embroidered-patches-primerFor many years, custom embroidered patches have been used to commemorate special occasions, as well as depict themes, lifestyles or relay other messages. We often find that people are tentative about ordering patches because they’re unfamiliar with the terminology and variety of features available. So to help out with your next patch ordering experience, here’s a quick primer on what you need to know when it comes to custom embroidered patches.

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Patch Size Matters

Patches prices are determined primarily based on how long it takes to produce, which comes down to how big they are. The bigger the patch, the higher the cost. That's simple enough, right?  We'll need to have an idea of how big you want the patch to be in order to give you pricing. If you're trying to keep the cost down, choose the smallest size that seems about right to you.

Embroidery Coverage Amounts

The cost of custom patches always depends on how much of the area of the patch is to be covered with stitching. The more of the background fabric that shows around the stitched design, the cheaper the patch is going to be. A patch that is completely covered with stitching so that no background fabric shows, is considered "100% embroidered." This gives the patch a smoother texture because the embroidered image isn't raised off the twill, and is considered much more desirable, but this cost will be slightly higher than patches with lower coverage. So think about whether you want to have a fabric background (cheaper) or a fully embroidered patch (nicer).

Common Types of Patches

The most common type of patch is the standard embroidered patch, but just so you know, there are several other types of custom patches as well...and at EmbroidMe, we do them all.
Chenille patches are made with high loops of thread. This style of patch is most commonly seen on varsity clothing. Chenille patches have less detail than other types. It’s often designed to look like the shapes of countries, shapes and mascots. A chenille patch can also resemble words, numbers and letters.

Woven patches are ideal for simple images or designs. Use this patch when a design has too many details to replicate with embroidery. Because it’s woven, it has a smooth texture rather than one that’s raised.

man-wearing-custom-embroidered-name-patchPrinted custom patches use ink to create images on twill fabric. You can easily wash or dry-clean them and they're not prone to fade. This type of patch is excellent for creating photographic images. Some images have so much detail that they can't be created in thread, but it may be able to reproduce the image by printing. Printed patches can also be produced more quickly (and often more cheaply) than standard embroidered patches.

Name patches are commonly seen on uniforms to identify professional workers. Think old school gas station attendant shirts -- this is a very blue collar, industrial look, and sometimes it's just what you need. Name patches are created by stitching on patch "blanks." Blank name patches are available in stock sizes (about the size of a business card) in a few standard stock color combinations, or we can create custom blanks in the perfect color and size for your company.

Types of Embroidered Patch Backings

There are several kinds of backings for embroidered patches.

guy-with-custom-embroidered-patchesStandard backing— Patches with standard backing will have to be sewn onto your garment. In our experience, what most people are looking for when they say, "I want a patch," is an embroidered patch with standard backing.

Heat seal backing-Patches can be made to be ironed on. Be warned, heat seal backings are made to be applied with an industrial heat press, which applies pressure as well as heat. You may not be successful applying patches at home with your household iron. For this reason, we recommend forgoing the extra cost of heat seal backing, and getting standard (sew on) backing for most situations.

Adhesive backing—Also called “peel-and-stick adhesive,” this type of backing has glue on the back covered with paper that can be peeled off when you're ready to apply the patch. Useful for events and other occasions where patch application is only intended to be temporary. Patches may be removed and sewn on elsewhere at a later time. Adhesive backing will typically not stand up to laundering.

Velcro backing—This backing is often seen on military uniforms. Besides two-sided Velcro backings, there’s also hook-sided Velcro backings.


Be aware that patch production is different from direct embroidery. It typically takes 4 to 6 weeks to produce a batch of patches, and for most types of patches, the minimum order is 25 or more often 50 pieces.  Patches can be made to whatever shape or size you desire, and a variety of styles make it possible to replicate just about any design. If you'd like further help with custom embroidered patches, just contact us - we'll be happy to help!