How Custom Patch Pricing Works

How Custom Patch Pricing Works

What factors affect the price of custom embroidered patches? Let's take a look.

Whether you’ve ordered custom patches before or are considering your first order, you expect fair value in the price of your patches. Yet you might not know all the factors that affect the cost of patches.

At, we believe in transparency. That’s why we’re here to review the multiple aspects of patch design and creation that result in the price you pay. It’s not really complicated, and we’ll do our best to explain every factor along the way.

A Little Bit of Embroidery History

It’s no secret that custom embroidered patches are one of the most economical marketing tools available today. But embroidery wasn’t always affordable for everyone. Throughout most of history, it was so expensive that it was the province of only royalty and the very wealthy.

Before the Industrial Revolution, embroidery had to be painstakingly done by hand. That took lots of time and skill, which accounted for the high price. It was a slow process as well, which also contributed to the rarity of embroidered goods.

What truly made embroidery available on a mass scale was the invention of the embroidery machine. In the mid-1800s, Izaak Grobli, from Switzerland, created the machine that enabled mass production of embroidered goods. It truly democratized what had once been available only to the elite.

By the early 1900s, powered machines controlled by a paper tape added precise repeatability to embroidery production. In the late 1900s, microprocessor controlled machines allowed even more precision and control, as well as high-speed production.  

Non-Labor Factors

With machinery replacing hand-stitching, the cost of embroidery dropped exponentially, making custom embroidery, and thus custom patches, available to virtually everyone. 

Although labor was once the major factor in the cost of embroidery, other contributors also affect the cost of your patch order today. Let’s take a look at some of those:


Embroidery thread and twill backing are the basic materials that make up most custom patches. While those are generally low-cost items, their prices to providers are affected by the same forces that apply to every other product you buy. The cost of raw materials, shipping and supply chain issues will affect the price of your patch order.

The Size of Your Patch

Size definitely matters when it comes to custom embroidered patch pricing. It’s simple – the bigger the patch, the more thread and backing it will need, so the higher the cost.

Taking some examples from our Pricing Guide, if you want to order 100 patches at a 2-inch size, those would be as low as $1.39 each. However, if you need the same number of patches in a 6.5-inch size, your cost would be $5.00 each. 

Order Size

How many patches you order also will affect the price you pay as well. We offer quantity discounts in specific levels. The more patches you buy, the less each individual patch costs. That could make ordering more a bargain.

Using the same 2-inch patch from above, if you order 100, that would be $139. Yet if you double that order, the per-patch price drops to 81 cents apiece. So you’d get double the patches for just $23 more.

Embroidery Percentage

Another factor that affects the price you pay is embroidery percentage. Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as you might think. 

Embroidery percentage is dictated by your patch design. At, we offer patches in 3 different embroidery percentages: 50%, 75% or 100%. This refers to how much of the embroidered design covers the twill backing. Here’s how it works:

A very simple patch, such as a basic name patch for a uniform is 50% embroidered, with the embroidered design covering half the backing. Moving up the scale, a more elaborate design will cover 75% of the twill. This is the most common percentage. If the embroidered design covers all of the twill backing, that’s a 100% embroidered design. 

A related factor is the number of stitches required. Most patch providers specify a maximum number of stitches per patch, often 12,000. That’s plenty for the vast majority of designs. 

If you have a very, very intricate design, or a very, very large patch, you might need more stitching. Your patch provider might add a surcharge for the extra stitches required.

It’s a straightforward equation for both embroidery percentage and stitch count – the more thread your patch requires, the higher the price.

Attach the Patch: A Key Price Factor

How you choose to attach your patches to garments will affect the price of your order. From the simplest to the most versatile, you can choose from a range of options.


This is the patch in its most basic form, and always the lowest price option. However, it might not always be the best choice for your needs.

Sew-on patches are simply the patch itself. There are no add-ons. You sew it on, and you’re done. It’s the most permanent form of attachment, and is sure to be durable.


While they do command a higher price than sew-on, custom iron-on patches can be a better choice for many people. They feature a heat-activated adhesive backing. This is great if you don’t know how to sew, or simply don’t want to. All you have to do is lay the patch on the garment and apply heat from an iron. The adhesive melts into the fabric, offering a secure hold.

Not all fabrics can take the heat required for iron-on patches, so it’s important to check before ordering your patches. Keep in mind though, that if you have multiple fabrics, you can always sew on patches without using the iron-on backing. In that way, iron-on backing gives you the greatest possible flexibility.

Hook-and-Loop (Velcro®) Fasteners 

Velcro patches are the ideal choice for military morale patches or any other type patch you want to be able to remove easily or rotate between garments. They do add to the price of the patch, but give you ultimate flexibility in whether and when to wear a patch.

Tape Backing 

Tape backing allows quick, easy application and removal of patches. It’s limited, however, to short-term use, such as for festivals, concerts or other one-time events. While the cost is approximately the same as that of Velcro backing, tape backing will not withstand laundering.

Other Factors

Multiple other factors can influence the price of your custom patches as well. Let’s examine some of those.


Patch borders come in two basic styles, merrowed or hot-cut. A merrowed border is simply a raised thread border sewn around the patch. This is typically used for standard geometric shapes, as on rectangular uniform name patches, for example. This style is the standard border, offered at no extra cost.

If your patch is a custom shape, or if you prefer a flatter look against the garment, a hot-cut border is required. This border is laser cut to the exact dimensions of the patch. It typically adds a few cents per patch.

Colors and Novel Threads

Most patch prices offer up to 7 thread colors free in your design. Each additional color will require an additional cost per patch.

You can give your patches extra visual power with metallic or neon threads. These colors are bright, bold and will really help your design stand out. Of course, they will add an additional cost above standard thread.

It’s All About Value

Keep in mind when you’re ordering custom patches that value, not just price, is the most important factor. You want to get the best value for your money by getting patches that best suit your needs.

Our staff at has the experience to help you get the most out of your patches at any price. We will work with you to ensure you get exactly the patches you need at a price you can afford. Take a look at our custom patch gallery to see examples of designs we’ve crafted for some of our distinguished customers.

If you’re ready to order, or if you have questions about custom patch prices, don’t hesitate to email or call us. We’ll be happy to give you a free price quote and any other information you need to make an informed patch order.

Rick Cundiff

Rick Cundiff

Content Director, Blogger

Rick Cundiff spent 15 years as a newspaper journalist before joining TJM Promos. He has been researching and writing about custom patches and other promotional products for more than 10 years. He believes in the Oxford comma, eradicating the word "utilize," and Santa Claus.