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PVC Patches VS Embroidery Patches – What’s the Difference

pvs vs embroided patches

Custom patches for clothes are increasingly revered by the general populace, especially in the younger generation of Millennials and Gen Z. Patches have become the go-to staple for showing off your personality and making a statement.

In the past, when patches were seen as a way to make a political statement, they have more stylistic connotations now, with most people using them to represent their individuality. However, many people new to the custom patches universe find it confusing. They do not know which type of patches fit their personality.

Fortunately, as the only one-stop shop for custom patches in the USA, we are happy to help you choose. This blog has outlined all the differences between PVC and embroidered patches. Let’s have a look!

PVC vs. Embroidered Patches?

Before getting into the nitty-gritty, let us individually examine PVC and embroidered patches.

What Is A PVC Patch?

A Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC patch is a plastic derivative with the look and feel of rubber. These patches are the most widely used as they are easy to mass-produce. They are made from the oldest type of plastic known to science. PVC material can withstand harsh temperatures and is very resistant to wear and tear. PVC patches are easy to mold into any shape.

What Is An Embroidered Patch?

Embroidered patches, as their name suggests, are embroidered on a patch of leather or cloth. These types of patches have been popular for a long time. They were used by military personnel as a rank identifier and to embellish royal clothes in the Middle East, South America, and Asia. The embroidered patches used a thick thread with a shiny fabric appearance.

Differences Between PVC and Embroidery Patches

Following is a list of all the key differences between PVC and embroidery patches:


Embroidered patches for clothes are much more eco-friendly than a custom PVC patch. Since PVC patches are made up of polyvinyl chloride material, they add to the non-biodegradable waste buildup. On the other hand, embroidered patches are fully biodegradable and thus much more eco-friendly.


The most pertinent factor that attracts people to PVC patches is their high durability. PVC patches maintain their quality and shape in extreme conditions. While embroidered patches also have great longevity, they need to be protected in certain conditions, like from water in the rain or from the sand on the beach.


What attracts most people to embroidered patches for clothes is the aesthetic value. It is no surprise that aesthetics are what drive people to buy custom patches. Embroidered patches give off a vintage vibe that cannot be expressed in PVC patches. However, this doesn’t mean PVC patches don’t have their aesthetic attached to them. PVC patches of various types, including grunge, cyberpunk, and pastel, give off their aesthetics based on the design.

Production Method

The production method for PVC patches is very straightforward. It can be made in an assembly line or in a small-scale workshop. The base color is first poured into the mold, and then more colors are added to create a unique design.

On the flip side, embroidery patches are meticulously sewn using needle and thread on a patch of cloth or leather. Each stitch takes time, effort, and expertise to create a distinctive design.

Mass Production

PVC patches are easily mass-producible, while embroidered patches are not. This is because embroidered patches require manual labor, while PVC patches can be created in a production line. However, custom PVC patches are much more challenging to mass-produce than assembly-line PVC patches.


Both patches are highly customizable to the extent that they can be made in any shape, design, color, or material. One of the biggest reasons patches are still widely beloved is their uniqueness.


Due to their high durability and mass producibility, PVC patches are used by firefighters and law enforcement units. Military forces, sports teams, and paramedics use embroidery patches. Aside from these professions, PVC and embroidered patches can be used in a more custom setting to spruce up an outfit or clothing, such as a cap, backpack, jacket, jeans, handbag, school bag, or wallet.


Since PVC is more accessible to produce and requires less labor, it has lower labor costs than embroidered patches. On the other hand, PVC material is much more expensive than embroidered patches, so it has higher material costs.


The production time for a PVC patch is significantly less than that of an embroidered patch. This is because PVC patches are made using a polyvinyl pouring method, where the brunt of the product time is taken up by the patch drying after being poured. However, even by an expert, embroidery takes much longer to sew on the design, add glue to hold its intended shape, and then dry it.


Both PVC and embroidered patches allow much room for variety but in different aspects. The variety in PVC patches comes in the form of a wide range of color and design options, while the variety in embroidery patches comes in the form of different types and colors of threads, including reflective threads, neon threads, photoluminescent silk threads, gold threads, metallic threads, silver threads, and the sparkly sequins threads.

Design Limitations

There are next to no design limitations when it comes to custom patches. Whatever design you have your heart set on can be easily translated to both PVC and embroidered patches.


Detailing in both types of patches is very different. Detailing on PVC patches can be very defined, while the detailing on embroidered patches is prominent but still within the realm of the design. The details only stand out if you look for them in embroidered patches, which is the opposite in PVC.

Water Resistant

PVC patches are entirely water-resistant, while embroidered patches are not.

Add Ons

Both patches offer various types of add-ons. Here are all of them:

● PVC has an add-on that makes it glow in the dark. Some also allow a sewing channel for convenience and various levels of thickness.

● Embroidered has add-ons like camouflage twill, crystals, frayed edges, gingham lines, glow-in-the-dark thread, magnetic backing, magnetic patch, merrowed border, metallic thread, neon threads, puff patches, reflective, and vintage worn style.

Border Styles

PVC doesn’t offer that many types of border styles. However, embroidered patches provide more flexibility with laser cutting, frayed, plain embroidered, and merrowed.


Both offer the same type of backing, including iron-on, velcro hook, adhesive, or no backing.


PVC patches offer 2-D and 3-D options. 2-D PVC patches have a more flat edge feel to their layers, while a 3-D PVC patch gives off a sculptured look. Embroidered patches also offer a 3-D option with puff embroidery.

Final Words

Both PVC and embroidered patches are great conduits for showcasing your personality. Each has its qualities that outshine the others. We have highlighted all the differences between custom PVC patches and custom embroidered patches for clothes. However, the final decision on which one to choose depends on each person’s preference. You can go for PVC patches if you prefer a more durable, water-resistant, cost-effective patch with prominent detailing. On the other hand, if you choose one with more add-on options, border styles, and a vintage feel, you should go for an embroidered patch.

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