Of Irons and Embroidery

If you want to take advantage of the beauty of embroidery, at some point an iron is going to become involved. Whether it’s iron on patches or transfers.

It can be a little intimidating, especially since not all these things come with instructions. Never fear, it’s all really quite simple.

How to Adhere an Iron on Patch.

  1. Make sure the fabric you want to adhere it to is clean and is sturdy enough* to take the patch.
  2. Heat your iron to the cotton setting (400 F/ 204 C degrees).
  3. If you are using a steam iron, make sure it is not on a steam setting.
  4. Preheat the fabric where you wish to place the patch (10-20 seconds).
  5. Place the patch on the fabric with the glue side down.
  6. Cover with a press cloth and press with the iron (5-20 seconds). Not using a press cloth may result in the patch getting burnt.
  7. Turn fabric over (or the garment inside out) and iron the backside of the patch.
  8. Allow to cool briefly.
  9. If the edges come up repeat steps 5 and 6.

*It is generally inadvisable to adhere an embroidery patch to any fabric that cannot be ironed at the cotton setting.

How to Apply an Iron on Transfer.

So cute! Reusable too.

Pictures with this one!

Step 1: Wash the fabric you want to apply the transfer to.

Step 2: Cut out the design you want to stamp, but leave a decent margin to allow for pinning. Be sure to cut out any smudges or aspects you don’t want.

I only wanted the mouse, not the weekday label underneath it.

Step 3: Heat an iron to the cotton setting for heavier fabrics, the wool setting for lighter fabrics**. Be sure if you are using a steam iron that it is on the dry setting.

Step 4: Pin the transfer, design side down, to the fabric.

It's preferably to use all metal pins, but I didn't have any handy.
It’s preferably to use all metal pins, but I didn’t have any handy.

Step 5: Cover with a press cloth (at least to avoid scratching the plate on the pins) and iron for 5 seconds. Move back and forth very carefully to avoid smudging the design.

Step 6: Carefully lift the edge to check if the design has stamped as dark as you want, if it is faint, repeat Step 5 and focus on fainter areas.

This is not “carefully lifting an edge”.

**Again, it is inadvisable to iron one of these onto a fabric that needs a cooler setting. Use the alternate process for dark fabrics, using whichever color is best.

Alternate process for dark fabrics: Instead of stamping, place transfer on top of white dressmaker’s carbon and carefully, but firmly trace the design onto the fabric.

Do NOT skip the pinning step or unpin the transfer to check how well it has stamped. You’ll end up getting a stuttered image like this:


Luckily, if this does happen, it should wash out. However, if possible it is wise to test the transfer on a scrap of the same fabric and check to see if it will wash out. Transfers are reusable and are a great place to start for beginners or those who struggle with creating designs. They’re also cheap, I think I bought the packets (with 10 different designs or so) for 97 cents a piece.

Hopefully this will help you tackle these things with confidence and give you a fall back lest you should misplace the instructions of how to apply either of these (or buy one with no instructions at all).


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