Green UK Flag Patch Iron Sew On Union Jack United Kingdom Army Embroidered Badge

Patching Together the Past: A Journey Through the History of Patches


Patches are more than just pieces of fabric; they carry a rich tapestry of history, culture, and personal expression. In this blog post, we'll embark on a journey through time to discover the origins of patches, their evolution into iron-on patches, and the role they've played in military, ancient, medieval, biker, and hippie cultures. Plus, we'll introduce you to ELLU, a treasure trove of iron-on and sew-on patches available at

The First Patch - A Stitch in Necessity

Patching has been around since humans first began wearing clothing. In ancient times, our ancestors used patches primarily for practical reasons – to mend tears and reinforce fabric. These early patches were stitched together with great care, ensuring that garments lasted longer in a world where textiles were precious commodities.

Military and Army Usage - A Badge of Honour

The military has a long history of using patches as symbols of rank, unit identity, and achievements. It's believed that ancient Roman legions used embroidered patches to distinguish their units. During World War I and II, military patches became more standardized, with each division having its unique insignia. These patches were a source of pride for soldiers and continue to be an integral part of military uniforms today.

Medieval Patches - A Heraldic Tradition

In the medieval era, patches took on a new dimension as heraldic symbols. Knights and nobles adorned their Armor, banners, and clothing with patches displaying their family crests, colours, and affiliations. These patches were a way of identifying friend from foe on the battlefield and celebrating noble heritage.

Biker Patches - The Road to Brotherhood

The biker culture of the 20th century introduced a unique twist to patches. Motorcycle clubs adopted patches to signify club membership and rank. The iconic "biker vest" adorned with patches became a symbol of brotherhood and rebellion. Each patch told a story, from the club's name to the rider's accomplishments and affiliations.

Decorative Patches - The Artistic Flourish

As textile production advanced, decorative patches became popular in high society. Elaborate designs and intricate embroidery adorned clothing, signalling status and taste. Patches transformed from mere repairs into artistic statements, contributing to the world of fashion.

Patches During the Hippie Era - A Symbol of Freedom

The 1960s and 1970s marked a turning point in patch history. Hippies used patches to express their ideals of peace, love, and freedom. These patches featured vibrant, psychedelic designs and slogans, serving as a visual representation of counterculture values.

The Advent of Iron-On Patches

In the 20th century, the invention of iron-on patches revolutionized the way people adorned their clothing. These patches came with a heat-activated adhesive on the back, making them easy to attach with a hot iron. This innovation democratized patch culture, allowing anyone to customize their attire with minimal effort.

Discover ELLU: Your Patch Destination

To explore the diverse world of patches and add a touch of history and personal expression to your wardrobe, visit ELLU at ELLU offers a wide selection of iron-on and sew-on patches that capture the essence of various cultures, movements, and styles, allowing you to wear your passions proudly.


Patches have woven themselves into the fabric of human history, symbolizing everything from practicality and tradition to rebellion and artistic expression. From ancient origins to military insignia, medieval heraldry to biker brotherhood, and the free spirit of the hippie era to the convenience of iron-on patches, this journey has shown that patches have stood the test of time. Explore the world of patches at ELLU, and wear your story with pride.
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