The Making of Modern Custom Embroidered Patches

In the early 1800s, custom embroidered patches were labors of love by the wives, mothers and sisters of soldiers who wore them in battle to denote their alliance and their rank. If a patch got irreversibly soiled or damaged in war, another one had to be completely remade from scratch. Thus, each patch took plenty of time and effort, even if the design was the same.

Custom embroidered patches

Since the dawn of the age of computers, things have become more streamlined. Today, artists need only to make a single digital image that is processed by a computerized embroidery machine to make multiple copies of the design. Because of this, intricate patches can now be made in a record period of time.

With most patch making companies, there are only a few easy steps to getting your very own set of custom embroidered patches. In fact, the process is so easy that if you have adequate artistic skills and money to invest on an embroidery machine, you could probably do it yourself.

First, a template must be made. You can have the company’s in-house designer make one according to specifications and reference material that you provide. If you’re handy with the pencil, you can draw your own design for the designer to reproduce digitally.

The most common programs used for the template are Adobe Illustrator and Inscape. These programs create vector drawings, which are smooth and scalable to any size without loss in quality. This means that you can create great-quality custom embroidered patches in a variety of sizes, whether it be a small scout-style badge or a large one for a baseball cap. Find information about patches .

The resulting image can then be imported into embroidery software such as BERNINA or Drawings. Some embroidery machines come with their own software as well. The software allows the designer to select the closest thread color, adjust the direction of the thread and
determine its coverage. A 100% coverage tends to be more expensive but will cover the backing entirely. A 50% or 75% coverage will mean that portions of the twill backing will be
visible in between stitches.

At this point, the patch maker will then send you a digital proof of your design. It is important to make any changes at this phase while it is still possible to make them with very little added effort and at no additional cost.


Once you approve of the design, the design will be transferred to the embroidery machine. This is when the actual stitching begins. Twill fabric, a type of cloth with a diagonal weave, is generally used by patch making companies. This is because twill has a strong weave
which visually also mimics the diagonal ridges of embroidery, particularly useful when you’re not choosing a 100% coverage. This twill fabric is secured on the hoop on the machine. It is important that the fabric does not move in the process of stitching else the
result will be crooked.

The design is then stitched onto the twill by the machine color by color. Some household embroidery machines will require you to manually change the thread once it’s done with a color.

The resulting custom embroidered patches are then ready to sew onto your clothing or stuck on with a heat-sensitive adhesive.

The process of making embroidered patches has come a long way since the days of hand-stitching. They are now ever more accessible and affordable, even to ordinary people who don’t have time (or family members) to do embroidery themselves. And if you manage to lose that baseball cap with your beautiful embroidered patch design, it’s easier to get a replacement that’s just like it.