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How to make a great patched shirt

DIY making a patched shirt
fashion over 50 woman in Casual Friday outfit
DIY patch Oliveo denim shirt, Gucci belt, Aldo leopard print pumps (all own), net skirt c/o Lookbook store, and denim earrings c/o ENAMOUR

Readers’ request

Patched clothes are a thing this season. A while ago, I wore a patched shirt on the blog that I had made myself. Since then I got several requests from my readers for a post on how to add patches to a shirt or jacket in a grown-up way. I always like when my readers ask for a specific subject. Thus, here is the post.

What patches to shop for

Patches have their origin in the military – think name tag, rank indication, Nationality, unit, etc.. Many businesses use patches to display their employees’ name on the uniform, as encouragement to ask, special skills, and/or to show their corporate identity. Since patches are worn in professional environments, the patch trend can be worn in fashion over 40 without looking ridiculous. However, no matter whether you shop for a patched item or you go the DIY route, you have to choose wisely. This means stay away from everything “kitschy”, childish or patches that were already around when you were a teenager (e.g. the Rolling Stones tongue).

fashion over 40 woman in patched shirt and net skirt
Oliveo shirt after adding patches, Aldo pony hair leopard print pumps (all own), and net skirt c/o Lookbook Store

It is best to look for patches that relate to you like the flag of your state, places you visited, patches representing your hobbies or favorite sports, a charity you care for, you get the idea.

I went for ballroom dancing, soccer, patches related to atmospheric sciences like NASA, NOAA and weather patches. I love cats so a cat was in order. Stars and clover leaves always work. I also added the cancer awareness pink ribbon, and the Alaska state and US flags.

Style over 40 woman in DIY top
View on the iron-on patches on the left sleeve of the Oliveo denim top styled with Aldo leopard pumps, Gucci belt (all own), and tulle skirt c/o Lookbook Store

Follow these easy steps

Wash the shirt that you want to patch. Arrange the patches on the front of the shirt until you like what you see (step 1 in the photo below). Take a photo and put the patches aside. Turn the shirt around and arrange the remaining patches on the back (step 2). Again take a photo when you like your arrangement.

DIY patching a shirt
The steps of how to make your own patched shirt. 1 and 2) arrange the patches and take a photo, 3) heat the iron, 4) put a patch in the foreseen place according to the photo of the design, 5) iron patch on and wait until it is cool, 6) add the next patch on by continuing at 4)

Follow the iron-on instruction of the patches you bought. Set the iron to the recommended temperature and wait until it indicates that it reached the temperature setting (step 3).

Now start ironing the patches on one patch at a time (step 4).

Pro tip: Wait for each patch to cool down before adding the next

I know we are all busy and don’t have much time. However, it is very important that you wait for each patch to cool down before you iron the next patch on. The clue has to settle (by cooling down). If you bend the patched fabric too early the patch will peel off at its edges! Then you will have to sew it on, which can be very time-consuming depending on how complicated the edges of the patch are.

Pro tip: To not burn or ruin the patches, use a piece of thin fabric between the patch and the iron (see 3 to 4 in the photo above).

Once all patches are in place, the styling fun can begin. 😉

fashion over 50 woman in DIY patched shirt
Side view of patched Oliveo shirt with Aldo pumps (all own), and tulle skirt c/o Lookbook Store

Will you jump the bandwagon on the patch trend? Will you shop for a patched item or DIY? If you have any questions on patching your own shirt or on fashion and style in midlife, please do not hesitate to contact me. I love to help you.  

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When you like the blog you may also like my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife. As a Mothers’ Day special it is now available for only $22.59, i.e. 10% off, for a limited time. Buy it now.

Photos of me: G. Kramm

Photos of the patching process: N. Mölders

Copyright 2013-2017 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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