Creating a Patch


Creating a Custom Police Patch

Digitizing Video


Many people ask us how we do our digitizing for the patches.  Its a complicated process, but here is a quick video and a write up of how creates our patches, custom designed by you.  It can be a long sometimes tedious proces, but we have years and years of training that shows in the end result.  We love what we do - its all that we do.  If you have any design questions, please let us know, we are happy to help.  Find us fast on the Contact Us page and let us help you design your next patch!






Many people ask us the process of making custom patches or team patches. The process is detailed work and lots and lots of time.     Here is the process in step by step form of how we create a custom team template patch.

The first thing we do is decide on the design for the patch – the style, the shape and the image for the patch. Not all .jpeg designs will look good in embroidery. After 8 years of digitizing, I have a quick eye for what will work, and what will not work. Too many details on a small patch will not produce a very good patch.   Not enough detail on a larger patch will also not look good. Years of experience and many trials and errors have given me the skills to produce awesome patches.

Today, I am making a custom team patch, and the design I have chosen is a skull crossbones with a sword going through the skull. It is a simple design for a team patch, and also it will fit nicely in a 3.5 round patch, along with the lettering.

Custom Team patch Jolly Roger


Basically at this point, I have figured out exactly how the finished patch will look, and now I just have to make it happen.   The next step is the digitizing of the patch. I take the jpeg and use it as a backdrop, and place the stitches over the backdrop to make a stitch design that the embroidery machines will understand.   There are hundreds of stitch styles and machine codes and proper placement and order that need to happen at this time – if there are mistakes in the stitch files, then the machines will not stitch the design properly and there will be production issues – thread breaks, machines stopping, improper thread changes, jump stitches to name a few. If the digitizing is not done properly, the design will be a complete mess once it stitches out.

The digitizing process can take hours or days to complete depending on the complexity of the design. For this patch, it will take 2 hours or more to produce a proper patch that will stitch out properly.

Here are a few screen shots of the digitizing process from start to first draft finish. Normally we do many drafts before the stitch file makes it to the embroidery machines. This is not a digitizing lesson by any means, but just meant to show you the basic process of digitizing.

Step one is to bring the jpeg design into the embroidery program:

Custom Team patch image


That part is easy enough. Step 2 is placing the stitches on the design. I start off with one type of stitch that I think will look good and place each stitch point on top of the design to create the stitch file. Each stitch has to be placed and set up correctly, and in the correct order to make a proper embroidery design. I have zoomed in and placed the stitches over the eye socket on the skull and changed the color to brown so you can clearly see the stitches.

custom team patch in stitches.jpg


Looks good so far, so I continue to place the stitches for the eyebrow crease. For such a small area, I change the type of stitch so it will look better when we put it on the machines. I then decided that I wanted to change the type of stitch on the eye to make it stand out more. That part is completed and the skull is starting to look good!

custom team patch more stitches.jpg


I continue on using this process of making stitch elements to complete the jolly roger skull, cross bones and sword. Then I move all of the elements around so that the machine will stitch each element in the proper order.   We want the machine to stitch out one element and move quickly to the next closest element. If I were to tell the machine to stitch the eye first, and then the sword second, there would be a huge line from the eye to the sword connecting the two – called a jump stitch and that would have to be trimmed by the production department. So I carefully and meticulously go through each element, put them in the right order, change the codes and make sure there is a good flow of stitches for the machine.

After a few hours of work, and lots of changing stitch types and codes, this is my final jolly roger skull and sword basic design. Looks good, but it’s not a patch or a custom team patch yet.

custom team patch completed in stitches.jpg


To finally make this into a patch, I need to make the patch border. I have decided for this one that I want it to be a 3.5 round patch and it is going to be a team template patch, so I need to leave room for all the lettering that makes the patch custom – team name and team motto.

To make everything fit properly, I need to resize the jolly roger and all of his elements. I do that and make sure that again he will stitch out properly and not have any small stitches that will mess up the machines or mess up any coding that I have done. He doesn’t need to be resized much, and I am ok for this part. I add a circle and then carefully place the lettering. It’s starting to look like a patch now!



However, the patch is still not done yet. I have to digitally stitch this patch on the embroidery program that I have to make sure there are no errors or problems and the machines will stitch it clearly, properly and effectively with minimal machine trims, minimal jump stitches and each element in the proper order.

Once that is done, I can send the design to one of our machines to test stitch out a sample of the design. We have to take the time to watch the machine stitch the design completely from start to finish again ensure there are no mistakes, thread breaks from small stitches or any coding errors.   Even with my experience level and years of digitizing thousands of patches, I still find two errors that need to be fixed to produce a proper stitching patch. Once I make those changes, the patch is perfect and complete and ready for anyone to add in their custom information to make a bad ass custom team patch!

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