Embroidered Patch

An embroidered patch, also known as a cloth badge, is a piece of embroidery which is created by using a fabric backing and thread. The art of making embroidered patches is an old tradition and was originally done by hand. High-speed, computerized machines have led to mass production.

These originally hand-crafted badges are now seen everywhere and can be made with a variety of attachment options such as sew-on, iron-on, adhesive backing, or velcro backing.

The Advantages

Fast turnaround — great for last-minute projects due to the ease of manufacturing them.

Affordability — excepting “budget” styles that are designed with economy in mind, embroidered patches are the most affordable yet quality patch style available. They’re one the easiest to manufacture in large quantities.

Versatility — on top of almost infinite colors, you also have glow in the dark or reflective threads to work from. That’s not to mention custom color backings as well as camo, reflective or — you guessed it — glow in the dark.

Texturing — embroidery naturally makes images look sharp and textured by how the threading goes with the “grain” of images. It helps letters jump off the backing, too.

Durability — embroidered patches can bend with elbows and don’t mind rain or snow. An embroidered perimeter, called merrowing, can help keep the design safe from scuffing.

Washable — don’t be afraid to wash sports gear and uniforms with embroidered patches. Just make sure you’ve sown them on or had them made with an extra-strong iron-on adhesive.

The Disadvantages

• Imprecise with small fonts — if you’re looking to make a word-heavy patch or one where minute details play a critical role, embroidery might be too “blurry.” You might want to look into woven patches which allow for greater threaded detail, or even printed patches for a more photorealistic amount of detail.

Not waterproof — while able to put up with rain and snow, embroidered patches are ultimately thread and shouldn’t be used in situations where they’ll be submerged often and could mold. They’ll also retain paint from paintball matches. PVC patches, on the other hand, can go swimming and paintballing all day long with no permanent effects.

The Takeaway

While there are patches definitely more suited for things like fashion, rugged weather conditions or other specific scenarios, nothing matches the raw all-purposeness of the embroidered patch. Ready to go with any color, on any surface and into nearly any situation, they’re the perfect light-weight and cost-effecive solution to the majority of patch projects.

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