Embroidered or Woven Patches? The Choice is Yours

Embroidered or Woven Patches? The Choice is Yours

Published Jun 17, 2022 by Rick Cundiff

When you’re shopping for custom patches, you have multiple options to craft the best patch for your needs. The selection of an embroidered or woven patch is one of the most basic, and can really affect how your finished design will look.

Which is best? That mostly depends on your design. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on what you need.

Both can make durable, attractive patches, in any size or shape you want, in a wide range of colors. Either can have iron-on, Velcro®, or adhesive backing to suit your attachment needs.

Beyond those common points, they have different pros and cons. Let’s start with embroidered patches.

Embroidered patches are the most common style, and what most people think of as a classic look. We create your design by embroidering thread onto a twill backing material. The twill may be partially or completely covered by the thread, depending on the detail and size of your design.

These patches use a thicker thread and have a three-dimensional thickness that raises the design above the garment it’s attached to. They typically have either a hot-cut (flat) or “merrowed” (sewn and raised) border. They are particularly popular for law enforcement, fire and EMS department patches. The design on them is more easily identifiable at a distance.

Embroidered patches are best for designs that are relatively simple, with few fine details. The necessary thickness of the thread can make excessive detail muddy and text illegible, especially at smaller sizes.

Woven patches use a thinner thread, and don’t have a twill backing. The weaving process interlaces the threads to create the design. This style lends itself well to intricate detail and smaller text. For a given size, they can be significantly more detailed than an embroidered patch.

The tight weave of the thread creates clean lines and a flat appearance with a smooth finish. It looks more like a printed image than an embroidered patch. Woven patches are available with either a hot-cut or a merrowed border, which can give the patch more of a dimensional appearance.

As noted above, either patch style can be right for your specific needs. It’s mainly a question of size and detail. If you want a fully three-dimensional patch, limit the level of detail and increase the size of your design. 

For high-resolution, extensive detail and/or small patches, woven is generally the best way to go. Done properly, woven patches can nearly match the realistic detail level of printed or PVC patches (which are a topic for another time.)