Parts of a Patch

Not sure what elements to choose? Then, please use our descriptions and images below of the different parts of a patch. They will help you design a beautiful, custom embroidered patch.

Embroidery Options

Fully Embroidered patch image. This type of embroidered patch is all stitching. The backing twill does not show.

Fully Embroidered

The face is covered in stitches. So, the twill backing is not visible or exposed. A fill stitch is used to cover in-between areas. This option costs more because it has more stitches. It feels thicker and gives the patch a high-quality appearance. The embroidery thread creates a background color, so there are more color options.

Partially aka non-fully embroidered patch image. This type of patch allows the backing twill to show. You see the color and texture of it.

Non-Fully Embroidered

The color and texture of the background come from a pre-dyed color twill backing which is exposed (no stitching) in areas. This option requires less thread than Fully Embroidered, giving the design a cleaner, more defined look while also resulting in the patch having a thinner and more pliable feel.

Border Options

Detail shot (cropped) showing an Overlock Edge aka Merrow ravel proof border.

Overlock Edge (Merrow)

It is the classic look for simple patch shapes like circles, squares, rectangles, etc. The border is 1/8 inch thick and applied after the patch has been die-cut. For best results, the embroidered details of the design should be at least 1/16 of an inch away from the Merrow border.

Detail shot of Hot Needle Cut border on a fully embroidered patch.

Hot Needle Cut (Contour)

This border incorporates the edge stitching into the overall design, rather than being added later, allowing for non-uniform and complex patch shapes. Due to the low profile edges, patches utilizing a Hot Needle Cut border with Iron-On Backing, obtain an edge-to-edge seal, making them look more integrated with garments and other finished products.

A Guide to Attachments 

The Backing Options

Sew-On Patch from A-B Emblem


It is a plastic backing that provides more structure, helping the patch to lay flat while remaining relatively thin. This backing is meant to be used when a patch needs to be sewn onto a garment or fabric, hence the name.

Custom embroidered patches from A-B Emblem showing many styles, colors, sizes and techniques.


Iron-On utilizes a heat seal material that provides adhesion to natural fiber fabrics when properly pressed using a heat source (most commonly a household iron). The backing also provides a structure that helps the patch to lay flat. A word of caution: synthetic fabrics can melt in the heat seal process and are not advised.

Custom embroidered patches from A-B Emblem showing many styles, colors, sizes and techniques.


A two-part system that gives the patch the ability to be removed or changed out for another.¬† A “hook” backing is attached to the patch using a Merrow border while a compatible “loop” face is attached to a garment, hat, bag, or other items. This style of backing is prominent in military and tactical apparel. Additional uses are sports & school uniforms, hats, backpacks, luggage, and bags.

Custom embroidered patches from A-B Emblem showing many styles, colors, sizes and techniques.

Sticky Back

Sticky, pressure-sensitive, peel & stick, or whatever you call it, this backing turns the patch into an embroidered sticker. The patch can be applied to hard surfaces or clothing. The adhesive may leave a difficult to remove residue behind, so caution is advised. Pro tip: to reduce residue put the sticky back patch on a scrap piece of twill and pull away a couple of times before wearing on clothing. Remove promptly after the event is over.

Interested in learning more? Please visit our Design Tips from A-B Emblem and Designing a Great Patch pages in order to become an expert.

And, don’t forget to visit our Custom Patch Photo Gallery.