With all of the options for ordering custom patches — choosing the design, shape, and backing type — patch borders are an often overlooked element. Choosing the right type of border for your patch is important to your emblem’s appearance, and is another way to help convey your unique style and voice. The right border will put the finishing touches on your patch, whether that be adding to a sophisticated, sleek look or showing off a more vintage style.
The two main types of patch borders are laser cut borders and Merrow borders. Depending on what you’re looking for, either border type can be a great option.
Laser Cut Borders
Laser cut borders, sometimes known as satin stitch borders or hot cut borders, are the most commonly used patch border. This method is done by embroidering or stitching the border directly onto your patch, and then cutting the patch as close as possible around the border with a laser or hot scissors. The borders themselves are typically between one-sixteenth and one-eighth of an inch thick.
Laser cut borders are great for patches with complex or unique shapes, since the border is embroidered before cutting out the patch, and the hot cutting tools can more precisely create extreme shapes and angles. To prevent fraying of what little material is left on the outside of the stitch, the fabric is usually melted (called “border baking”), creating a clean wax-like heat seal on the outside.
Merrow borders, also known as overlock sewing borders, provide the most traditional embroidered look to any patch. The Merrow stitch is named after the Merrow® sewing machine, which was the first type of sewing machine to popularize the overlock stitch in the 1930s. The overlock stitch wraps around the outside of the patch, forming a wrapped thread border two to four millimeters wide. This technique adds weight and durability to the patch material and eliminates the possibility of frayed edges.
Merrow borders work best on woven, traditional-looking embroidered patches because the wrapped thread border lends itself to that particular style, and they can even add an old-school vintage look to motorcycle or name tag patches. Because of the thick border and overlocked stitch, this type of border is ideally used on very simple shapes, i.e., circles, triangles, rectangles, or shield-shaped patches with no sharp inside angles.From small town club meetings and summer camps to large-scale events and parades, Southwest Emblem can help you decide which type of custom patches and borders will be the best choice for your desired look. We are ready to provide you with the best quality custom-made patches, lapel pins, medals, and embroidery products, so contact us today!