heat pressed or hand stitched patch hats

A common question we get asked is, “What’s better? Heat pressed or hand stitched patch hats?” While we almost always recommend hand stitched, there are circumstances where heat pressing is the right choice. A number of factors contribute to your decision, and we’ll go over a few of the reasons you might choose one over the other.


When it comes down to the look of your patch hat, hand stitching always wins out. It’s the classic patch hat look, looks nicely finished and clean, and it doesn’t indent the hat or leave marks on the patch.

With heat pressing, you’ll flatten the merrow, indent the hat, and potentially see some heat marks on the patch from the machine. What we hate seeing is the indent on the hat from the heat press machine. 

Some hats, like the Richardson 257 7-panel simply cannot be heat pressed due to the shape of the crown. Others, like the Richardson 112, or the Yupoong 6006, handle it better. 

Custom Heat Pressed Team Hats


A hand stitched patch application will last as long as the hat does. That patch isn’t going anywhere your hat’s not going. You would need a seam ripper to get that thing off. 

Heat pressed patches, however, are subject to heat and moisture, and could begin peeling off if subjected to the elements. And improper heat press application can actually result in the patches being easily peeled off straight out of the box. 


There is a small price break for heat pressing at larger volumes, and this can be a great option for people who intend to give their hats away. 

Custom Heat Pressed Die Cut Patch Hats

Patch Design

Leather and PVC patches can only be hand stitched to hats due to the material of the patch. You risk burning or melting the patch, and they simply look ugly without that tidy stitch line on the edge.

The only patch we’d choose to heat press instead of hand stitch is a die cut patch with an irregular edge or funky shape. It’s more economical and since there is no merrow, there’s no risk of flattening the patch in an unnatural way. The hat may still be subject to indentation, but we always try to help you choose a hat that will be best suited to heat pressing. 

hand stitched leather patch hat

While we’ll always work to your specifications, we cannot recommend hand stitching enough. It’s got that hat-loving human touch that sets our hats apart from the competition. And, it’s heirloom quality, a patch hat your grandkids will wear unironically as a nod to “vintage style.”

We can’t guarantee they won’t roll their eyes at your tales of yesteryear, but we can guarantee that patch will be on there when they ask to have your old hats.