Articles on designing your own custom merch, growing your brand, and managing manufacturing as a small business.

The Origin of Custom Embroidered Patches

February 12, 2014

The Origin of Custom Embroidered Patches  

custom embroidered unicorn lion patch

In 2014 custom embroidered patches are everywhere, they are worn by police officers, firefighters, bikers , girl scouts and many more. Custom embroidered patches like all things,  have a place in history and a origin. To understand the evolution of embroidery and custom patches, we have to start from the beginning and we have to ask , who? what? when? and why? After answering these questions, we will have a greater appreciation for custom patches and we will start viewing them as what they truly are, ancient art.

Although we do not know the exact date that custom embroidered patches were first introduced, we do know that they were used thousands of years ago by the ancient cultures of China, India , the Mediterranean, and South America. They were used primarily for identification. Much like today, military personnel used embroidered patches as a tool of identity. Embroidered insignia’s could also be seen on the robes of royalty and other constituents, signifying their wealth and power. In fact, thousands of years ago only the very wealthy could afford embroidered emblems.

Custom embroidered patches were produced quite differently back then. Embroidery machines were not introduced until the 19th century and were not mastered until the 20th century. Before that embroidery was done by hand with a needle and thread. The industrial revolution would change embroidery forever. The price of embroidery would decrease drastically, making custom embroidered patches available to the masses.

Although patches have evolved over time, the purpose of a custom patch remains the same, to identify. The next time you see a custom patch, you will see the long history that accompanies it. Custom  embroidered patches will always have a place on a uniform and a place in history, they are embroidered artifacts from a special moment in time.


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