Manufacturing Embroidered Patches

Throughout American history, embroidered patches have been used to signify interests, membership, and overall comradery.  They have been used across a multitude of industries, ranging from recreational sports to military insignias.  Although the embroidered patch has been a staple of American identity, its manufacturing process has dramatically changed throughout the course of history.

Initially, the embroidered patch was made by hand.  Prior to the advent of computers, all patches had to be sewn together by hand, stich by stitch.  The fabric backing was cut to shape, and then heat-sealed.  After the backing was completed the thread of the patch was stitched into place.  Some early designs incorporated the back of the patch into the whole piece, and some other designs stitch over the entire backing. When the patch was completely stitched, it was heat sealed to prevent fraying.  

All patches were hand stitched until 1863, when an inventor named Isaak Groebli invented the Schiffli embroidery machine. This machine operated on a two-thread stem and utilized the combination of a bobbin of thread and a continuously threaded needed.  The machine was powered by a hand crank and was significantly more efficient than making embroidered patches by hand. This early embroidering machine was capable of creating multiple copies, with identical designs. In 1898 a version of the Schiffli machine was mechanized so it functioned automatically. This system could be operated by a single person, which dramatically simplified embroidery.

Before the invention of the embroidering machine there were many different hand stitches used to create a patch; popular examples include: blanket, running, cross, and satin stiches. With the advantages of modern day technology, any design can be embroidered onto a patch. What once was a painstaking and time-consuming process has turned into an industry that is computer controlled and extremely efficient. Even photo realistic pictures can be made into an embroidered patch. Another modern addition to the patch is the iron-on adhesive plastic backing.  This backing improves the overall stiffness, durability, and longevity of the patch and allows for the wearer to iron on the patch to an article of clothing, instead of having to stitch it.

If you are interested in making embroidered patches, it is always beneficial to contact an embroidered patch manufacture. Professionals are the best at patch design and can create custom embroidered patches that meet your exact needs. Whatever design, insignia, or image you like can be turned into a beautiful embroidered patch.


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