Leather is a bit of a walking contradiction of a material. On the one hand, it’s known for its toughness and resistance to wear. But on the other hand, leather is one of the most sensitive and reactive materials.
Before taking a red hot iron to your leather jacket to adhere to a favorite patch, ask yourself, is this going to damage this piece of clothing? In the following guide, we’ll answer that question and more: do leather and iron-on patches mix, and are there good alternatives to ironing on leather?
Do Iron-on Patches Stay on Leather?
You can use irons to adhere patches to leather in several ways.
The first uses the iron simply as a smooth, flat surface with a good amount of weight. Place the patch where you want it on the jacket, remove the protective strip to expose the glue, and press hard. This is preferable to the method which uses heat because excessive heat can damage leather.
Theprocess of making leather is complex, so leather has a complicated reaction to different elements. But if you want toiron patches onto leather, you can. Make sure the heat is low, you don’t hold it directly on the leather, and you don’t expose any one section for too long. Heated glue bonds better to fabric, but the patch glue may dry up and come off in both cases.
Why You Should Sew Patches Onto Leather Instead
Try sewing if you want a fool-proof method of adhering patches to leather that doesn’t use heat and won’t leave a sticky residue stain.
Sewing patches onto leather permanently bond them to the garment. The corners won’t peel up; you don’t have to worry about temperature fluctuations messing with the glue, and best of all, your garment won’t suffer heat damage.
If you want to sew patches onto your leather garments instead of ironing them, there is a straightforward process you can follow.
How To Sew Patches Onto Leather
Step 1: Gather the Proper Tools
The first thing you’ll need to do for a patch sewing project is gather all your materials. You don’t want to have to get up and run to fetch a pair of scissors in the middle of a complex operation. So keep them all by your side, and you’ll be good to go.
Here’s everything you’re going to need:
- Your desired patch
- A leather garment
- Transparent nylon or polyester thread
- A sewing machine or,
- A thin sewing needle
Step 2: Clean and Dry the Leather
Before you begin sewing, make sure your leather garment is clean and dry. If your garment is damp in any way, it could affect how securely the patch holds on. If it isn’t clean, then you’ve just created a permanent spot on your jacket that can never be cleaned.
Step 3: Place the Patch Where You’d Like it on the Leather
Find the perfect spot for your patch. Popular spots include just below the shoulder and front and center at the top of the back. Make sure you know before placing the patch whether you’ll be sewing on more or one is enough. That will affect where you place the patch.
Step 4: Pick the Thread, Thread the Needle, Tie a Knot
Nylon or polyester thread is the best because it won’t leave holes if you remove the patch. Thread your needle or sewing machine with the thread, and if you’re using a needle, tie a knot at the back so the thread doesn’t come loose while you sew.
Step 5: Sew the Patch
Now, sew away. You want to put in enough stitches for the patch to feel secure but not so many that you see it being tugged down at the edges. Remember, if you don’t like the way it looks or gets tired of it after a while, you can remove sewn patches easily.
What About Gluing Patches Onto Leather?
Ifironing a patch onto your leather garment seems too risky, and you’re afraid sewing will poke too many holes, you can always glue the patch down.
You can refer to the method we discussed in the ironing section, where you use the flat, smooth surface of iron without heat. The heaviness and perfect smoothness of irons are great for pressing the glue-side of patches onto the leather.
Simply place the patch glue-side down where you want it on the leather, press hard on the iron for 30 to 60 seconds, and then test to see if the glue bonded to the material.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Ironing Damage Leather?
Intense heat can damage leather, so you’re best not ironing patches. However, if you’re trying to fix a patch to a pleather garment, you’re usually okay to iron.
Many choose pleather because they believe thatpleather is better for the environment than leather. But most leather garments seem just as environmentally friendly as their vegan counterparts.
Is it Better to Sew Patches on Leather?
If you have the choice between sewing a patch and ironing a patch onto leather, choose sewing. If you use nylon or polyester thread, it won’t damage the garment. The heat from an iron can discolor and even disintegrate leather, so it’s better to sew.
If you’re gearing up for a leather sewing project, shop The/Studio for all your custom embroidered patches and other DIY needs. The/Studio makes on-demand custom product manufacturing easy, so any patch you can imagine, you can get from The/Studio.