Patches 101: Sew You Want to Make Patches...

Patches 101: Sew You Want to Make Patches... | Alchemy Merch

October 08, 2020

It's hard to beat a classic! From a scout's sash to a biker's jean jacket, patches are a great way to put your art, design or brand out into the world! We offer traditional embroidered patches as well as chenille (think, the fuzzy letter on a letterman jacket), woven, and even photo-printed options. All of our patches have an iron-activated adhesive backing, making it simple to apply the patch to fabric. 

 

Embroidered patches with twill background fabric and merrowed edges. 

 

Embroidered Patches:

Traditional embroidered patches can have a twill or felt background with your design rendered in embroidered thread, or the background can be covered in embroidery as well (a good option for designs where there's no clear "background" color.") They are dimensional, highly tactile, and absolutely classic. If the patch is a simple shape like a circle or rectangle, they can do a merrowed edge- a nice effect where the edge stitching wraps all the way around the patch- traditionally, almost all patches were made in simple shapes like these. These days, for more complex shapes, they can use the "hot cut" method, though we can still put stitching around the edge to mimic a merrowed-edge look. For best results, embroidered patches should have bold areas of solid colors (no gradients, shadows, or textures.) 



A close-up of the detail on a 100% embroidered patch.


A hot-cut embroidered patch with felt background. Felt isn't used often, but for the right design it can give a great unique look.

 

Woven Patches: 

Woven patches are created with a different manufacturing method, where the design is woven right into the fabric instead of embroidered on top. This results in a flat surface, which can hold smaller details than embroidery. Woven patches can still have an embroidered merrowed edge, if they are a simple shape. Woven patches also need areas of solid color without gradients or shadows, but those areas can be finer and smaller than with embroidery. 


A woven patch with merrowed edge

 


A woven patch with hot-cut edge and metallic gold thread. Detail like this would be tough to achieve cleanly in an embroidered patch.

 

Photo Transfer Patches:

With embroidered and woven patches, we have to have distinct blocks of color - no gradients, shadows, etc. But with a photo transfer patch, they can literally print just about any image directly onto the fabric!  A great option if your art simply won't work with the more traditional methods. 


A factory photo of a photo transfer patch (in this case, a painting rather than photo.) Just about anything can be printed onto a patch with this method!

 

Chenille Patches:

Chenille patches are similar to embroidered patches, but with one significant difference- they're fuzzy! With chenille, it can be easy for detail to get lost in the fluff, so we recommend very bold shapes for the best results. 


Fuzzy chenille sheep! The next best thing to the petting farm. 

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