Any tips on what the fuck to do with iron on patches if you don't have an iron?
Iron-on patches without an iron
The good way:
The best and safest option is to simply sew your patch. Even if you do have access to an iron, it's still recommended to also sew the patch in place on top of ironing it as the glue can wear out over time.
Fabric glue will also do in a pinch, and safety pins look pretty cool if you're in a hurry.
The bad way:
If you Google this question, you'll probably get some unsafe answers among your search results. I quickly wanted to address these in case you'd be tempted to try them out.
An old punk way to attach iron-on patches without an iron is to use a hot metal object like a heated pan or a hair straightener instead of an iron. Please don't use this method. The chances of burning yourself are much higher than when you're using an actual iron. The heat distribution across the patch will also be uneven, so it might not even work that well. It's not worth it. If you just sew the patch on, you're much less likely to hurt yourself and your patch will last longer.
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Do you have any advice for what to do with graphic shirts with iron on decals you don't like anymore? I have 2 old sweaters that I got in high school that still fit me and are in pretty decent condition that also happen to be merch for a certain fandom with a bigoted author I haven't involved myself with in many years. I don't want to cut them apart due to the knit fabric issue, plus they're in good condition. I've considered sewing patches over them, the decals on one shirt are small enough to do that somewhat feasibly, but one of the shirts has big lettering covering the whole front of the shirt. I've considered the idea of sewing it inside out to use as a tote bag, but I have so many of those, I really don't need another. I don't like the idea of sending them to a thrift store either. I guess I'm trying to get ideas, thanks!
Hiding graphic decals on shirts
I gave my old bigoted author merch away to someone who would have bought new licensed merchandise otherwise. It's not ideal, but at least less money went to the author.
Removing the decal:
Depending on the type of decal you're working with, you could try removing the print like described on E-How, WikiHow, and Paper Flo Design. These articles use a solvent and a sharp tool, so be careful not to hurt yourself if you go this route.
Any logo's that have been sewn on can simply be removed with a seam ripper.
Covering up the decal:
Patches are a great way to cover up an unwanted print. Depending on the type and size of decal and the garment's material, you could also embroider over it or cover it up with beads or appliqué.
Refashion Co-op used reverse appliqué to hide decals, and Cucicucocoo did some lovely striped appliqué to achieve the same thing. Confessions of a Refashionista added a pocket over a shirt logo.
WikiHow also has a few ideas on how to cover up or remove logo's and such from clothing, and so does r/Visiblemending.
(Image source) [ID: before and after picture of a pocket that's been sewn over a logo on a t-shirt. Text: "How to cover a logo - a DIY pocket tutorial. By Confessions of a Refashionista."]
(Image source) [ID: text "[...]pologie[...]" being covered up with blue, yellow, and red embroidered stripes on a white canvas bag. Text: "Love the free tote, hate being a billboard".]
Replacing the decal:
If you take some extra precautions to avoid unravelling, you can cut into knit fabric. One thing you could try is cut out the print and do some reverse appliqué, or take out the entire printed panel, trace it to get a pattern, then replace it with a different fabric.
(Image source) [ID: a red t-shirt with a Mickey Mouse shaped reverse appliqué, showing fabric with a Mickey Mouse comic print beneath it.]
Upcycling the garment:
I've done a post on upcycling sweaters that might be useful, and Pinterest has tons of ideas on how to upcycle t-shirts without the print being visible any more.
Tote bags are a good idea! You might not need more of them, but maybe you've got friends who could use one?
You could also turn your shirts into T-shirt yarn, which is a great base material for baskets and rugs, or for crochet projects.
The non-printed bits of your clothes might be a good source of patch fabric for other shirts and sweaters.
If all fails, the fabric might make for good stuffing for plushies and such.
(Image source) [ID: a green, white, and faded red basket made out of braided T-shirt yarn, standing on top of a map.]
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