12 of the Prettiest Iron-On Appliqués for No-Sew Projects
These embroidered patches, rhinestone or sequin trims, monograms, and more are all embellishments to personalize your clothing, accessories, and housewares.
Iron-on appliqué, oftentimes used to embellish clothing, takes on new life when used in modern motifs: embroidered patches, monograms, and more. Traditionally, the technique involves placing shapes that have been cut from one fabric onto another fabric background in order to create a pattern. There are three basic appliqué methods: hand-turn, machine-sewn, and iron-on—the last one being the easiest by far. To do it, an appliqué motif is trimmed and laid out to create a design layout.
In fabrics, look for something of natural fiber, such as cotton, which withstands heat better than synthetics. Remove the paper backing and position designs, face-up, on the item to be embellished, cover with tissue paper; then, with an iron set on high and no steam, slowly iron on your designs, applying firm, even pressure. It's that easy. Heavier appliqués can be reinforced with a few hand stitches or a dot of fabric glue.
Over the years, we've come up with craft projects that make good use of appliqués—heeled shoes and knitwear beanies, cardigans, leather clutches, pillow cases, and kids berets. Iron-on transfer projects make gift-giving pretty, personal, and practically effort-free. Time and time again, our editors source their fabrics and appliqués from trusted stores: M&J Trimming, Tinsel Trading, and Daytona Braids and Trimming, to name a few. (Or if a family member or friend sews, ask if she has a collection you can dip into.) Look for inspiration in bits and pieces—embroidered patches, rhinestones and beads, stampings—all of these appliquéd motifs come with handmade appeal.
Less fleeting than a fresh bouquet, give your mother (or sister or friend) flowers that come to life: in a beautiful floral pattern embroidered in neon and gold thread, this iron-on patch will add a little joy to any piece of clothing.
Shop Now: Meri Meri Bright Floral Patch, $8, merimeri.com.
Why choose one when you can admire a whole flock? This trio of birds will allow your iron-on designs to take flight in full, vibrantly embroidered color.
Shop Now: ZOOPOLR Embroidered Bird Patches, $12.99 for three, amazon.com.
Anything can be monogrammed, as it claims the item as undoubtedly yours. This particular alphabet patch pops in bright pink color.
Shop Now: Mine 2 Design Letter "M" Iron-On Patch, $2.99, michaels.com.
From artist Michelle Brusegaard, this patch features my original sunny sun illustration, rendered in thread, in a half moon shape.
Shop Now: Michelle Brusegaard Sunny Sun Iron-on Patch, $6, michellebrusegaard.etsy.com.
Whether you're embellishing a bedroom sham or decorating for the Fourth of July, this set of appliqués has cosmic appeal. In all their glory: a scattering of stars in metallic thread.
Shop Now: Wrights Iron-On White Star Appliqués, $3.49 for four, joann.com.
Come autumn, falling leaves take on rich colors and inspire all kinds of designs. And there could be none more fitting for a project than this embroidered patch: The insignia of Martha's property, known locally as Cantitoe Corners, is that of a sycamore tree.
Shop Now: Kindersticker Autumn Sycamore Tree Leaf Iron-On Patch, $3.73, kindersticker.etsy.com.
A little glitz goes a long way, as proven by this rhinestone appliqué, which is perfect for accessories, costumes, wedding dress, evening gowns, crafting, and much more.
Shop Now: Daytona Trim Clear Crystal Rhinestones with Silver Beads Appliqué, $8.99, daytonatrim.com.
As for this embroidered leaf trim? Use it as a trim or cut for separate pieces.
Shop Now: Simple Leaf Embroidered Trim, starting from $5.40, shinetrim.com.
Let it snow with a swirl of these shiny metallic snowflakes. Just like the real thing, no two are alike.
Shop Now: YUKOKAA Snowflake Appliques, $8.99, amazon.com.
Make your mark on your favorite jackets and jeans with this embroidered bee patch. Simply press the patch to a cotton or canvas item, and you are set.
Shop Now: Trims by the Yard Busy Bees Embroidered Iron-On Patch, $5.98, trimsbytheyard.com.
Transforming a seasonal sweater from plain to oh-so-pretty is as easy as ironing or sewing on flowery fabric appliqués. These two large beaded motifs only required a few stitches for each leaf and petal, since sturdy mesh backing holds them together. If you use two of the same embellishments, mix things up; one of this pair was sewn on upside down.
Shop Now: MJ Trimming Rhinestone Flower Applique, $34.95, mjtrim.com.