Embroidered Patches 

The Fashion History Of Embroidered Patches 

Friday 17th Jun 2022 |

Embroidered patches have come a long way to get to the product that we are familiar with now. What was once a timely and expensive craft, has developed into an affordable, high-quality product that is accessible for all.

Whether you’re looking to create embroidered patches for a team or uniform, there is something suitable for everyone. Read on to find out more about how embroidery has changed and adapted to our needs over time.  

Military use  

In the past, before we started using patches for fashion, they were used by military personnel as a way of identification and were used to convey various positions, traits, and values within the ranks. They were first adopted by Military units in the United States and could be found on uniforms of soldiers that fought in the Mexican and Civil Wars. These patches weren’t just limited to the Army, they were regularly used within the Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.  

Nowadays, there are various regulations on how embroidered patches are displayed, and when they can be worn. Patches tend to be worn on the upper left arm but can be moved if the shoulders of the uniform are covered. The US military also protects their patches and designs, they are certified by the Institute of Heraldry – which is the institute that decides when and where they are worn.  


Patches have a rich history and have been used for thousands of years by various cultures all over the world. Most notably, they were used in China, India, South America, and the Mediterranean. They were used mainly in China as people needed to mend garments, and so started to create various sewing techniques that could help them mend and patch fabrics. This is where early embroidery started to take shape and over the years following, other cultures followed the Chinese people’s lead and started embroidering clothes and tapestries in their own unique way.  

As there were no machines to create such embroidery or to mend and fix clothes, people had to embroider by hand – which was time-consuming! Embroidery was common amongst Royalty and was a sign that someone was very wealthy and powerful. Embroidered items became popular amongst those that were well off in society because they were the only people that could afford these items! They were created by talented Artisans across the globe and took a long time to craft.  

Embroidery machines  

As a way of speeding this timely process of embroidery up, machines that could do the same job for us had to be created. The industrial revolution had a huge impact on the creation of the embroidery machine, although it did take a little while for them to be mastered. In the 20th Century, the need for embroidery was no longer confined to Royal and Military quarters, the process and production had now been sped up and meant that patches dropped considerably in price which meant more of us had access to them. These machines were developed by taking inspiration from the sewing machine which was already widely used and meant that production times could be sped up.  

These days, embroidery machines use digitalised patterns to create embroidery, with high levels of intricate detail. They have developed from this first model, to be able to mass-produce customised embroidered patches that can be used for businesses, sports teams, and uniforms.  

Modern patches  

Embroidered patches have changed a lot since their beginnings as military identification and embroidery on garments solely for the rich. We now have access to patches in all shapes, colours, materials, and types, which can be used in many industries.  

We can design our very own bespoke patches online for school uniforms, sports teams, clubs, charities, and events. We can use them as identification, a fashion statement or as a way of marketing and promotion. They can be ordered in bulk; they are cost-effective and are produced to a high quality. There is something to suit everyone, so if you need a striking, bold, and colourful addition to your clothes or accessories, an embroidered patch could be the perfect solution for you.  

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