Looks like you’ve been looking around at various suppliers of woven and embroidered patches. Maybe you have a particular kind of patch that you are looking for, or perhaps you want to understand the differences between the two types of patches.
Each patch type is unique. Both have their own special characteristics, and though their use is similar, the physical differences and the manufacturing process is very different and makes them worth a comparison.
This blog will break down the differences between woven patches and embroidered patches, so you can see what is best for your upcoming project.
Woven patches are clothing accessories or embellishments that are made by weaving threads of different colors to create a custom design. The two threads that are interlaced and overlapped together are called weft (vertical) thread and warp (horizontal) thread.
What is an Embroidered Patch?
Embroidered patches are clothing accessories or embellishments that are made by stitching threads of different color on a fabric to create a custom design.
Both patch types serve a similar function as clothing accessories. They are used to embellish shirts, jackets, bags, and other accessories and are used for various purposes like morale, tactical, scouting, sports, logo branding, uniform identification etc.
Despite the similarities, woven and embroidered patches also have some key differences that you should know before you order your custom made patches.
The Manufacturing Process
When making a custom embroidered patch, you need a fabric like polyester twill, felt or nylon to embroider the design on, this piece of fabric is the base material of the patch. The base material is loaded in to embroidery machine and threads are arranged accordingly for the machine to stitch onto the base material.
Custom woven patches, however, do not need a base fabric. Instead, the weft and warp threads are weaved and overlapped create multiple intersections. The amount of threads and the amount of intersections is an indicator of weaving quality, the higher the better. The more thread count and intersections you have the more strong and detailed your woven patch will be. Thread count can be anywhere between 250 to 550 per square inch and intersections can be anywhere between 8,500 to 18,000 per square inch.
While both embroidered and woven patches can be classified as textile accessories and products, the manufacturing process is different.
Embroidered patches use thicker rayon or polyester thread. Using these threads it creates a patch that has 3D and textured finish. However, when the stitches are used to form very complex designs with thin details the overall results can be very unordered and messy, so it is better to simplify the artwork accordingly.
On the contrary, the material of custom woven patches can be satin, damask or polyester. Satin and damask threads are thinner and finer which is great for richer detailing and smaller lettering. It creates a clean, crisp look on a patch.
Design is the most important factor when choosing between woven or embroidered patch types. You need to choose the right patch type according to the design and details of your logo or artwork.
You’ll want to ensure that your design elements are thick and bold enough. All your design elements should be greater than the stitch length of the embroidery machine so that each design element is covered by the stitches, as stitching in the embroidered patch will not bring out the minor details in your work. The thicker threads may not be able to display the details you want.
Unlike embroidered patches, woven patches have thinner threads and threads are weaved with each other. More complex designs with thin details can be achieved by the making patches on a high Threads Per Inch (TPI) machine. Higher the TPI the more detailed the patch will be. A higher TPI also means that the patch will be tough.
Due to the polyester twill base, stitching of threads and the use of backings, embroidered patches are thicker than woven patches and look very good on hats, shirts, jackets, backpacks and jeans. Embroidered patches are bolder, and much more vibrant than woven patches. The only drawback is the inability to achieve desired results for overly complex and detailed designs that include real life depictions, shades, gradients and very small and thin letters and outlines.
With woven patches, the material is thinner and no base fabric is required hence woven patches are light weight, making them versatile and flexible to go on inside and outside of any clothing. Woven patches without any attachment backing can also be used as labels. With the weaving technique that is used to make woven patches it is possible to achieve the desired results for overly complex designs as well.
You can easily iron on woven and embroidered patches to shirts, jackets, hats and other articles.
Custom embroidered patches have a classic textured design, with raised thread and a 3D look. These patches have a classic, traditional style that also happens to be the most popular patch type to customize. Adding merrow borders and stitched borders is possible.
A custom woven patch is flat, has a smooth surface, and no raised textures. Adding merrow borders is possible to keep the patches from fraying from the edges. A stitched border cannot be made on the edges of a woven patch as the material is very thin to sustain and grasp the stitches.
Embroidered patches are three-dimensional. This feature adds unique depth and visual appeal to a patch in an eye-catching way.
Because it’s only one-dimensional, woven patches can’t achieve that classic, three-dimensional look like the embroidered patch.
Materials for embroidered products are costlier. Twill fabric and threads add to the costs. Small single head machines also add to the cost as one can only make 1-4 patches at a time on these machines, depending on the size of the patch.
Multiple head embroidery machines is a huge investment but saves time and is very valuable for saving costs on large quantities as 1-10 patches on one head with 10 heads available without the machine stopping for a repeat setup. Multi head embroidery machines can manufacture up to 200 patches in an hour. But still the price of embroidered patches will always be higher than woven patches when compared with similar quantities.
The materials for custom woven patches are typically economical and not expensive than embroidered patches unless you want real silk to be weaved together to create your patches.
A single weaving machine can weave unlimited patches depending on the thread length that is loaded on to the machine.
Large orders of 1000 patches that are 4 inch in size and more can be handled by a single machine as multiple 4 inch patches can be weaved in rows and columns. Hence the cost of making woven patches is low. You can check out our pricing page for more details.
The production time required to make both types of patches is the same. We have both multi head embroidery machines and multiple weaving machines to manufacture your patches on time. The normal turnaround time is 12-14 days. Rush orders are accepted. Please ask your sales representative if you need to rush an order.
Durability is something that everyone is concerned about. When compared carefully, both woven and embroidered patches are durable and high quality because of reliable and time testing manufacturing processes of weaving and embroidery.
Durability is always dependent on the whole process that is adapted to create the patches, which includes designing, digitizing, raw material, cutting, stitching borders and attaching backings.
Applications for both patch types vary. Embroidered patches are used in casual fashion clothing like t-shirts and hats. Embroidered patches are also used on uniforms.
Woven patches are mostly used on formal clothing and as branding labels and labels for washing instructions that you see on the in-side of your clothes.
If you are looking to make a patch for a shirt, hat, backpack, uniform, or jacket embroidered patches are your choice, depending that you don’t have an overly complex design and you are willing to shed some details if your design is overly complex.
If your design is overly complex and you want to retain the maximum details on that design then you have no other option but to switch over to woven patches.
The best patch option for your next project will depend on your specific project and desired aesthetic. The differences detailed in this guide should help you determine exactly what the benefits of each option might be.