Companies looking to have uniforms embroidered with their custom logo are presented with a decision when placing their order. The question being should they go with embroidered patches which they sew onto the uniforms, or have their logo directly embroidered into the garment itself?
Patches have been used throughout the years in a variety of applications – school uniforms, military uniforms, varsity jackets – the list goes on… and on. It’s a popular technique, no doubt about it, but what makes it so popular exactly?
Patches are basically embroidered pieces of fabric that are then applied using different methods to the garment of your choice. The reason why a lot of people are so fond of using it is because it is generally inexpensive and manufactured in bulk.
They are also low maintenance in a DIY sense since you won’t need to worry about having to match it to a particular garment because it comes with either a sticker-like backing or one that is suitable for heat-transfer. They can also be sewn on as required or attached using a Velcro strip applied to both the garment and the patch.
On the embroidery side, patches are also easier to manufacture since the embroiderer does not have to worry about digitizing it to match a particular fabric. Most patches are sewn onto twill backing which is firm and smooth; perfect for embroidery. There is little issue about fabrics that can’t accommodate a high stitch count or fabric tearing in the middle of being sewn.
A lot of budget conscious folks will order patches in bulk to sew themselves on an as-needed basis. The patches can be transferred from one uniform to another. If you use patches in your school, for example, students with uniforms that are damaged but with the patch still intact can remove the old patch and transfer it to their new uniform. The cost for this would be far less than if they had to order a whole new uniform because the logo of the school was directly embroidered onto the jacket or shirt that was damaged.
Patches are considered collector’s items in many circles. Kids who have attended boarding school or private school usually cut them out of their uniforms to use as keepsakes. There are embroidered military patches that are in demand for collectors because of the history behind them. It isn’t a very lucrative industry, but it exists and is thriving.
In some fields, an embroidered patch can be seen as a status symbol. In the armed forces, they are used to designate rank and to display any distinctions earned during service. Some patches are used to identify companies and even the country to which a soldier belongs to. These are either sewn on or attached using Velcro. How many movies have you seen where a member of the armed forces has literally been “stripped” of their rank? Dramatic, yes – but now you know it was probably Velcro holding that patch up.
On the other end of the spectrum, due to its rampant use in uniforms, patches aren’t considered particularly classy. You won’t see many patches, if any, on uniforms for non-contact sports like golf or tennis. However, if you’re more of a soccer and baseball fan then embroidered patches might be right up your alley.
Unlike patches which can be hand-sewn, applied via heat transfer or using Velcro, direct embroidery is just that – the design is sewn directly into a garment or cap.
Direct embroidery is the most popular choice for businesses involved in the corporate, hospitality and restaurant industries. Polo shirts, and other soft fabric items do not work well with patches, since they tend to feel stiff and bulky. Sewing the logo direclty into the garment will allow it to move much more smoothly with the wearer. This method also means a more corporate, classier appearance to the finished product.
If you don’t mind spending a little bit more on your company image, then direct embroidery is the way to go. Also, you can’t achieve things like tone-on-tone with embroidered patches. Patches have an ephemeral quality to them – they can get torn off, ripped or stolen. Items with direct embroidery are there on your uniforms to stay. They’re a part of the complete product and not a simple add-on. So what is your choice going to be?
The last word on the issue
Well, last few words at least. Both embroidery options have their own pros and cons. If need to do extra research you can simply take a look at the others in your industry and you’ll see which option has worked best for them and then make your own decisions for your own company.