Don’t Need “Snowpocalypse” To Create Your Own Embroidered Patch

Here at The Chicago Embroidery Company in the Windy City, we know a thing or two about snow.  But while we just finished the least snowy January here in 117 years, we also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the city’s largest ever snowstorm, 23 inches on Jan. 25-26, 1967.

Our friends in Boise, Idaho, have been deluged with the white stuff this year, and have the right idea, commemorating the event with this cool Snowpocalypse embroidered patch.snow1

This story, written by Katy Moeller of the Idaho Statesman, tells how the idea for a special patch came about.  The woman who designed the emblem, Chrysa Rich, is selling the patches, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity.

Don’t have an epic snowstorm in your area?  You can commmemorate ANY special event or occasion with a unique embroidered patch.  Here at The Chicago Embroidery Company, we’ve helped customers create patches for birthdays, weddings, golf outings, bike rides and many other events.  Send us your design, even in rough form, and our art department can help you produce an embroidered masterpiece for less than you may expect.  Contact us at, visit our website, , or call 312/664-4232.



Taking Embroidered Emblems Off Your Clothes?

We were amused by  Khadeeja Safdar’s recent story in the Wall St. Journal about consumers removing logos from their branded sportswear.  Seems like a lot of work, why not just cover up the obnoxious company logo with a cool embroidered patch?

Crocodiles (and Polo Ponies) Go Missing as Scalpel-Wielding Consumers Revolt

Since its debut in 1926, the Lacoste crocodile has adorned polo shirts on everyone from the brand’s tennis-star founder to President John F. Kennedy.

Yet you won’t likely find one on Max Ilich. The 47-year-old consultant has extracted the iconic reptilian from at least 10 of his Lacoste shirts. “It’s a tricky surgery,” he said. “But I was pleased with the results.”

Mr. Ilich, who lives in Hampton, N.H., borrowed a scalpel from an ex-girlfriend, a surgeon, to cut out the embroidered crocodile without tearing through the fabric. Then he washed the shirts about four times to hide his work.

He wears Lacoste shirts because of their quality but finds logos “pretentious,” he said, and resents being used as a marketing platform.

“Why would I do someone else’s advertising for free?” Mr. Ilich said.

A branding backlash has some people working hard to remove logos and names from their clothes and accessories. Blogs and online discussion forums offer tips on scratching off the Ray-Ban logo from lenses, peeling away the Ralph Lauren emblem from new pairs of leather shoes and using a felt-tip marker to hide the Under Armour symbol on sports gear.

For embroidered logos, some brand-phobics use a seam ripper—a small tool for unpicking stitches—but the method is time consuming. Each thread has to be pulled out carefully to keep the underlying fabric pristine.

Vinyl logos attached to sportswear are particularly challenging. Some people have tried to dissolve them with nail polish remover. Others just wear the garments inside out.

“This isn’t a trend we’re seeing with Ray-Ban,” said a spokesperson with Luxottica, the company that owns the brand. Ralph Lauren and Under Armour declined to comment.

In the 1990s and 2000s, consumers flashed brand names with pride. Some shoppers now, though, shun such uniformity and prefer unlabeled clothing, which has prompted a few logo-heavy brands to shift course.

“Nobody wants to be branded anymore,” said Aaron Levine, head designer for Abercrombie & Fitch.

Gabrielle Gutierrez, 33 years old, said Abercrombie shirts were an ideal fit, but she didn’t want to display the brand’s moose insignia. “It was a bit of a dilemma,” said the neuroscientist, who lives in Seattle.

Ms. Gutierrez said she learned one way to “de-Abercrombie-ify” her shirts. She bought iron-on patches from the clearance bin at a Jo-Ann fabric store to cover the Abercrombie moose. Her shirts now have eyeballs, smiley faces and palm trees, a style she described as “personalized and subversive.”

Abercrombie recently launched a marketing campaign and changed its logo to cultivate a new image for its clothing line, after its highly sexualized branding began to alienate too many buyers.

Ms. Gutierrez hasn’t revisited an Abercrombie store since the change. She stopped shopping there because the logo kept getting “bigger and bigger,” she said. “It became impossible to cover.”

Research shows that midtier brands often have the loudest logos because their buyers want to signal wealth. Seasoned luxury shoppers may prefer more subtle branding.

“People in the know can recognize a high-end brand from the little things such as the stitching,” said Barbara Kahn, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, who dismissed logo removal as “ludicrous.”

Discerning shoppers who can identify a Brooks Brothers shirt from the six-pleat shirring at the cuffs or an Alden loafer from its distinctive stitching are “part of your tribe,” said Jerrod Swanton, age 37, of Springfield, Ohio.

eyeball-patch-afGabrielle Gutierrez used an eyeball patch to cover the Abercrombie & Fitch logo on a shirt. PHOTO: GABRIELLE GUTIERREZ

He writes a clothes blog called Oxford Cloth Button Down and said he prefers not to advertise how much he spends on clothing or where he shops. “It is becoming more and more challenging to find articles of clothing without the logos,” Mr. Swanton said.

He and several of his blog readers shared their disapproval, for example, when Brooks Brothers added a logo to one of its classic sweaters.

“Some styles come with logo and others without,” said Arthur Wayne, a spokesman for Brooks Brothers. “We leave it to the customer to decide.”

Lacoste was a pioneer in logo-branded clothing. By the 1980s, its shirts had become staples of preppy wardrobes, and its tiny green crocodiles seemed to spawn Ralph Lauren ponies, Tommy Bahama marlins and Abercrombie’s moose.

Professional tennis player Rene Lacoste was nicknamed “The Crocodile” after he won an alligator-skin suitcase in a wager with the French Davis Cup captain, the company said, and the logo first appeared on his blazer.


French tennis player Rene Lacoste wearing a blazer embroidered with a crocodile motif. PHOTO: TOPICAL PRESS AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES

Nothing personal, Mr. Ilich said, but he just doesn’t want it showing on his Lacoste shirts.

Lacoste said no executive was available to comment.

Jeff Taxdahl, owner of Thread Logic, a custom logo embroidery company based in Minneapolis, has a warning for logo tamperers. “Unless you’re fairly skilled at it, you would destroy the shirt,” he said. “And once you get the threads out, the outline of the image may still exist due to the needle holes.”

That is a risk some shoppers are willing to take. Ian Connel, 33 years old, who lives near St. Paul, Minn., said he tried it out on an Abercrombie shirt.

“I don’t want to be seen in their stores, let alone wear the moose,” he said, though he likes the brand’s snug fit.

He turned the shirt inside out and painstakingly removed each thread. “It has a few small holes,” he said, “but it’s still better than having the logo.”

* * * *

The Chicago Embroidery Company, in business since 1890, can help clothing manufacturers and others create distinctive emblems that consumer will want to wear, not scrape off.  Visit them at , , or call 312/664-4232.

From Alia Bhatt to Parineeti Chopra: How celebs are wearing the ’90s embroidered patch

This originally appeared in Indian Express, showing the embroidered patch as a world-wide fashion phenomena!

If you are a follower of trends, then you probably know by now how fashionistas around the world have rekindled their romance with the ’90s. We are nearing the end of 2016 but crop tops are still big and so are chokers. Another trend which has managed to make waves is the embroidered patch. Considered as an emblem of one’s individuality, this trend which initially started as a DIY tip is still preferred to give a quirky and youthful spin to an otherwise sombre look.

Considering how updated young style icons of Bollywood are, it’s not surprising to see them embracing this trend. Lead by the bubbly and vivacious Alia Bhatt, other celebs like Parineeti Chopra, Esha Gupta and Amy Jackson are following suit. Here’s a look at how they rocked the trend.

indian-jacqueline-fernandez21Jacqueline Fernandez in Ikai by Ragini Ahuja. (Source: Varinder Chawla)

Denim-on-denim is not an easy combination to pull off but Jacqueline Fernandez did more than well with the wide leg trousers, a denim crop top and a beautiful denim duster jacket with whimsical patches. She picked this look from Ikai by Ragini Ahuja.

indian-alia2-bhatAlia Bhatt in a cute patchwork dress. (Source: Varinder Chawla)

Alia Bhatt has been seen flaunting applique patches on her jackets, crop tops and shorts on several occasions. Here, the actress is seen in a comfy denim dress to beat travel blues.

indian-esha-1-ghuptaEsha Gupta shows us how to look sexy in denim patchwork shirt. (Source; Instagram/Sanjana Batra)

Esha Gupta gave us a masterclass on how to look chic by teaming a patchwork shirt with a pencil skirt. Perfect for a casual evening or even, a lunch meeting!

indian-amy1-jacksonAmy Jackson rocks an embroidered patch denim from Koovs. (Source: Instagram/Amy Jackson)

Amy Jackson was seen working really, really hard on her street style and we can easily say that she has taken it to the next level! The red bomber jacket from Adidas looks so good with those quirky denims from Koovs. Maybe, because that patch-work jeans is a thing of beauty but still, she wore it well.

At The Chicago Embroidery Company, we can help you create quantities of patches in your own custom designs.  Visit our website at, send your image to or call us at 312/664-4232.

Aviator “Wings” Emblem Began As Embroidered Patch


These wings date from WWII

The awarding of a wings emblem to newly trained pilots dates back to  the World War I era.  Pilot Billy Mitchell tried numerous times to be sent overseas to join the fight. He worked on some sketches for a new aviator insignia


This metallic badge was presented to newly trained pilots.

that sought to break away from the Army’s badge heritage. In August 1917, his design was incorporated into an embroidered patch — pilot wings were born. Mitchell finally managed to get assigned to a unit in Europe. Unfortunately, he


These are early squadron patches from the U.S. Army Air Corps, circa 1920

arrived in theater on Nov. 11, 1918— the same day as the signing of the armistice agreement that signaled the end of the war. He oversaw the demobilization of aviation units with the help of his new executive officer, Captain Carl A. Spaatz.

In World War II, the shoulder sleeve insignia worn by all personnel of the Army Air Forces (AAF) wherever stationed was approved on 23 February 1942. The patch was designed by Mr. James T. Rawls, an artist and a member of General Arnold’s staff. He made many designs, most incorporating pilot wings, but Arnold rejected them all. Rawls, dejected byavia-080311-f-1234p-001 his lack of success, was shown a picture of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill giving his well-known “V for Victory” sign. Rawls made a quick sketch bending the wings up, and Arnold said, “That’s just what I wanted.” Arnold, incidentally, is said to have designed the first Air Force pilot wings in 1917 when he was a major.

In March 1943, shoulder sleeve insignia were authorized for each overseas air force, and the winged star was limited to those AAF personnel not in overseas commands.

On June 25, 1943, personnel in all air forces, including those in the United States, were authorized distinctive insignia, and only Headquarters AAF and a few other independent commands continued to wear the winged star. It is sometimes known as the Hap Arnold emblem, named for General Henry H. Arnold who commanded the AAF in World War II.

The ultramarine disk represents the medium in which the Air Forces operated, and the white star with red disk was the identifying symbol of U.S. Army and Navy airplanes since 1921. (The red disk was removed from aircraft markings in 1942 to prevent confusion with Japanese insignia.) The golden wings symbolize victorious operation.

Although the patch is no longer worn on Air Force uniforms, the design appears on U.S. Air Force uniform buttons.

Founded in 1890, The Chicago Chicago Embroidery Company made millions of insignia for the military during World War II.  Today, we continue to do custom embroidery work for the government, veterans groups, associations, youth sports and more.  Check out our website, contact us at or call 312/644-4232.

Hoist A Mug To Beer Embroidered Patches

A fermented beverage with history dating back to the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians, beer is seeing a renaissance here in the U.S.A.  Thousands of small brewers have opened their doors in the past few years, and what better way to promote your product than embroidered patches.  There are more breweries in the U.S. today than ever before.

These emblems are used by both small craft brewers and large established brands to increase the visibility of their beer.  Worn by delivery truck drivers, bartenders and many others in the brewing industry, embroidered patches on hats, shirts and just about anything else are a fun way to showcase your product.

The Chicago Embroidery Company has made many beer patches over the years and we can help your brand stand out from the crowd with a high-quality embroidered emblem.  Send us your designs or we can help you create a memorable, lasting image.  Contact us at or call 312/644-4232.  Visit our website, and submit your design for a free embroidered patch estimate.


Playful [Embroidered] Patches Created by Friends

Here at The Chicago Embroidery Company, we’re excited that the fashion patch craze shows no signs of abating, as evidenced by this recent Huffington Post piece , a profile of a Swedish band sporting patches on their denim and an Aimee Farrell story from last month’s NY Times Style Magazine:

Fashion 1  “Patches have always been symbols of identity,” says the illustrator Christabel MacGreevy. “They’re a way of marking allegiance and signing up to something, whether it’s your school, the band you like or a 1970s motorcycle gang.” MacGreevy, 25, is herself outfitted in patches on a recent morning in London: her black jeans are worn with a baseball vest that has the word ‘chic’ stitched onto the front. She is discussing the ethos behind Itchy Scratchy Patchy, the playful line of decorative patches — and now clothing — that she co-founded with her lifelong friend, the British model Edie Campbell, a year ago. Decorated with brightly stitched marigolds, toadstools, centipedes and sumo wrestlers, her leather biker jacket, which is nonchalantly slung over the back of a chair, is a vivid scrapbook of the brand’s embroidered iron-ons, which have become popular with Courtney Love and Gigi Hadid.

For today, the elegant kitchen belonging to Campbell’s mother, the fashion stylist turned architect Sophie Hicks, doubles as the Itchy Scratchy HQ. The minimal space’s white walls embroidered-patches-19-1200x800serve as a counterpoint to the irreverent aesthetic of the brand — which began on a whim, and without outside investment, as an antidote to the samey, normcore looks that have become so dominant. The marble-topped kitchen table is littered with laptops, phones and safety pins, all the accoutrements of their self-described cottage industry. Even Campbell’s nearby West London apartment has become a makeshift storage unit for the pair’s latest project: An 85-piece clothing collection of vintage Levi’s denim and Sunspel T-shirts, all lovingly embroidered, patched and painted in their inimitable decorative style, which goes on sale this weekend at London’s Dover Street Market. It’s the first time the pair have ever produced a capsule of clothes bearing their own iron-on designs — as a way to show how Itchy Scratchy patches can be worn and styled.

MacGreevy and Campbell first met as children at St Paul’s School in Barnes — and whether they’re scaling fashionAmountains of fabric at recycling plants in search of the perfect Levi’s jean jacket or touring the meticulous T-shirt production line at Sunspel’s factory in the north of England, a youthful energy pervades everything they do. For the last two months, they have been embellishing the pieces they hand-sourced — including Levi’s jeans from the 1980s and 1990s, denim jackets and plenty of reworked monochrome Sunspel tees. Picking the pieces, Campbell says, was simple: “If we wouldn’t wear it ourselves, it doesn’t get made.” She continues: “We’ve both studied the visual arts, so we’re decisive and confident about what we like. We know what works, even if we don’t know why. It’s not like we’re trying to push the future of fashion forward — this is about having fun.”

Campbell’s experience inside the industry (she was first discovered by the photographer Mario Testino a decade ago) allows her an innate understanding of fashion that comes in handy when shooting the collections, though she’s the first to admit that styling clothes is very different from designingfashion monki-denim-aw16-8 and producing them. “There’s no database, it’s a case of calling everyone you know and saying ‘help!’” says Campbell. She credits the British designer Henry Holland with helping to make Itchy Scratchy happen. “He let us sit in on a production meeting at his factory where we produced our first patches. We may never have done it without him.”

This week, between taking the Eurostar to Paris, where she opened and closed Chanel’s fall couture show, Campbell could be found in MacGreevy’s Camberwell studio sorting out logistics and stitching on labels (every piece is sewn with its own edition number, she says, proudly). Luckily, and somewhat unusually in fashion, they’re both early risers: “If I haven’t had a text from Edie by 7 a.m., it feels weird,” jokes MacGreevy, the originator of the brand’s trademark cartoony figures, who studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. At times of stress, MacGreevy often finds herself furiously pinning and cutting things out. Campbell takes a different tack, seeking solace in more surprising quarters: Excel spreadsheets. “I love them!” she says, her voice raising an octave. “When everything starts getting out of control, I find it soothing.”  Itchy Scratchy Patchy, $85-$325, launches at Dover Street Market July 9,

But don’t fret fashionistas, you can create a contemporary look for your line for much less than you might imagine.  The Chicago Embroidery Company sews custom embroidered emblems, based on your design. Send image for free quote., or call 312/664-4232.  NOTE: Individual patches are not sold, the company manufactures emblems in quantity.

Function to Fashion, It’s Embroidered Patches

Realize we covered this last month, but the embroidered patch is more than a fad, it’s become a full-blown fashion TREND.

This story originally appeared on :


From the streets of SoHo to the runways in Paris, embroidered patches are undeniably having a moment in today’s fashion world. Given the boom of fast-fashion and mass produced garments, consumers are seeking new ways to stand out—and that desire has paved the way for this generation of up-and-coming designers to re-energize the once-stagnant world of patches.

embroidered-patches-2-1200x800Even Alessandro Michele and the iconic fashion house Gucci have incorporated embroidered motifs in recent seasons—most noticeably in a standout collection that has caught the eyes of fashionable dudes like A$AP Rocky and 2 Chainz, and produced what could be the jacket of the year. However, patches weren’t always intended to take your outfit to the next level. In fact, it took years for the humble patch to evolve from utility to accessory.

The United States military began mass-producing official division patches in the early 19th century. Shortly after, the rest of the country followed suit. Everyone was getting in on the action: factory workers, delivery men,embroidered-patches-9-960x640 police and fire departments—you name it. The patch soon became an everyday occurrence in American culture. While it was originally an icon of the working class, the embroidered look would eventually find a new home within the counterculture.

Patches were everywhere the mainstream wasn’t: the rise of biker culture in the ’60s, the hippie movement of the ’70s, the birth of punk rock in the ’80s. The embroidered patch was a staple within each of these worlds. It symbolized individualism and a rebellious spirit, and was a way of showing you didn’t conform to society’s standards.

embroidered-patches-10You wore your heart on your sleeve—literally. The patch would have a steady presence in the aesthetic of the underground for decades to come before making its way into the mainstream fashion. But, before we explore what’s happening in patches today, let’s take a step back and explore where it all started.

The exact origins of embroidery aren’t crystal clear but it’s estimated to have first appeared in ancient China, way back in the 3rd century BC. The process was originally used to serve a functional purpose—to patch and mend clothing.

As time went on, some creative seamstresses decided to step up their embroidery game and evolve the form to a means of decorative expression. Once that happened, embroidery would slowly make its way all over the globe.

As the craft reached different cultures, it changed from a way to personalize clothing and transformed into art that proudly hung in the wealthy homes. The designs would eventually become smaller, more intricate and start to resemble what we now recognize as the modern embroidered patch.embroidered-patches-19-1200x800.jpg

Back then, all patches were created by hand—a painstakingly slow process, to say the least. First, the main fabric was cut to shape and heat-sealed to prevent fraying. Then, the design was stitched into place with thread. While relatively simple, it was still extremely time consuming.

The big turning point in embroidery came during the Industrial Revolution. In 1863, a Swiss inventor by the name of Isaac Gröbli changed the game with the Schiffi (sic ) embroidery machine. While the technology and materials used to create modern machines has improved since then, the process remains virtually the same.

Armed with slick new machinery, the reach of the embroidered patch would soon explode—and eventually lead us to the new class of designers and brands currently keeping the patch dream alive.

embroidered-patches-1The resurgence of the patch is pretty diverse. At one end you have those who have made it their side hustle, releasing goods when they find the time while other designers have made the craft their livelihood. Maurice Blanco is a perfect example of the former. Blanco pays the bills as a designer for streetwear label Mishka and runs Tough Times Press with his girlfriend Danielle during nights and weekends.

The duo definitely knows how to tap into pop-culture, a common theme in the recent boom of patches and pins. Early on they combined The Misfits’ iconic The Crimson Ghost skull with Raphael of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the design took off. Then came a Wu-Tang x Hello Kitty mash-up and “Peace To All My Haters” patch, which slowly turned their fun project into a fledgling brand.

“This is totally just something on the side I do for now,” Blanco told Highsnobiety, “But it will hopefully become a full time thing.” That’s part of the beauty of patches and accessories: They’re relatively inexpensive to produce, which means young designers can experiment with new ideas without a huge monetary risk at their own pace.embroidered-patches-14-1200x800

Ball & Chain Co. is a perfect example of a fully-formed brand who was birthed by the patch. The label, who has since expanded their offering to include flags, pins and a full cut ‘n sew program, has amassed over 57 thousand followers on Instagram and nabbed features in the likes of Vogue and Interview—just in their first year.

After starting the company with only a single patch design (it was “just a rose that said Fuck Forever,” notes founder Thomas Woodie) the brand is now shipping over a 1,000 orders a week with no signs of slowing down.

Ball & Chain Co. quickly grew from a small side project to a full-time gig once the internet discovered the brand’s sharp wit and provocative style. It’s not just brands like Ball & Chain Co and Tough Times Press, even designer labels have jumped on the trend.

Revered brands like OFF-WHITE c/o Virgil Abloh and Tim Coppens have embraced the patch as part of their “downtown cool meets high-end” vibe, using embroidered patchesPatch1 throughout recent collections. Designer Anya Hindmarch has built an accessories empire (generating close to $60M USD in annual revenue) based off her quirky embossed and embroidered style.

The Spring 2017 collection from Ovadia & Sons featured a number pieces with elaborate embellishments, including a standout rose embroidered souvenir jacket. Perhaps the most visible adoption of the look in the high-fashion world has been from Alessandro Michele and Gucci. The emerging creative director created a collection of silk bombers, denim jackets and accessories featuring a variety of embroidered snakes, tigers and flowers.

Then, like any luxury designer aesthetic that really hits, it was blatantly ripped off by global retail giant Topman.

Don’t be mistaken by all the mainstream attention though—embroidered patches still, and will always, have their place in the outskirts of culture. You’ll still see metal heads pledging allegiance to underground bands and badass bikers representing their club via the classic patch.

But, for now, patches have become a reflection of the mainstream zeitgeist. Whether it’s referencing pop culture’s latest fad or the internet’s funniest meme, being on the pulse of what’s trending is often the way to go. ’90s nostalgia? Check. Crying Jordan face? You got it.

The ability to play off current cultural themes has opened the doors for designers and brands alike to find quick success by tapping into that popularity and adding a clever twist. In turn, this has allowed consumers to add the personal touch to their outfits that they craved.

It’s hard to tell if the influx of embroidered patches is just passing trend or here to stay, but the medium has certainly allowed an entire generation of designers and fashionable entrepreneurs alike to make name for themselves. And that’s not half bad, considering the patch used to be the furthest thing from fashion.

The Chicago Embroidery Company can help your fashion house or retail outlet patch up your new line with custom-made embroidered artistry.  Send us your ideas for a free quote,, or call us with questions, 312/664-4232.