Embroidered retro American patches
Tips & Tricks

The Differences Between Embroidery And Weaving

Everybody loves the retro feel of embroidered patches but learn why choosing a woven option for your clothing labels is usually the better option.
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Here at Dutch Label Shop we often get asked about the differences between embroidered and woven patches and labels. From a glance, they might be mistaken for one another, but really, the entire production process and outcome is actually very different. Once familiar with the characteristics of each, you will be able to quickly tell them apart, helping you to decide which one suits best.

Both embroidery and weaving are methods commonly used to get a design or pattern onto fabric. They both use threads to illustrate the design, and are both durable and high-quality, making patterns that last a lifetime. However, this is about where the similarities stop.

Weaving is a way to produce textiles, where two sets of yarns, called the warp and weft yarns, are interlaced at right angles to create a length of fabric. This process is done on a loom. The loom keeps the warp yarns taut and parallel with each other while the weft yarns are passed through them, (over and under), either by hand or with a device called a shuttle.

This is distinctive from embroidery, which is instead added after the cloth is made, rather than a method of creating the actual fabric. Embroidered pieces start with a plain base material (often cotton drill) and the design or pattern is then stitched onto the top of this base material, thus creating a different effect. Both methods have a special place within design and textiles, so continue on for more insight into these techniques.

 Embroidered patch for ironing on clothing in blue and red

Embroidery and Embroidered Patches

Embroidered patches are made by stitching a design onto a pre-existing piece of cloth using needles, threads, and speciality stitches. A merrowed border is then usually added to the outer edges of a patch, completing its look. Though embroidery started out by hand, with textile artists painstakingly embroidering designs into fabric stitch-by-stitch, most of todays embroideries are done using machine, with industrial embroidery machines quickly turning highly detailed artworks into finished embroidered pieces within minutes.

Embroidery is not often used as a method for making clothing labels and is better suited for designs that are going to sit on the outside of an item, such as a patch or logo. This method carries a higher production cost and more design limitations when comparing with woven labels, so embroidery concepts are often substituted with the more versatile woven labels, which have a similar look and feel but are usually better suited to make a clothing label.

 Dutch Label Shop woven labels front and back in peach

Weaving And Woven Labels

A woven label is made on a jacquard loom that weaves polyester or cotton threads together to produce your desired design. The jacquard loom is the go-to for creating elaborate and detailed patterns that show up on the surface of the fabric as it is woven together, producing labels are high-quality, long-lasting, and soft against the skin. Your design won't rub off or fade over time because the design is used to make the label, and not just glued or printed onto the surface of a pre-existing label.

Woven labels are a great choice for any brand label as they add a luxurious touch to names, logos, and simple imagery, and can be made in an endless variety of shapes and colors to match your intended design. Woven labels are smooth and soft so are ideal for against the skin and anywhere you don’t want anything bulky to be added. 

Embroidered Vs Woven Patches, Which is Best?

Due to embroidered patches being stitched onto a base cloth, these patches and labels are usually thicker and more textural. The designs are raised above the base cloth, giving it more of a three-dimensional look, while the layers of stitching add more stiffness to the finished product. Woven patches are much more smooth and soft, with a flat finished surface. The fabric is woven together using different yarns to match the design, making it a part of the label from the beginning. It is possible to get much more detail in a woven patch as the threads used in the weaving process are much thinner than the embroidery threads used to stitch an image onto the already woven base. 

Overall, embroidered patches and iron-on badges give a really great vintage, outdoorsy feel for simple designs made to be on the outside of products. Woven patches and badges are much more suited to detailed designs, and for times when you don't want something so stiff and bulky. However, when choosing between woven and embroidered clothing labels, we believe there is no competition between the two, as woven labels are softer, more durable, and can capture the minute details. If you are still unsure about the pros and cons to all the different types of labels we offer, make sure to check out our Differences Between Woven And Printed Labels article to answer some of those questions you might have.