A Brief History of Embroidered Patches

Embroidered PatchesEmbroidered patches are popular items used to spice up garments and accessories. They are commonly sewn or ironed-on to uniforms, casual clothes, jeans, hats, hankies, jackets, and other fabric articles. These cloth adornments are not just worn for decorative purposes. They are also personal expressions of uniqueness and individuality. Ever wondered when these tiny embroidered adornments started to make waves in the fashion industry? Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and learn its history in this article.

Meant to Mend and Decorate

According to research, embroidered patches first entered the clothing industry during the 3rd Century BC in China. The tiny cloth pieces aren’t originally meant to adorn dresses. Rather, the ancient dressmakers use them to mend holes, tears and clothing mishaps. After patching up the clothes, they add intricate designs around the patched areas to enhance its look and make it beautiful. This way, no one will suspect that the clothing is actually damaged beforehand. Other civilizations followed China’s suit and started making their own embroidered fabric patch. People started to embroider designs into small-sized cloth pieces which resemble the modern-day patch. The Babylonians, Egyptians and Phoenicians extensively used these small embroidered fabrics in their robes, curtains, beddings and daily wear.

The Dawn of Mechanized Embroidery

The embroidered patch already existed even before sewing machines did. Ancient seamstresses embroider small pieces of cloth by hand and sew them on dresses and robes. They used a variety of stitches such as stem stitch, satin stitch and back stitch to create their tiny masterpieces. However, modernization slowly took over the traditional way of embroidery. The Industrial Revolution saw the birth of sewing and embroidery machines.

American pioneer Alphonse Kursheed created the first embroidery machine in 1873. His machine was inspired by hand embroidery, looms and textile making. The new machine used multiple needles to sew and embroider on clothes. Another talented sewing pioneer named Isaac Grumble was inspired by Crushed machine and created a simpler one which used a continuously threaded needle and a shuttle. Grumble’s machine was known as the Stiffly Machine and became the basis for the modern sewing machines that we have today.

The Start of Widespread Use

Public awareness and use of the patch significantly increased as modernization of embroidery techniques started. The patch became a staple in various organizational units throughout the globe. For instance, military units started to wear uniforms with their patched insignia visible on the uniform’s sleeves. A patch signifies the soldier’s rank and skill, and wearing them boosts up their morale. Military medical teams also started to use the patch for their uniforms. These people wore the bright Red Cross patch sign on their uniforms for easy identification during a battle. Even civilian citizens started using patches on their clothes as symbols of organization affiliation and unity. The 1970s and 1980s saw an extensive use of patched garments and accessories worldwide.

Modern-Day Patch Creation

Thanks to digital technology, creating a patch is easier than ever today. Designs are made and uploaded on computers who convert these to digital proofs. These are then used to create the embroidery on small pieces of cloth via computerized sewing machines. The finished product is then sewn on to the clothes or applied with a special iron-on adhesive backing that enables easier patch application by heat. Modern patches can now be made in bulk for organizations and individuals alike.

Then and Now

During the early days, seamstresses created a unique custom patch for each clothing that needs to be mended. Today, patch design can still be customized to fit anyone’s fashion taste. It’s easy to have a batch of custom-made embroidered fabric patches done. Patch shops such as patches4less.com offers an easy way of ordering and creating the perfect patch for any client’s needs. Be it a patch for the school uniform, company souvenir, or kid’s clothes, patches4less.com can surely do it! Why not try out their patch services today?

Patches4Less.com are your one-stop, no-problem source if you need embroidered patches, patches for sports teams, businesses, military units, motorcycle clubs and events, camping, Scouting, martial arts or any other purpose.