isn’t going to look as good as a glued-on patch that sits flush to the surface of the garment.
However, there is the potential to make the patches interchangeable. You can have a surface of hooks permanently attached to a rucksack, and then swap between a series of patches with the loop material on the back. Those patches do need to be the same size and shape, but this could work well for kids that want to change up their look.
How to attach patches without sewing using these 5 products
1) iCraft PeelnStick Fabric Fuse Sheets
This first option is great for those that are keen on the idea of fabric fuse sheets because you have two large sheets, 8.5 by 12 inches, where you cut them to size, peel off the backing ad then press the material to fuse it together.
2) Thermoweb Peel n Stick Adhesive Sheets
This is pretty much the same thing with a similar amount of webbing. You get 4 sheets measuring 8.75 by 5.5 inches. While the emphasis in the description is on crafting and scrapbooking, some users have seen great results with patches if they use an iron.
3) iCraft Fabric Fuse Liquid Adhesive
As the iCraft webbing is so popular, I wanted to include this liquid adhesive as an alternative. This product is great for easy application and creates a strong bond with a clear finish. It is also non-toxic. You only get 2.1fl.oz but, this is an affordable option for occasional projects.
4) Aleenes Fabric Fusion Adhesive
You get more for your money with this 8oz alternative glue, so it might be preferable if you make a lot of garments with patches, or need glue for other applications. You can get a great result if you are happy to let the garments dry for a while. This may be preferable to quick-dry options that aren’t amendable after application.
5) Qidisgoy Hook Loop Strips with Adhesive
These strips are great because you only need to cut the length and trim the width for a neat look. You get a lot for very little money, it’s a lot 12 that are cut into 7-inch strips. They are also self-adhesive for added ease of use.
Important tips for getting the best possible result with your patch.
1) Take your time with the application for a neat and precise finish.
Whatever option you choose to adhere to the patch, whether it is a webbing, glue, or an off-brand version of Velcro, you need to be careful. Try your best to cut the webbing in line with the edge of the patch. This means that there isn’t any unsightly overlap to deal with. Also, try to cover every inch of the back. Use a craft knife for a cleaner look than using scissors. As for the glue, you need to be careful not to use too much that it starts seeping out the sides as you press it onto your clothing. At the same time, you don’t want to use too little so that the edges peel away.
2) Be very careful with your placement because there is no going back.
This is the most nerve-racking part of the process if you have a very specific goal in mind with the final look of the garment. Some designs and placements are harder than others, especially if you have text that needs to be straight. Some bags and jackets can benefit from a more haphazard approach and a quirky design. Once the patch is in place, there is no going back. It isn’t like a sewn-on patch where you can unpick and readjust. The glue is permanent until it wears away.
3) Remember that some of these solutions are more durable than others.
The strong adhesion of the fabric glue is great for a strong fixture on kids’ clothes. Those patches should go through a lot of wear without any noticeable effect. However, this isn’t going to be the same for Velcro and webbing. The properties of the webbing diminish with time and regular washing won’t help. You may start to see the corners peeling a little. As for the Velcro, if you have ever had velcro fastenings on shoes, you know how messy and weak they can get over time. The fluffy side can get tatty and capture dirt, hair, and other fibers.
Before I summarize some final thoughts about how to attach patches without sewing, I want to recommend another guide. If you like the idea of using fabric fuse material to iron patches onto clothing, you may also be interested in learning how to make iron-on patches. Creating your own patches from scratch, rather than ironing on pre-made products, can be a very rewarding experience. Check out my guide for ideas on how to create these designs with different methods for some great bespoke garments and bags.
Which is the best option for attaching patches without sewing?
As you can see, I am not a big fan of the Velcro approach and would only recommend it for those interchangeable patches on bags. But, you might feel that this solution is perfect for your projects. The fabric fuse webbing is a great option in the right situations because it is so easy to use and you do get a good result – even if it doesn’t last forever. Finally, there is the fabric glue. I say that if you have a patch you love and want it as a more permanent addition to your garment, this is the best option.
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my kids however, that is typically a challenge with how limited their attention span can be and how messy it gets. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and creating fond memory for all of us.