“Patches?! We don’t need no steenkin’ patches!” But, they sure are useful. Quite often at the store, though, we hear something like “I like that patch but I don’t know where I’d use it”.
Most of our patches are not iron-on; pretty much any canvas patch will need to be either sewed on or safety pinned on. Very few patches are iron-on nowadays, because that makes it more expensive (maybe also because fewer people have irons). You can sew it with close stitches along the edges, with a sewing machine if you have it. Some people also use “Fray Check” to keep it from fraying at the edges (enter the name into your favorite search engine to find it). More punk rock is to sew it on by hand with dental floss, which doesn’t tear and is stronger than most thread. Not as strong as safety pins, of course, which are your cheapest and strongest (and most punk rock) option.
Speaking of safety pins, they are a great way to attach a patch to clothes for a baby or small child, where you know that in a few months they will be too big for it and need new clothes. Just get some more boring, inexpensive (perhaps free if given by the child’s grandparents) clothes, move the patch up to the new clothes, and sell the (once again cutesie and boring now that you’ve removed the patches) outgrown clothes to a used clothing store (or donate them to a thrift shop). You can do the same thing by sewing them on, but it’s considerably more work to take them out again and move them up to the larger garment.
If you have a large area you need to cover, and your patch is not big enough, you can use interesting fabric (e.g. leopard or zebra or something else busy or colorful) to cover the area, then put the patch in the middle of that. For example, in the picture shown here the fabric is from a pair of old socks.
Patches are a way to make a standard-issue jacket your own.
They’re also a way to put a personal touch on whatever eco-friendly grocery bags you may have.
It is high time that your computer bag had something on it to distinguish it from every other black computer bag out there.
If you have a cloth sofa or easy chair, you can sew a patch onto that. So, if it’s perfectly fine except for the corner the cat tore up, give it a new (alternative) lease on life. The same applies for blankets, pillows, or curtains. Back patches are a little bigger in case you need to cover a larger area.
You can also use patches on your skirts, pants, or t-shirt. If your employer has given you yet another free t-shirt you don’t want to wear, cover up the company logo with a patch from your favorite band. This works just as well with cheap or free shirts that other people’s employers gave them, often available at nearly free in any thrift store.
If you’re finding you’re in the kitchen enough lately to actually have a use for an apron, but can’t find one that’s not uncomfortably Stepford Wives, just stitch an Anarchy Now or Meat Is Murder patch on it and you’re good to go. Don’t put the patch over the part of the apron where you actually want to wipe your hands a lot to dry them, though, most patches aren’t terribly absorbent.
So, when do you want a patch? Anytime you want the item to look cool, alternative, and not exactly like anyone else’s.