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Guaranteed How to Embroider Caps

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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.

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.

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.

USE THE CORRECT NEEDLE TYPE AND CHANGE THEM OFTEN

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.

FRAME CONSISTENTLY AND SNUGLY EMBROIDER CAPS

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.

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.

TELL YOUR DIGITIZER THAT THE DESIGN WILL BE USED ON A FINISHED EMBROIDERED CAP

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.

WHEN EMBROIDERING WITH CAP FRAMES, SLOWER IS FASTER.

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.

USE TOPPINGS

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. 

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Antonio-Massey

Antonio Massey

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Antonio Massey recently joined NWCA in June of 2022. His role on the Production Team has greatly improved our processes and productivity. Antonio is always willing to lift heavy boxes or help his co-workers during busy times. In his free time, he enjoys playing with his dog and mastering video games.

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Ruth Nhoung is our Production Manager and Northwest Custom Apparel is lucky to have her. Thanks to her vast knowledge of machine embroidery and dedication to creating a comfortable and supportive work environment, the production plant runs smoothly and customers are pleased with our work. She is a loving mother and grandmother and enjoys spending quality time with her siblings. She says, “I love everything about Northwest Custom Apparel: the people, the atmosphere, the work, and the customers. I love what I do and I embrace all of NWCA’s core values”.

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Nika Lao is very knowledgeable in how the business is ran because she began as an Embroidery Machine Operator and has worked hard to become the excellent and personable saleswoman she is today. She enjoys the stress-free environment and the many chances to connect with her co-workers over potlucks, BBQs, and bowling parties. Nika is a proud sister of two highly successful brothers and can boast mastering three languages herself: Khmer, Thai, and English. She is an avid camper, enjoys going to farmer markets, and loves cooking.

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Jim Mickelson, after a successful career with a major oil company, founded Northwest Embroidery in 1977. This was the first commercial embroidery in the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, Jim has become the guru of embroidery never refusing to answer a question or offer advice to his fellow embroiders. Jim and his wife Leeanna raised four wonderful children who went on to successful business careers.

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The company I work for has been buying custom apparel for the team members for years now. We love working with NW Custom Apparel because the process is easy, delivery is timely, and materials are high quality. Anytime I’ve ever had an issue, they’re quick to resolve it. We’ve purchased both embroidered items and DTG graphic tees. We’ve purchased blankets, shirts, jackets, hoodies, etc. Everything ends up looking super professional, and our team members always have positive things to say. Ally is always there at the warehouse with a smile and a friendly greeting when I pick up materials. She is so helpful and respectful. Taylar is a wonderful customer service rep. I’ve sent her some complicated orders—like 20 different items with all different colorways and styles or 150 items with three different styles—and she is so good at getting everything just right. I plan to continue purchasing from NW Custom for high-quality custom apparel.
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