The Complete Guide to Custom Patches: What You Should Know About Your Options

Abbey Hagan
February 26, 2024

Custom patch decorations offer a versatile and visually appealing way to customize a variety of different products, adding unique and personalized touches to your garments. Whether applied to apparel, accessories, or promotional items, patches provide a distinct means of self-expression and branding. This makes them a great addition to a variety of apparel needs from company merchandise to high-end clothing brands. Keep on reading to learn how patches might be a great option for you!

Versatility is Key

Custom patch decorations come in an abundance of different shapes, sizes, and materials, allowing for creative freedom in design and branding. One of the key advantages to custom patches is their adaptability to different surfaces and materials. From embroidered patches that lend a classic and textured feel to sublimated patches for intricate and detailed designs, the options are diverse. Customization doesn't stop at the visual level either; patches can be made with various attachment methods, including sew-on, iron-on, or adhesive backing, ensuring compatibility with a wide range of products and fabrics. Custom patches for apparel also play a crucial role in fostering a sense of camaraderie among employees. Uniforms adorned with company patches create a sense of unity and pride, reinforcing a shared identity and commitment to a common goal. Corporate events and team-building activities often incorporate custom patches as tokens of recognition or achievement, further solidifying the connection between individuals and the organization they represent.

Application Methods

The adaptability of patch decorations is further enhanced by various attachment methods, each catering to one’s specific needs and preferences. Sewn-on patches provide a timeless and durable option, allowing for a secure and permanent attachment to fabrics and apparel. This method is particularly favorable for items like jackets, vests, and uniforms, where longevity and sturdiness are important. For a more convenient application, iron-on or heat-sealed patches have gained popularity as well. These patches come equipped with a heat-activated adhesive backing, enabling users to affix them to garments with a simple press of a hot iron or heat press. The ease of use makes these patches a popular choice for quick customization without the need for sewing skills or machinery. Similar to the iron-on patches, adhesive-backed patches offer yet another attachment method, allowing for a temporary or semi-permanent customization option. These patches are equipped with a peel-and-stick adhesive, making them ideal for items like laptops, notebooks, or promotional products where ease of application and ability to be removed are essential.

Modes of Expression

Patches have become more than mere decorative elements; they can be powerful tools for personal expression and identity. Individuals use patches to showcase their interests, affiliations, or accomplishments. From hobbyist groups displaying their shared passion through custom patches to individuals expressing their unique style, these decorations offer a tangible and wearable form of self-expression. The significance of patches in identity expression is perhaps most evident in the realm of sports. Team logos and mascots proudly displayed on jerseys become symbols of unity and shared purpose. Fans, too, embrace the power of patches, adorning their favorite team’s logos during sporting events or everyday outings. Beyond personal use, patches have found a significant place in corporate branding and promotional strategies. Custom patches featuring company logos, slogans, or specific imagery become powerful branding tools. Whether applied to employee uniforms, promotional merchandise, or corporate giveaways, these patches create a cohesive and recognizable visual identity for a business. This also helps to create a space for camaraderie amongst coworkers. Because of the tactile nature of patches, this often contributes to their effectiveness in branding. A well-designed and skillfully crafted patch can leave a lasting impression on customers and clients. The physicality of a patch adds a tangible and memorable aspect to promotional items, transforming them into more than just products – just like how they can showcase a company's values with their employees, they often become carriers of a brand's story and values.

Types of Custom Patches

So what types of patches are there on the market? There are a variety of different styles of patches that can be used to elevate any apparel. These materials include leather, silicone, embroidery, and more. 

Leather Patches

Customer leather patches in particular typically come in genuine, faux leather, or faux suede leather. Each style is designed to add a rugged but refined touch to your apparel. Intricate details and designs are either printed, or more commonly, laser engraved into the leather. Whether enhancing your hats, bags, or jackets, laser engraving process ensures a permanent and distinctive finish. Genuine leather patches offer inherent variations and celebrate the natural beauty and uniqueness of natural leather. Because of the natural materials, variations in color are expected with genuine leather patches. However, these patches can still hold uniformity from one to the next with the same design. On the other hand, our faux leather patches provide a consistent, even finish that mimics real leather. Similar to genuine leather but with easier maintenance, faux leather is not only stylish but also safe for domestic wash which ensures durability and longevity in your apparel. However, both genuine and faux leather patches often have the most limitations when it comes to color options. Genuine leather patches only come in a very limited amount of colors, all ranging in some variation of brown. The logo itself is then limited further as it is burned into the leather. This only leaves room for 1 color design. On the other hand, while faux suede leather patches still only offer 1 design color, they do often have a much wider array of options for color with these suede patches than genuine or faux leather patches may have. Faux suede leather patches can help create a distinctive and contrasting element to your designs, while maintaining a soft feel on your fingertips. 

Custom circular leather patches on hats

Silicone Patches

Apparel can also be elevated for your brand with customized silicone patches. These custom silicone patches offer a perfect fusion of durability, flexibility, and versatility. These patches boast a dimensional quality that adds depth and visual interest to your products, making them stand out in today's competitive market. These patches are especially great for custom hats, jackets, and hoodies. The flat finish provides a sleek and modern aesthetic, and can often be made in a vast amount of colors. For an extra touch of creativity, one could also explore using glow-in-the-dark options that are often available for silicone, allowing your logos to make a lasting impression even in low-light conditions. Often applied with a low melt and pressure-sensitive backing, silicone patches cater to a wide range of decoration needs, ensuring easy application on various surfaces. However, there are some limitations to application on materials with water-proof coatings as this coating does not allow for the adhesive to adhere as well. On the other hand, some silicone patches are made with waterproof protection, guaranteeing resilience against the elements. 

Silicone patch on an athletic quarter zip

Embroidered Patches

Another great patch type to consider is embroidered patches. Custom embroidered patches are meticulously crafted to embody excellence in both design and durability. Using high-quality, polyester threads and fabrics, these patches are engineered to endure many washes, ensuring longevity and vibrancy. The versatility of embroidered patches extends to customization, as each one can be dye-cut into unique shapes and sizes. This offers a personalized touch to your garments or accessories. For a dimensional and eye-catching effect, one can also explore the option of 3D embroidered patches. These patches are enhanced with a tactile 3D effect using EVA foam. Custom embroidered patches, while variable in size and shape, are manufactured with utmost precision using 100% polyester fabrics and threads, complete with an embroidered border and adhesive backing for easy application. 

One might ask themselves, what would be the difference between a custom embroidered patch and direct embroidery? Both direct embroidery and embroidered patches are both forms of decorative needlework, but they differ in their application and presentation. Direct embroidery typically refers to the art of stitching designs directly onto fabric. This technique allows for intricate designs and patterns to be created directly on garments, accessories, or textiles. The method is permanent and offers a great option for durability. On the down side, since the stitching goes directly through the garment, this can cause there to be an uncomfortable surface underneath the garment depending on the user’s comfort level and the type of garment. They are also not able to be removed from the custom embroidered apparel once applied. On the other hand, custom embroidered patches are pre-made designs that have been stitched onto a separate piece of fabric, often with a finished edge. These patches can then be attached to clothing or accessories using various methods such as sewing, ironing, or adhesive backing. While both techniques showcase creativity of design, embroidered patches offer the advantage of being easily transferable and interchangeable, allowing for customization and personalization of clothing and accessories.

Embroidered patch on a flat brim cap

Sublimated Patches

Do you happen to have a very intricate and high color design for your patches that you are looking to have made? This scenario would be a great opportunity to consider custom sublimated patches. These patches allow the designer to unleash their creativity while offering a vibrant canvas for your custom text and artwork in full color. Designs are digitally printed onto these patches, so that your photorealistic design can shine without sacrificing detail. Similar to embroidered patches, these patches often feature a meticulously sewn merrow border, allowing you to choose the perfect thread color to complement your design. The flexibility of our sublimated patches extends to both standard and custom shapes and sizes, providing a tailored solution for your unique vision. There is also the option for sublimated faux suede patches. These combine the richness of color with a velvety soft touch. This customization can bring a very unique and elevated look to your patches. Sublimated faux suede patches can also have either an overlock or borderless border to further customize the appearance of your patches. 

Sublimated custom shaped patch on a dad cap

Chenille Patches

A great patch type that can lean into the realm of nostalgia is chenille patches. These patches invoke the timeless charm of letterman jackets and beyond. While the association with letterman jackets is definitely evident, the possibilities with our chenille patches extend far beyond that. Custom chenille patches allow one to unlock a world of customization. These patches can be cut to any shape, offering full creative control over your design. While these patches may not have as wide of a selection for colors as some other patch types have, they still have a large amount of colors in their thread options to choose from. This goes along with felt fabric options for the backing, which includes the glamorous gold & silver glitter. With these, one can have the freedom to embrace classic, retro, or artistic styles if they would like to. Chenille patches are a great canvas for the imagination, providing a unique avenue to express individuality. Whether you're evoking the spirit of the past or forging a new aesthetic, custom chenille patches empower you to infuse your style with a touch of nostalgia and limitless creativity.

Chenille patch on the left chest of a hoodie


Custom patch decorations offer an incredibly versatile and visually appealing means of personalizing a wide range of products. From apparel to accessories, patches provide a unique opportunity for self-expression and branding, making them invaluable additions to both company merchandise and high-end clothing brands. With an abundance of shapes, sizes, and materials available, patches offer limitless creative freedom in design and branding. Moreover, their adaptability to different surfaces and materials, coupled with various attachment methods like sewing, ironing, or adhesive backing, ensures compatibility with a diverse array of products and fabrics. Beyond mere decoration, patches serve as powerful tools for fostering camaraderie among employees and promoting team unity, especially in corporate settings. Additionally, patches have transcended their decorative function to become symbols of personal identity and brand representation, whether in sports, hobbyist groups, or corporate branding strategies. With different types of patches like embroidered, sublimated, silicone, and chenille patches offering unique features and aesthetics, there's a patch for every need and style preference, empowering individuals and businesses alike to showcase their identity and creativity with pride. There’s an endless amount of possibilities when it comes to custom patches, and now is the time to really seize the opportunity and use this decoration method for your next big apparel idea.

Contact us today to let us help you with your next custom apparel order, and maybe try something new and develop a custom patch!

Abbey Hagan
Last Updated:
February 26, 2024