How To Save Money on Embroidered Patches

The Chicago Embroidery Company has been in continuous business since 1890 and was one of the first commercial embroidery companies to manufacture patches starting in World War II. We’ve made a lot of patches since then, easily more than 400 million individual units, and we’ve learned a thing or two along the way on how to save money for our customers.
1. Think twice about how many patches you need and how many you can use until you need to order again.
a. Making a patch requires creating the digital pattern and setting up the machine to stitch the pattern. This process is essentially the same if you are making one patch or 100,000 patches. The difference is the set-up costs (labor) is spread out over the number of patches ordered so the more you order the set up cost is less per patch. Making one patch means you pay for the entire set up cost. Making 1,000 patches means your set up cost is divided over all the patches and is pretty low.
b. The more patches you order = lower cost per patch

2. What do you want the patches for? Can you simplify the design?
a. The cost of making a patch is tied to the amount of stitches required to make the design. If you can simplify the design so there is more background color and less stitches the lower the cost.
3. Can you get by with a smaller sized patch?
a. Generally speaking the larger the patch is the more stitches needed to make the design. Will a smaller size patch still do the job of a larger one? If so, consider using a smaller size patch instead of a large one.

4. Does your design use metallic “shiny” thread? If so, switch it for normal stock thread. The metallic “shiny” thread is usually mylar or other expensive material. The shiny thread may look nice but it adds cost to your patch.

5. What kind of backing do you have? Do you really need an iron-on back? If so, be prepared to pay a little more. The low-melt PVC plastic typically used for iron-on patches costs more than regular plastic backing. If you are really trying to shave some pennies off the price go with a mesh backing, not plastic.

Call our office 312/664-4232 or email: with any questions. We have been in business more more than 100 years and know how to help you save money for your custom patches.

Embroidered Patches Have Roots in Heraldry

Why do we wear embroidered patches?  The history and development of the embroidered patch is interesting, paralleling the development of military forces. 

Embroidered patches are a modern day extension of the development of heraldry, the profession, study, or art of creating and granting arms of rank or protocol, usually by the military and royal ancestry, that has its roots in thousands of years of tradition. 

In early Egypt, an emblem known as a serekh was used to indicate the extent of influence of a particular regime, sometimes carved on ivory labels. Army units of the Roman Empire were identified by the distinctive markings on their shields. These were not heraldic in the modern sense; they were associated with units, not individuals or families. 

In 1127, Henry I of England, when knighting Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou, hung a shield painted with golden lions around his neck. At Geoffrey’s funeral 30 years later, a blue shield emblazoned with gold lions was laid next to his body; this is the first recorded depiction of a coat of arms.

Soon coats of arms being used were across Europe and by the end of the century, heraldry appears as the sole device on seals.  The beginning of standardized imagery, known as heraldic cadency, was undertaken by Englishman John Writhe in the 15th century and is still used by British officers of arms in the modern day.

 “Heraldry” is an Anglo-Norman word and refers to the practice of designing, displaying, and recording coats of arms and badges. The origins of heraldry are practical; soldiers needed to know who was on their side and who the enemy was. With medieval warriors wearing dissimilar armor, helmets and full faceplates, everyone’s face is hidden and some sort of common marking was needed. Eventually a formal system developed of markings and officer ranks and royal or government symbols were included.  The expanded use of military uniforms was also part of this evolution.

 Over the centuries, this practice continued and today we often wear patches to identify what group we belong to, what our rank or specialty may be, and even our name.  Used not just by military, the embroidered patch has come a long way in over 2,000 years.

Learn more about embroidered patches from the Chicago Embroidery Company at


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