Everybody loves the retro feel of embroidered patches but learn why choosing a woven option for your clothing labels is usually the better option.


Here at Dutch Label Shop we often get asked about the differences between embroidered and woven patches and labels. From a glance, they might be mistaken for one another, but really, the entire production process and outcome is actually very different. Once familiar with the characteristics of each, you will be able to quickly tell them apart, helping you to decide which one suits best.

Both embroidery and weaving are methods commonly used to get a design or pattern onto fabric. They both use threads to illustrate the design, and are both durable and high-quality, making patterns that last a lifetime. However, this is about where the similarities stop. Woven labels are made by interlacing 2 or more yarns together at a right angle, so the entire label is made from scratch to match the design. Embroidered labels are rather different to this, as they start with a plain base material (often cotton drill) and the design or pattern is then stitched onto the top of this base, thus creating a different effect. Both methods have a special place within design and textiles, so continue on for more insight into these techniques.

 Embroidered patch for ironing on clothing in blue and red

Embroidered Labels

Embroidered labels are made by embroidering (stitching) a design directly onto a pre-existing label material using colored threads and specialty stitches. Due to the nature of embroidery, they often have a ‘retro’ feel to them and are reminiscent of both old-school badges and more delicate handiwork.

Embroidered labels are far less common than both woven and printed labels. This method carries a higher production cost and more design limitations, so embroidery concepts are often substituted with the more versatile woven labels, which have a similar look and feel.

 Dutch Label Shop woven labels front and back in peach

Woven Labels

A woven label is made on a jacquard loom that weaves polyester or cotton threads together to produce your desired design. Woven labels are high-quality, long-lasting, and soft against the skin. Your design won't rub off or fade over time because the design is used to make the label, and not just glued or printed onto the surface of a pre-existing label.

Woven labels are a great choice for any brand label as they add a luxurious touch to names, logos, and simple imagery, and can be made in an endless variety of shapes and colors to match your intended design. Woven labels are smooth and soft so are ideal for against the skin and anywhere you don’t want anything bulky to be added. 

Embroidered Vs Woven Patches, Which Is Best?

Due to embroidered patches being stitched onto a base cloth, these patches and labels are usually thicker and more textural. The designs are raised above the base cloth, giving it more of a three-dimensional look, while the layers of stitching add more stiffness to the finished product. Woven patches are much more smooth and soft, with a flat finished surface. The fabric is woven together using different yarns to match the design, making it a part of the label from the beginning. It is possible to get much more detail in a woven patch as the threads used in the weaving process are much thinner than the embroidery threads used to stitch an image onto the already woven base. 

Overall, embroidered patches and iron-on badges give a really great vintage, outdoorsy feel for simple designs made to be on the outside of products. Woven patches and badges are much more suited to detailed designs, and for times when you don't want something so stiff and bulky. However, when choosing between woven and embroidered clothing labels, we believe there is no competition between the two, as woven labels are softer, more durable, and can capture the minute details. If you are still unsure about the pros and cons to all the different types of labels we offer, make sure to check out our Differences Between Woven And Printed Labels article to answer some of those questions you might have.