How to Design and Order an Embroidered Patch
So your company is trying to throw together a party for being established for twenty-five years and you are in charge of the committee to arrange it all. There needs to be catering, music, party favors, the whole works. And on top of all of that, your supervisor informs you that the company wants patches made for everyone to commemorate the event. Well, isn’t that just fantastic. You have even more work to do now. Lucky for you, this isn’t even the hard part. Just follow the steps below, and everything will go according to plan.
Step 1: The Design
If anything, this may be the most difficult step of the process. The best thing is to keep the design simple. The smaller the patch, the harder it is to add all the little details. Try drawing out a two inch square and within that use a large sharpie to do your design. Frustrated yet? Sometimes it is possible to add minute details but once on the patch, it generally does not look pleasant. Simple and bold works the best.
Now to come up with an idea. Creating something out of nothing can be mind boggling but that is okay. There is a multitude of ways to work around that. One way could be to hold a design contest with whoever the patches are for. This works especially well if the patches are for children. Any kid would be ecstatic to see his or her idea on a professionally made patch that everyone will wear. Just make sure that no matter who is competing in the design contest to keep a few basic guidelines.
1) As mentioned before, keep the designs simple. If there is going to be text, keep it down to a few lines. The majority of patches are about three inches in diameter. Make sure to keep the text nice and bold.
2) Have a template ready. A square, rectangle, circle, oval, whatever shape you want the patch to be. Just have the person draw within the template. That way there aren’t any random squiggles roaming the page. Also, try to keep the shape simple. This is something that will save you money near the end of this.
3) Set a specific theme. If we go with the introduction setup here, the company anniversary would be the theme. If your group went on a camping trip and you want to commemorate that, then the theme would be camping. Pretty simple, right?
Don’t have time to grab a flock of people for a contest? That’s alright because another great resource is the internet. It has everything, and if it doesn’t, well then you can expect it to be there within a matter of days. Tons of people post design ideas. You can check out some of them and get a better idea of what you want for the patch. Gather them all up and send them off to companies to show them what you have in mind. Their designers will take care of it from there.
Even if you can find exactly what you are looking for, design companies have bought hoards of stock artwork to use. A company can easily put together a design from a mere paragraph of description. You could give them the theme and whatever text you want on there, and they will have it done in no time. Plus, it will still be an original, unique patch just for you.
Step 2: Ordering (Things to Consider)
You’re in the homestretch now. But what are all these options to choose from. Embroidery percentage, edges, backings? What does all of this mean? It is actually pretty simple. Let’s review it.
This is where you will choose how much stitching you want on the patch. This is also the major factor in what will raise and lower your price. The more stitching, the more expensive it is. One hundred percent embroidery means what it says; the entire patch has stitching on it, sometimes with stitches layered over one another. It is your most expensive option, but in some cases it is worth it because it looks the best.
However, there are cheaper options. There are options for percentages between fifty and ninety-nine. This means only a fraction of the patch will be stitched. It will all be done on a single color canvas base (twill). If your patch has only text in it, it’ll be around the fifty percent range. If there is just an image or the image is accompanied with text, then it definitely will be higher than fifty percent. Generally, the company you are sending your patch design to will help you figure out what percentage it will be if you opt out of one hundred percent. Going this route is certainly cheaper than one hundred percent and takes less time sew (in other words, it will be delivered to you sooner).
Here’s another place where you can save money. You have two different kinds of edges: standard merrow and hot cut. The standard merrowed edge is less expensive and works best on simple shapes like circles, ovals, squares and rectangles. Here we go with keeping it simple again. Simple is best in the patch world.
If you want your patch to be an irregular shape (i.e. ribbons breaking the circle border, star, skull & crossbones, tiger head), that will have to be a hot cut. Hot cut has the ability to follow along more intricate edges while the merrowed edge cannot.
There are a multitude of options on this one. These will make the price change depending on which one you choose.
- Standard Sew On: It has no plastic backing. It is just the plain fabric and thread showing. This is the cheapest and most popular option.
- Iron-On: This one has a plastic backing on the back that can be easily melted with an iron and be stuck onto the desired apparel or accessory. You can still sew it down afterwards for double the hold. Iron-On’s tend to be the second most popular option.
- Plastic: It is pretty much what it says- plastic backing. It is similar to the Iron-On, minus that is cannot be adhered. Its main purpose is to increase the patch’s durability. Say you’re a scuba diver and you want a patch for your suit. This would be your option.
- Velcro: Another popular option. This allows the patch to be removed and applied to clothing multiple times. Ever seen a flight jacket? Most of them have patches for the name tags that are attached with Velcro.
- Peel and Stick: This is exactly as it sounds. It’s a sticker and patch combined into one.
- Button Loop: A versatile option. A loop is attached to the back of the patch near the top. This allows you to hang it on a shirt or wherever else you think is appropriate.
And that’s it! The process isn’t so bad now is it? There really is not too much you need to do. It would only be hard if you were the one having to make the actual patches. But, thanks to technology, you don’t have to. So take a moment to breathe and get back to what you really should be doing. That company party won’t plan itself.