Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Backings for Patches

Patches are used to be made, given and worn solely to signify ranks and accomplishments, or make one’s identity or belongingness to a group obvious. The classical examples of groups or units that have long been using this are the military and boy scouts. In the military, different patch designs are attached to each infantryman’s uniform to denote rank, group and designation. On the other hand, in the boy scouts, a patch is usually given to an individual as a substitute for trophy or medal after he accomplishes a significant task or reaches a specific goal.

However, as time passed by, patch usage became broader. It is no longer used exclusively for formalities. In fact, especially for the teens, wearing a patch is now more often done to improve aesthetics. Because of this, there has been a constant increase in demand for custom patch. Subsequently, patch manufacturing also improved to suit every man’s taste and reason for wearing this accessory. Of the many developments in patch making, perhaps one of the most important is the invention of different patch backings.

Traditional Sew-On Patch

Technically, this choice is not a backing option per se because you do not need a special backing to sew a patch over a garment. This patch is the most popular nowadays. In fact, most of the patches made today are still in this traditional form – the embroidered design is put on an ordinary twill. The twill kind of holds the patch embroidery and acts as the material wherein one can sew on a piece of clothing for attachment.

Custom Patche

Of all the backing options, the sew-on patch is the most durable of all. It is permanent, meaning it can still cling to where you attach it even after multiple washes, given that the sewing is done properly. However, this permanence also acts as the patch’s downside. Because it is sewn, you cannot easily remove it, especially if you intend to wear it only once. Also, it should not be attached to precious pieces of clothing as the sewing will actually damage the somewhat valuable material of the garment.

Iron-On Backing

This kind of backing is made to attach to a garment via the application of heat. The heat from an external source, usually an iron, causes the backing to react and stick to the clothing underneath.

Patches that are ironed-on are not permanent. It may withstand a few wears and washes but after some time, its adhesion will weaken. Because of this, it is best to attach an iron-on patch only to clothing items worn occasionally or those that do not need frequent washes, like bags or caps. Also, a disadvantage is that this backing is not suitable for certain types of materials. Because of its application procedure, some materials, like leathers, silks or spandex, will actually be destroyed when subjected to extreme heat even for a few seconds.

For its advantage, you can easily attach this kind of patch in a matter of few seconds. Our iron-on patch only requires a maximum of thirty seconds of heat stress before it becomes fully secured to where it will be attached.

Tape Backing

Patches that are tape-backed are the most temporary option of all. Our special adhesive can make the patch cling to almost all types of materials. However, it is only recommended for short time and short span wearing as it cannot withstand washing or extensive mobility. If patch permanence is required, this is not the ideal option. This choice is only good for those quick cloth designing and costume fixes needed for sudden Halloween parties or any other costume gatherings.

Velcro Backing

Custom Patches

Patches with Velcro attachments are great selections for those who like to change the design of their garments frequently. With Velcro backing, one can easily attach and remove the patch when he pleases. For this reason, different patches can be interchangeably put on a same spot, depending on one’s mood or the event he is going to, without hassle. Another advantage of this is that the actual patch, which holds the embroidered design can be removed before washing, thereby minimizing its tendency for deterioration and fading due to water damage.

However for its disadvantage, Velcro attachment is not that secure compared to other patch backing types. It is somewhat loose and its sticking ability may even worsen with frequent removal and putting on of the patch.

Button Loop

For obvious reasons, a button loop patch is not permanent. It is only usually intended for awarding ceremonies wherein the patch is hung to the recipient’s button or lapel pin. The patch thereafter is commonly framed or displayed and never worn again.

The main advantage of this kind of backing is that it is not invasive to the garment where it will be attached. Because the patch will only be hung, needle punctures, heat application, or adhesive damage will be avoided.
When opting for buying or customizing one’s own patch, it is not enough that only the design should be thought upon thoroughly. Surely, the design gives the patch its own character, but aside from its form, one should also not forget its function so the proper kind of patch backing can be chosen.


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Written by Bill Jackson