How To Make a Raggy Patch

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Haven’t heard of raggy patches? These are pieces of polyester burlap or canvas-like fabric (for a rustic look) that have been imprinted with sublimation graphics. They are cut down to the right size and the edges are frayed. We are seeing them pop up on all sorts of products, like hats, flower pots, baskets and more.

Amy Hale from Sublimation & More! Learn, Create, and Inspire gives a great tutorial about how to make a raggy patch using sublimation. She also shows how to affix the patch without sewing.

Step 1: Choose Your Fabric

Most raggy patches you see are made from polyester faux burlap or linen. If you have any faux burlap or linen products in your shop, such as a pillowcase or placemat, and you made a mistake on it, Hale recommends saving it to make raggy patches with some of the unsublimated material. You can also get polyester canvas/faux burlap fabric from Hobby Lobby.

Step 2: Press Your Design

Once you have your fabric, cut it down into a shape that will work for your design. This could be a rectangle, circle or even letters. Remember you want enough space for the full design to transfer and extra room to fray the edges of the fabric to get the rag-like appearance you’re looking for.

Recommending press settings are 400 degrees for 60 seconds with light pressure.

Step 3: Cut and Fray

If needed, cut around your newly pressed design so that you have a border of fabric. Then use a sharp tool, like a hooked weeder for heat transfer vinyl or a seam ripper for sewing, to pull at the fabric threads on the edges. Continue to do this until you get the amount of fray you want.

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Once you’re done, dab the base of your frayed threads with a protective solution, such as Dritz Fray Check. This will help prevent additional fraying once attached to your product. Hale says don’t worry about the color of the fabric changing.

Once the solution dries for 24 hours, the fabric will be the same color it was before application. If you’re looking to dry your patch faster, you can place it on the bottom platen of your heat press and bring the hot top platen over the patch. Do not close the press, but let the heat from the top platen dry the patch for about 5 minutes. This works best with a swing away press.

Step 4: Apply Your Adhesive

To apply your patch using a heat press, you will need to apply an adhesive to the back of the patch. Hale highly recommends Siser EasyWeed® Adhesive which is available from most heat transfer vinyl distributors. If you are looking for a more local solution, Hale says you can use HeatnBond UltraHold, which is available where most crafts are sold.

Cut out the adhesive to the same shape and size as the non-frayed portion of your patch. If you have a complicated shape, such as a state border or initial, Hale recommends placing a sheet of adhesive in your regular office printer (not sublimation printer) and printing an outline of your design. This will enable you to easily cut the adhesive to size.

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Match up your adhesive with the back of your patch. Follow the directions that come with your adhesive. For the Siser adhesive:

  • Place the adhesive matte side down onto the patch.
  • Enfold in the whole thing in a Teflon sheet. The adhesive will stick to paper if you use that to protect your platens while pressing.
  • Press for three seconds at 300 degrees with light pressure.

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Step 5: Apply Your Patch

Hale shows how to apply her raggy patch to a hat using a hat press. The same can apply to items in a flat press.

  • Prepare your press with protective paper on the bottom platen. Prepare your substrate by removing all dust and place appropriately on the press.
  • Remove the film covering the adhesive on the back of the raggy patch.
  • Affix the patch to your substrate with heat tape, and cover with protective paper.
  • Press for 10 seconds at 300 degrees using medium pressure.

If the frayed edges have flattened in the press, use your nails to fluff them up. If you would rather sew your raggy patches, that is also an option.

Robin Kavanagh

Robin Kavanagh has spent five years working in the sublimation industry. Formerly the Public Relations Manager for Sawgrass and owner of a sublimated products business, Robin brings unique knowledge and experience to the readers of Sublimation Today.

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