This is a rather long blog post; however, if you are new to the patch world (or even have experience in the patch world), you may want to read it in the entirety.
Customizemypatches.com has been around for decades. We have been printing all types of patches, for all types of customers, with all types of designs for over 10,000 days! We have learned a ton of things along the way, and many of them through trial and error (Yes, we have made mistakes before :). Having started from zero and now having printed over five million patches, we know the ins and outs of the patch world.
If you have never printed a patch, you should take a second and read this article, as it will answer most if not all of your questions. If you do have a question, let us know and will get you the information. Our customer care team is here practically 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and we’re always happy to help.
Whether you have printed a million patches or if you’ve never printed patch, it is important to understand the types of patches in order to choose the right custom patch for your custom design.
There are three main types of patches: embroidered patches, woven patches, and sublimated patches. These all have distinct characteristics and depending on budget, design, size, type of backing, application, will dictate the right patch for you.
Embroidered patches: About 60% of what we print are embroidered patches. Embroidered patches are similar to woven patches, in that they use different color threads to create the design. But there’s one big difference between embroidered and woven patches. An embroidered patch will start with a unique background color, whether it be black, white, yellow, orange, green, or any other color of the spectrum and then have the design sewn on top of it, meaning a majority of the patch is the background color.
For example: If you wanted to say “I love Lucy” in red on a white patch in the shape of a heart, the process would be: 1. Cut the heart shape according to the dimensions. 2. Die the heart white. 3. Using a computer and a sewing machine, add red thread so it would say “I love Lucy.” 4. Add any backing or borders (like the merrowed border) you may want.
Following the steps above, roughly 10-20% of the patch will actually be “sewn”. The rest of the patch would be the color white which was dyed prior to the sewing.
Buy an embroidered patch if you want: 1. The most economical option for smaller orders (once you get above 20 units, the pricing is similar across the board) 2. The raised look. 3. The ability to iron on or sew it on. 4. You want to buy the “traditional patch.”
Woven Patches: About 20% of the custom patches we print at customziemypatches.com are woven patches. They are very similar to embroidered patches, but instead of picking one color background and then designing the patch with thread on top, the entire custom patch is made from thread. The woven patch is entirely made of thread and thus is a thinner patch than the embroidered patch which is sewn onto a background. Of course, there are different types of backings we can add to the woven patch for you! Using the example above: If you wanted to say “I love Lucy” in red thread on a white patch in the shape of a heart, the process would be:
1. Cut the heart shape according to the dimensions. 2. Using a computer that is connected to a multithread sewing machine, connect red and white thread. 3. The part of “I love Lucy” will be done in red thread and the background (The entirety) will be done in white.
Buy a woven patch if you want: 1. A clean and elegant sewn look 2. The ability to iron on or sew it on. 3. More detail in your image. 4. You want a very durable patch.
Sublimated Patches: The last 20% of our orders are sublimated patches. Only recently have we started printing this style of patch but it is growing in popularity (we started in 2012). Sublimated patches are not printed with threads at all but rather with a heat transfer that uses gas to dye the patch from top to bottom. This technique is similar to printing a photograph or using a full color printer to print an image. You can maximize design specification and literally have thousands of color options.
Using the example above: let’s say you want to print I love Lucy on a heart shaped patch with an image of your mother from her high school yearbook. The steps would be as follows: 1. Cut the shape of the heart according to the dimensions required. 2. Print on a sheet of transfer paper the image of your mother’s high school photograph and the words I Love Lucy above that. 3. Lay the heart shaped patch on a conveyor belt, very similar to a pizza oven, and match the image printed on the heat transfer paper on top (BE SURE TO LINE UP THE EDGES). Pass the image with the heat transfer paper through an oven for about 5 minutes. 4. The heat from the oven will force the image to transfer from the paper to the patch.
Buy a sublimated patch if you want: 1. To print a high quality image with lots of detail, such as a photograph, or a multicolored logo. 2. You are not concerned with the traditional raised patch look that is created through embroidery or woven patches. 3. You have a higher budget for small quantities, as this process is more expensive than both woven patches and embroidered patches for small orders. 4. You want to really impress whoever is looking at the patch, this is an amazing way to print a patch that very few people know about!
Above, you can read about the styles of printing patches, embroidered patches, woven patches, and sublimated patches. Here is some other random facts and tidbits about patches that you may enjoy. 1. An embroidered patch, the oldest patch, is also known as a cloth badge. 2. The first patch was actually attached with a pin and not sewn on. 3. Patches were originally made for identification of rank in the military. No one has researched when the first patch was made, but those most likely made in China, possibly several 1000 years ago. 4. Today nearly everyone owns a patch. It is estimated that over three billion patches are printed annually. 5. The most common consumer of patches is the military. Almost 80% of all patches are purchased by the military. 6. Before the advent of computer printing and automatic sewing machines patches were made by hand. 7. In the industrial revolution, around the turn of the 19th century, the first team was used to create a woven patch. 8. There are many types of stitching that can be used to create patches, they include writing stage, sound stage, cross stitch, bit full stage, change stage, and finally blanket stage. 9. The first gas printed, full color printed patch, was done in the 1980s through a technique called sublimation by a man known as Walter Jeffries. 10. Finally, customize my patches will give you a 10% off if you mention that you read this post in it’s entirety!
We at customize patches are here to serve you. We hope you found this article about our work interesting. If you have any more questions about your design, what patch is right for you, or just want to talk to someone who is friendly, we will be happy to chat with you.