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How To Use Patches On Uniforms

Many occupations, professions and businesses require wearing a uniform. Some of the more popular include the military, firefighters, law enforcement, restaurants, nurses, pilots, security companies, hotels and many more. As part of a professional dress code, uniforms can be distinguished by using patches, be placed in the right location, and be attached using the correct attachment method. 

Designing and creating custom patches for uniforms is an essential practice, because patches on uniforms can identify the person wearing the uniform and can display their association.

Popular Patch Types For Uniforms

Below are the three types of patches most commonly used for creating custom uniform patches. All come with their own unique benefits.


Embroidered patches offer a professional image and for that reason are often used to display one’s name, unit, rank, position, etc. Embroidery patches come in many shapes and sizes, are extremely durable, and very cost-effective. One of the most popular way to add patches on uniforms is to customize embroidered patches with your logo.


PVC patches are extremely durable because they are made from a plastic that feels like rubber. PVC patches are durable against water, cold, and heat. Manufacturing custom pvc patches for uniforms makes it easy to add lots of detail and will last for many years.


Woven patches allow more fine details to be added due to the warp and weft method as compared to embroidered patches which are made using the stitch technique. Making custom woven patches is the best choice for designs that have a lot of text as the words will look clean and crisp.

Where Should Patches Be Placed?

There are four main patch locations when attaching patches on uniforms. When it comes to where custom uniform patches should be placed it simply depends on the type of uniform one is wearing.

Left Chest 

Military personnel wear special skills badges on their upper left chest. The majority of professionals who wear uniforms will wear their custom name patches on the left side of their chest.

Right Chest

Firefighters wear their custom patches showing their last name and rank on their right chest. Honor patches are also attached to the right chest of martial arts uniforms.


Shoulder patches are especially common in the military and law enforcement. Military unit patches are worn on the left shoulder and military badge of honor patches are worn on the right shoulder. Law enforcement shoulder patches must be worn on the left sleeve only.


Custom patches for hats are becoming increasingly popular for uniform wear. Police hats and military hats are the two more common types of hats that can easily be personalized to make a complete uniform.  

Attachment Options

There are three main attachment methods available when attaching custom patches to certain places on a uniform.


Sewing on a custom patch using a needle and strong thread directly to a garment is best when looking for a permanent attachment option. This sew-on attachment option is highly recommended for those who wear custom uniform patches regularly.


Ironing on a custom patch is both easy and fast. An iron is used to melt the sticky adhesive on the back of the patch, firmly securing the patch into place. The iron-on attachment option is for temporary use as it will stay attached to the garment for about 25 washes.


Velcro uses a hook-and-loop fastener system, making it ideal for patches that need to be removed and reapplied as needed. The Velcro attachment option is the best choice for uniforms that require new patches often or uniforms that get washed a lot.