The Best Iron-On Patches To Update Your Denim

"Sorry, is it 2002? Are you going to start tippexing Nirvana lyrics on your rucksack too?" asked my friend when I revealed my ambitious spring denim plan: to cover my mom jeans in patches.
No, I protested. They’re a logical extension of the embroidery and embellishment trend that is everywhere this summer. A lovely craft project. A knowing tribute to the '70s and the '90s, rolled into one sturdy pair of one-of-a-kind trews. She remained unconvinced. “Will you wear an army surplus shirt and safety pin a Teletubby to your PE kitbag?”
I tried another style sounding board. “Er. Patches?” this one said, with the furrowed brow of one who really wants to understand. “Like the Brownies? Or when we did appliqué in GCSE textiles?”
“Ok. Sure. Why?”
When a third fash-savvy pal, one who can usually be relied on to pat me on the head and send me off into the sartorial arena with her blessing, declared, “I’m reserving judgement until I’ve seen it,” as though I was taking up parkour or planning to tile my kitchen entirely in seashells, I started to worry I was wrong on this one.
Had I dreamed it? Were patches a fashion mirage? Or a trend only under-25s could see, like dogs with high-pitched noises? Am I suddenly Edina in AbFab, surrounded by Saffys? Let’s be honest, nobody wants to embark on a new wardrobe venture by grabbing frowning friends by the shoulders and yelling “IT’S A THING, I SWEAR IT IS.”
But sceptics be damned – it’s a thing, I swear it is. And I'm obsessed.
As with any niche interest or perversion, a quick Google provided enough reassurance that it’s not only me. In the safe space of the internet I’ve found everything from '70s peace-and-love signs to thoroughly modern designs with a little more cynicism in their stitches. Here are the very best, and they’re all iron-on, so the only needling involved is from the friends who just don’t get it. Yet.

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