How Patches Came to Be

Whenever you think of patches, what usually comes to mind? Little kids would often say “hey that’s what Captain Hook wears on his eye!” while adults would either think about skin related problems or those things put on clothes that are oh so common for police men. In a way, adults guessed right; patches have indeed found uses in both the military and police departments, but their journey to the 21st century wasn’t that simple. Adventure-filled, yes but also unexpectedly historically rich.

Patches have been known to be those pieces of embroidery that are created by using some fabric backings and thread.

custom PatchesThey can be attached to your clothes by the use of a pin, some fabric glue or you can sew them on to make sure they won’t come off. Modern day variants even come in iron-on varieties, which make the job of attaching them to clothing a whole lot easier. They might seem pretty plain and boring, but the history of how patches came to be is actually quite interesting.

No one really knows when exactly embroidery became a thing it’s a long-standing question that even history fails to answer. Retracing its journey throughout time has also caused a whole lot of confusion for both historians and enthusiasts. Though debatable, embroidery was said to be of Asian descent; records of embroidery from around fifth to third BC have been found in China and other Asian countries like Japan and Persia. However, numerous records have also been found in countries from around the world during the same era, so the exact location of where embroidery began is still a mystery to this day.

Embroidery has been mostly used in noble apparel as intricate decorations throughout many centuries and has even been limited to that sole use back in the olden days. With the handful of techniques used that were all done by hand, it’s certainly no surprise that they were limited to such uses. One amazing thing about embroidery would have to be the fact that although many centuries have gone by, the same stitches and techniques are still being used to this day.

The blanket stitch, chain stitch, cross stitch, satin stitch and running stitch are still the same stitches the ancients and modern day embroiderers use in making garments and other materials. It’s come a long way and not much has changed, even with the invention of modern technology. Despite the fact that several machines have been built to make sewing and embroidery a more or less an easier job, most embroidered cloths are still being made by hand.

Embroidery first made a huge comeback in the late 1800’s, when the first embroidery machine called the “loom” was created. Soon after the loom’s creation, the sewing machine made its debut and yet another embroidery machine was born in Switzerland right after its invention. Not much has changed though, hand stitches still dominate the embroidery scene today yet the art of embroidery itself has spread and found numerous other uses around the world.

Would you believe me if I said that embroidery did somehow find its way into the military? It’s quite obvious that embroidery’s been making a huge splash in the fashion department, but the military’s not exactly the place you’d expect to find embroidered things. It’s been mentioned before, and we’ll mention it once more; the military does use embroidered things, and they’re called patches. At, you can learn all about things like these for free! Learn all about the history of these small yet decorative embroideries and get into the craze.

PatchesThe usage of the embroidered patch in the military all began when people in the first World War used them for identification. They soon made their way into the second World War, but nothing changed with the things written on them; they were still the crude military signs that were often placed on a soldier’s shirt sleeve. Through the years though, the once rough looking patch was then turned into official military traditions and was even referred to as “shoulder sleeve insignia” or SSI.

From the Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force to the Coast Guard units, the patch has been of use to distinguish each unit from each other and to serve a decorative purpose in each military man’s uniform. Even the fashion industry took some inspiration from this and turned the patch into a trend.

Nowadays, the patch is being used in many ways; the military, the fashion industry, as a hobby or simply for fun, you name it. Who would’ve known that such a small piece of embroidered cloth would have such an exciting history behind it.