One method for creating a patch is buying fabric sheets or yard material and creating the emblem from scratch. Some companies offer what’s called laminated fabric, which is fabric already made into what’s called a patch sandwich. In other words, it has the Pellon and backing laminated to the fabric material. This lamination gives the fabric stiffness and weight. Other companies sell the raw material, and the decorator will have to add the backing. Patches can be embroidered and then cut out with a hot knife and finished with a satin stitch edges.
Another option for creating patches is to buy a patch kit. Some companies offer kits to make a single patch. The package generally contains fabric, heat-seal backing, a hot knife, and a universal cutting tip. Using the fabric, you can add a design, usually using embroidery, and then add the heat-seal backing using a heat press to seal the back of the patch. The heat-seal backing often doubles to secure the patch to the garment as well. After creating the emblem, the hot knife is used to cut the patch shape from the fabric. The hot knife is also used to seal the edges of the patch to ensure that it doesn’t fray.
If you would prefer to offer patches that look like the ones the larger industrial uniform companies use, there are two options. Pieces of that sort have a colored border, often called a merrowed border. This type of edge is created using a merrow machine. These machines are an investment, and the cost is such that they’re not generally an affordable option unless your business focuses on making custom patches.
If your company doesn’t want to purchase a merrow machine and train an operator to use it, but still wants to offer patches with a colored border, another option is to buy blank emblems from a company that creates them. You receive only the patch itself and then add the required decoration in your shop. Depending on the composition of the patch material, blank patches can be embroidered, sublimated, or screen printed. Emblems of this type are also generally offered in standard sizes and shapes, and companies that make blanks may not offer custom sizes or shapes beyond a square, circle, rectangle, and oval.
Patches can also be purchased pre-decorated and would need to be added to the garment or item to be embellished. Purchasing custom decorated emblems may incur digitizing or artwork fees. A company that produces finished, embellished patches may also be more flexible regarding size and shape.