The History of Embroidered Patches

embroidered patchesEmbroidered patches are considered pieces of art and can be used for a wide variety of occasions – they can be used to represent a company or organization, as a commemoration, to display achievements, to identify military personnel, or simply for decorative purposes.

In the Beginning

The creation of embroidered patches first began in China somewhere in the 5th – 3rd century BC. The Chinese used various sewing techniques to mend, patch, and tailor cloths, which led to sewing decorative designs in them. Over the years, other civilizations began sewing patterns and designs into cloths, clothing, tapestries, and more. Sometimes the cloths were small, and became “patches.”


While embroidered patches are still sometimes created by hand, many are created using a machine. The first embroidery machine was introduced in the 1800s by Alphonse Kursheedt and used a combination of looms and hand embroidery. He imported twelve new embroidery hand looms to create a mechanized process. Not long after, Isaak Groebli was inspired by the sewing machine and created the Schiffli embroidery machine, which used a continuously threaded needle and shuttle.

Today, there are computerized machines that use “digitized” patterns to create embroidered designs. They can create mass amounts of embroidered patches for sports teams, companies, uniforms, and more.


What was once simply a piece of cloth has become a sturdy, long-lasting piece of art. Modern-day patches are made with durable plastic backings, sturdier threads, improved stiffness, and techniques to prevent fraying and unraveling.

At American Patch, we specialize in high-quality embroidered patches. Visit our samples page for some inspiration, then create your very own unique patch for any occasion.