Emblems of Thread

by on March 10, 2016

A History of Custom Embroidered Patches

custom patches

In the heat and chaos, blood and mud of military campaigns, it is often difficult to distinguish between sergeants and privates. To make sure everyone knew who calls the shots, armies all over the world have developed visible markings of rank. These have included distinct styles of armor, suit, medals and, in some cultures, tattoos.

In the 1800s, the British were involved in numerous military campaigns, including those waged against the French, Indians, Persians, Afghans, Maori and Zulus. During this period, they also added one more item to the military suit: custom embroidered patches.

The use of patches soon spread to the United States. By the Second World War, most armies all over the world were using embroidered patches to denote rank.When you see an embroidery patches, you immediately look for  patches4less.com

Even non-military people found beauty and symbolism in these small, decorative pieces of cloth. When the hobby of hiking started to rise in popularity in Europe, people sewed patches of the places they had visited on their backpacks and clothes.  These ordinary people wore patches like badges of honor, telling others at a glance all the places they have traveled. This practice is much like how the people of today collect keychains,refrigerator magnets, and t-shirts as souvenirs.

In the early 1800s, however, they were still not as popular as they are now and the designs were relatively simple, especially if many copies had to be made. This was because custom embroidered patches were still mostly handmade at the time, painstakingly embroidered by wives, mothers and sisters of soldiers. That changed very soon when Joshua Hellman invented an embroidery machine in 1828. Many other inventors built upon his ideas, including Isaak Grumble who invented the Stiffly embroidery machine in 1863. These early machines were still operated by hand and therefore labor-intensive. However, this allowed for multiple copies to be created simultaneously.

The increasingly available embroidery machines slowly made them more accessible and, at the same time, complex. By the 1900s, custom embroidered patches were used not only by the military and backpackers. Scout programs began to use them in the form of badges to be earned. Even now, girl and boy scouts ramp up on accomplishments just to fill their sashes
with these embroidered medals of honor. They were also soon used by sports teams in their uniforms and caps, using their team’s signature colors and symbols. Yet other patches were used to commemorate significant events. Among them were space programs, who used patches for each mission. The first such patch was donned by Valentina Tereshkova in the 1963 Rostock Mission by the Soviet Union. The United States followed suit in the 1965 Gemini 5 mission with the famous “8 days or bust” patch.

As computers became smaller and more available, embroidery machines also became more efficient. Today, designers need only to layout a single design on a computerized embroidery machine before it does nearly all the work for them. These modern innovations also allowed for a finer level of detail and better levels of customization than before.

Digitalization has not made hand embroidery a lost art either, the crafters of today still like to make their own handmade embroidered patches. These can sometimes be more detailed than machine embroidery, but only come in limited editions as large batches are not possible.

Custom embroidered patches are now more accessible and easier to make than ever. Yet, they still have managed to retain their original value as emblems of rank, camaraderie and achievement. The next time that you see one, think about its long, rich history and what it means to the person wearing it. And if you have anything worth celebrating, or bragging about, maybe you should think about getting one made for yourself.

Joining the DIY Craze: How to Make a Lanyard

by on October 21, 2015

DIY, or do-it-yourself, has been all the rage since the 1920’s, when the Great Depression forced many households to economize by doing their own housework or house repairs rather than hiring helpers. The economy has improved greatly since then, but the DIY trend endures, spanning fields as diverse as arts and crafts, home improvement, and even electronics.

ID lanyards are among the easiest things to make for those who want to get involved in the world of DIY. It’s true that plenty of firms can make custom lanyards according to a customer’s design, and that there are plenty of stores that offer plenty of good-quality lanyards, but for those who want a specific look and aren’t looking to have it mass-produced, DIY is the way to go.

LanyardsThere are many kinds of ID lanyards available in the market today. The most common ones are made of polyester or nylon. Some companies have also produced lanyards with more environmentally-friendly materials like bamboo or PET (polyethylene terephtalate) plastic, with the latter derived from recycled plastic bottles. Mass-produced ID lanyards are usually customized using one of following methods: 1.) heat stamping, where the design is practically branded onto the fabric, 2.) print screening, where pattern featuring the design is used to distribute the ink over the lanyard, and 3.) dye sublimation, where the desired imprint is transferred directly onto the material, making it less likely to fade over time.

Making ID lanyards at home doesn’t require the sort of fancy equipment needed for the previously mentioned processes, but the options are no less limited. The only thing to remember is that the standard length for ID lanyards (at least the ones that are meant to be worn around the neck) is about 36 inches, as this will be folded in half and slightly trimmed to make a length of 17 inches.

Beaded lanyards can be made using plastic, glass, or stone beads. To make a beaded lanyard:

• Prepare a length of nylon string. Tie a knot on one end, and make sure that it is big enough to stop the beads from slipping through. Fold the string in half.

• Come up with a pattern for the beads, and thread them onto the string accordingly.

• Knot the ends together, and attach a clamp or ID holder to the centre of the necklace.

For those looking for a slightly more challenging project, hand-sewn lanyards are another option. To make such lanyards, even stray swatches of fabric can be used. To begin:

• Take two strips of fabric, about 36 inches in length, and 2 inches in width.

• Align the strips of fabric, and apply pins down the center to keep them in place.

• Using a sewing machine, stitch up one vertical end of the strip of cloth, leaving about a quarter of an inch from the edge as allowance.

• Take the pins out from the edges, and insert a small strip of felt or any other textured material between the strips of cloth.

• Apply pins down the center to keep the strips of outer fabric and felt aligned.

• Stitch up the remaining edges with a sewing machine, allocating about ¼-inch from the edges. Trim any stray edges.

• Attach a clamp or hook to one end, and fold about half an inch of that end through the clamp or hook, and stitch it up onto the fabric above the hook or clamp to fasten it onto the lanyard.

• Take the other end of the lanyard and stitch it onto about an inch above the end that has the clamp or the hook.

Lapel Pins Popular in Schools and Universities

by on August 7, 2015

lapelpinsHigh schools and universities are top areas where people can find and collect lapel pins of various types. In places like these, the chances that you can find a different type of pin for every degree offered or for every class there is in the specific school or university is very high.

Examples of popular uses include the following:

1.Class or university elections.

Pins are among the common paraphernalia used in the campaigns within high schools and universities. They either bear the logo and name of the political parties or the candidates jockeying for the various positions in the student councils. Some high schools have banned the use of the pins as they are perceived to be expensive. However, these pins remain to be very effective and favored materials to be used in an election campaign in a university setting.

2.Clubs and academic groups.

To identify membership and affinity to certain clubs and groups within the university, students oftentimes wear lapel pins. For specially popular clubs such as the cheer leading group or the highly decorated football or basketball teams, the pins are worn with pride and serve as badges of honor. Kids at school wear these pins to look “cool.”

3.Fraternities and sororities.

Pins are very popular for members of fraternities and sororities in college campuses. Like the pins that identify affiliation with certain clubs and groups, fraternity and sorority pins are also often worn as badges of honor. The pins serve as a symbol, and provide a sense of belonging as well as a sign of being able to hurdle the obstacle in obtaining membership to the fraternities and sororities. Most of the time, the initiation rites of fraternities and sororities are so challenging that members often feel a sense of extreme entitlement after surviving the ordeal.

4.Campus activism.

Campaigns of various kinds are very alive in high schools and universities. There are those who are fighting for the protection of the environment, for combatting climate change, for better quality of education, for more academic freedoms, for rights of the LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders) community, and many other advocacies that are popular among the youth in a university setting. Most often, campaigns for the many different tendencies and advocacies use lapel pins as one of the campaign materials that they use.

5.Professional identities.

Faculty members and university staff also often use lapel pins as part of their uniform, for identification purposes and as a symbol of authority. These pins may include the names, the position, and the department or program where they belong. This helps students identify school authorities and possibly warn them against taking action against certain persons that could only lead to their dismissal or expulsion from the university.

6.School activities.

The school fair, sports day, school dance, and other school activities, whether for academic purposes or just for fun within the communities, are events where lapel pins can be very popular. They may be given out as souvenir items, tokens and rewards for the various activities that are held during these celebrations.

7.University pride.

Almost all high schools and universities across the country have signature pins that are worn by their students. In inter-school gatherings, students never forget to wear the pins as an accessory to their outfits and uniforms. It does not just mark the individual as to the school that he or she is representing. It is also a symbol of being proud and loyal to one’s academic affiliation. Most often, these pins are still held valuable and used even after graduating from college.