Create Typography Inspired By Embroidered Patches

THis is an aritcle written by Erica Larson for Adobe Create magazine: Though patches have been commonplace for decades, I’ve loved watching designers and illustrators take advantage of the medium’s recent surge in popularity. I’m particularly inspired by the work of Ben Goetting, who fuses his graphic design background with wonderfully irregular chain-stitch embroidery and a punk aesthetic. Listen to our interview with Goetting while you look at his work and follow a tutorial to make some of your own patch-ready type.

We don’t all have a vintage chain stitch machine, so I used Adobe Illustrator CC to compose typography around a graphic I created in Adobe Illustrator Draw, and then I gave the text the hand-drawn feel of the illustration.

patch jack 1

Step 1: In Illustrator, draw a circle with the ellipse tool. Choose the Type on a Path tool (underneath the Type tool), then click on your circle to add some placeholder text. Replace this with your own message, then center-align the text from the Control panel. If the text doesn’t land where you expect, don’t worry—we’re about to fix that.

Step 2: To position your message, press Esc to exit the text tool. Rotate the circle so the text is where you want it. You can also hold Shift while you rotate to snap the text to the top-center.

patch jack 2

Step 3: Now you can go wild with the typography. It’s helpful to apply your font first and then make the point size bigger. I used Brothers OT Bold from Typekit, adding letter spacing quickly by holding Option (Alt on Windows) and pressing the left and right arrow keys.

Patch jack 3

Step 4: If you’re really fancy and using a font with OpenType features, you can highlight individual letters to access alternate characters. Just click one of the alternates to swap it with the default. Then hug a type designer for the privilege of choosing from three different letter Q’s. (And discretionary ligatures! And swashes!)

Step 5: You can stop here, but I wanted to better unify the typography and the illustration. First I softened the corners of my text to match the round brush I used in the drawing. Zoom in on your type, and go to Effects > Stylize > Round Corners. Check the preview box, then experiment with the corner radius until you get something you like. I used a value of 0.03 inches, but settings will vary with the size of your art.

Step 6: For a handmade quality, go to Effects > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Check the preview box and the Smooth option, then play with the Size and Detail sliders until you get a subtle effect. When you zoom out again, you’ll see that the slight change does a lot to bring the text and image together.

Step 7: Almost done. If you want to send your artwork to a printer or manufacturer, right-click on the text and choose Create Outlines. This ensures they will see your design exactly as you intended it (and that you won’t get an angry email asking for a proper file). Outlining also means you can’t go back and edit the message, so save a live (un-outlined) version if you think you’ll change your mind.
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It doesn’t have to be complicated. Let the digital artists from The Chicago Embroidery Company help you design words (and pictures) that make your custom patch project sparkle.  Visit us at c-emblem.com , send your sketch to sales@c-emblem.com or call 312/664-4232.

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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, doverstreetmarket.com
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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.  sales@c-emblem.com, http://www.c-emblem.com or call 312/664-4232.  NOTE: Individual patches are not sold, the company manufactures emblems in quantity.