Embroidered Caps

Guaranteed How to Embroider Caps

This article will focus on Guaranteed How to Embroider Caps; therefore, it is essential to understand the components of cap embroidery. The face fabric and the stabilizer used in manufacturing caps significantly affect the cap’s ability to accept embroidery.

3D Puff Embroidery by Northwest Custom Apparel

When embroidering custom caps, it is crucial to understand the components of custom embroidered hats. The face fabric and the stabilizer used in manufacturing caps significantly affect the cap’s ability to accept embroidery. While twill caps have a reputation for giving a stair-step effect to fine column stitching, poplin caps lack the added stability of the diagonal rib. This rib helps the twill cap withstand stress at high sewing speeds. Poplin may allow a bit more clarity to fine detail, but poplins and twills are generally interchangeable for the embroiderer’s purposes. The popular nylon cap fabrics are dense and require some penetrating power to sew satisfactorily. In fact, wool is very forgiving and generally backed with a high-quality stabilizer.

Custom Embroidery Caps for Roofers make great marketing ideas

Buckram Backings

Osnaburg or buckram backings provide an excellent foundation, while the more open-weave crinoline sometimes has an undesirable starch or glue-type stiffener. Try to avoid stiffeners that react unfavorably to the needle’s heat. Fused backings are the most suitable. However, there are several cap lines available with “flyswatter” stays. Usually made of nylon mesh or buckram, these floating stays support the cap front without being adhered.

There are two distinctly different schools of thought on the best procedure for custom embroidering this cap style: one holds that the stay should be securely fastened into the upper clamp of the frame. In contrast, others believe this is the primary contributor to puckering and poor registration on this type of cap.

Both techniques have produced beautiful cap embroidery, and we recommend you experiment with both methods on your frames to determine the technique that produces the best results for you. The suitability of foam-backed caps is enhanced when the foam has a bonded backing. This prevents the foam from flaking into the bobbin assembly of your machine, and it gives a longer life to the cap.

This is heat transfer used for our retail site 253gear.com


Although you may keep ballpoint needles in your machine most of the time, you may find that some cap fabrics, such as nylons, react more favorably to a sharp needle. Because of the high thread count and strength of the fiber in these fabrics, the needle tip becomes flattened quickly and will need to be replaced after only a few hours of use. Even twill or poplin caps require frequent needle changes because the backings used to support the cap front are dulling to the needle’s point.

Northwest Custom’s Dedicated Cap Embroidery Machines


This does not mean you must unnecessarily stress the custom embroidered cap’s seams in Seattle. Seams with long stitch lengths will not hold up to being stretched to the limit, and plastic tabs may break at the perforations. To begin with, having a cap that conforms to your cap frames is helpful. Adjustable cap frames are also a plus when removing a dimple from a front cap panel.

Older, barrel-style cap frames will perform well with a bit of ingenuity. If the holes in the driver are worn, remove the hardware and attach it to the other end. Essentially, the top of the frame is now the bottom. Here’s another technique that can remove some of the play from older frames: Attach a strong rubber band to the strap holder on the underside of the frame. Attach the other end of the rubber band to any available hardware on the machine, on either the left or right side. This holds the wandering frame in check.

Since 1977 we have stitched over 1 million caps

The metal piece provided on some frames to secure the back strap of the cap may not permanent. You may want to place the strap over the bend in the metal holder rather than the standard placement. Once you decide how the leather or plastic strap should be adjusted to best fit onto the frame tautly, speed up the framing process by having a helper pre-adjust the straps.

Use care in handling your cap frames. They can become bent, affecting the cap embroidery area you must work with. In effect, you force them to bend back into the proper shape; metal fatigue is accelerated.


Let your digitizer know beforehand if you are considering running a design on a cap. This file could also be suitable for other uses, such as bulky-knit sweaters. The special programming techniques used by your digitizer can include extra underlay, additional column width where needed, reduction or elimination of some outlining and outlining in sections to maintain registration. Remember that tiny lettering is not practical when cap embroidering on finished caps. If a design is very detailed, you may need to create versions that do not compromise the desired look yet will allow you to achieve reasonable production efficiency.

In some instances, the same programming will work for golf shirts and custom snapback caps from Richardson Headwear, particularly in a bold design. More often, however, it is necessary to customize the program to the vastly different requirements of cap embroidery. An improperly designed file for cap embroidery can result in almost constant thread breaks and a shabby job.

Bowen Scarff uses Trucker Caps to promote their Kent Store


The dynamics of embroidery on a curved surface are very different than on a flat surface. In most instances, a raised throat modifies the machine. Some machines also need parameter setting changes to alter the timing of the pantograph’s movement about the needle penetrations. The cap embroidery machine requires more time to recover from these movements and more time for the needle to clear the higher throat plate. It is best to run the machine at a moderate speed. Experimentation will help determine the best speed for your embroidery machine. Generally, you will achieve the best results at 500 spm (stitches per minute) or fewer.


Try various toppings to improve cap embroidery quality if you have ragged columns, lost detail, or poor coverage. These include heat- and water-soluble varieties, standard dry cleaner bags, and tear-away backing. Twill or corduroy cap embroidery that allow small lettering to fall into the ribs.  Try a water-soluble topping, and remove it with steam. If you have a detailed design to apply to a wide-wale corduroy. The topping fabric remains under the cap embroidery. After removing the excess, place the cap under a cap heat press. 

verage is poor; try using tear-away backing as a topping in this manner. Choose a color of tear-away that will be of the most help to the embroidery design,. For example, if you are getting poor coverage using white thread on a black Sanmar corduroy embroidered cap, you will want to use white tear-away. Lay or tape the tear-away to the embroidered cap front and embroider the underlay portion of the fill. Remove the tear-away and complete the embroidery design. The tearaway will remain beneath the cap embroidery for the life of the embroidered cap. Ensuring that the pile or nap will always hold below the cap embroidery surface. Therefore, you may use a larger thread size instead of a topping. For instance, a size 30 to fill areas on this cap surface. Detail colors on top of the fill areas will still be best executed with a size 40.

About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!