It’s a good moment in history for machine embroidery. As you may have noticed, patches (along with their tinier, shinier cousin, the enamel pin) are everywhere right now. And here, in this machine-oriented corner of Mr X’s esteemed embroidery blog, it’s about time we talked about it.
People have been making embroidered patches for thousands of years, and they’ve long been used as a form of identification on military and other uniforms. But they’ve also got a long countercultural history, from the bikers of the ’60s to the hippies of the ’70s to the punks of the ’80s.
Perhaps that’s the appeal of patches — their powerful combination of officiality and self-expression. Maybe it’s the impulse to collect. Maybe it’s that they’re a perfect little piece of affordable, share-able art. Or maybe they just rolled in on the same train that brought back flannel shirts and grunge.
In any case, now’s the time to grab a few patches that reflect your own unique style and attitude. Check out just a sampling of this new wave of stitched treasures:
Want to get in on the action? Browsing through patches on Etsy will keep you busy for a good long while (and probably land a few in your mailbox). If you find one you like, grab it — they’re often limited edition, so you may not get the opportunity again! Check out the scene on Instagram and Pinterest to see more goodies. Read more about the patch trend at Highsnobiety. And if you’re a visual artist of any sort, consider collaborating with a custom digitizer/embroiderer to bring your life to work in patch form!
Gear Threads is brought to you from the offbeat gals at Urban Threads. Created by illustrator Niamh O’Connor, Urban Threads is revolutionizing machine embroidery one edgy, elegant, innovative, and/or offbeat design at a time. Discover the future of digital stitchery at www.urbanthreads.com.