Monday, 11 July 2011

How to do Cap Embroidery?

Embroidering hats. It can be easy and fun with the right tips and techniques so let’s get started on the subject of cap embroidery.
Are you getting a professional, crisp result when you machine embroider on caps? We’ve all had a problem from time to time getting the design to lay nicely on the front or back of a cap but with a little knowledge you will soon be putting out the perfect production with half the stress and in half the time. When we talk about embroidery on hats, it is usually in the context of embroidering using a standard or wide cap frame. The designs are usually digitized from the center working out to the sides and from the bottom of the design (closest to the bill) up to the top of the cap. If the design you are machine embroidering is high in detail, it’s best to work it in segments, working out from the center.  If you follow this technique, there is less chance of design distortion.  While there will always be movement when sewing a cap on a tubular frame, working from the center out should keep it to a minimum.  Backing is also important in reducing design distortion.  It serves to decrease the movement in the frame, and in doing so improves design quality. Try not to be skimpy on the backing.  A nice long piece to reach from side to side will help to stabilize the cap in production.  These are the frames that require the most specific digitizing in order to minimize the amount of movement within the frame and, consequently, the amount of distortion. Embroidery on the back of caps is usually placed on an arc and sewn in a flat frame.  Although some embroiderers sew cap backs on a standard cap frame, it doesn’t hold the cap as firmly as a flat frame. When sewing flat, the frame that I use is a round 12mm frame, and the letters are placed on a 3-inch arc. New clamping frames have hit the market, which are specifically designed to tightly hold the cap during this process. They really save time and effort and should be considered.Where the 5-panel cap, the one with a solid front, is the easiest to embroider on because you don’t have to deal with the seam in front, it is the least in demand. Old fashion is what I hear from most of my cap customers. The 6-panel cap is the most popular and the structured (the one with support in the front) 6-panel cap is the most popular in my store.  Working with the 6-panel cap may be a challenge in itself because of the seam in the front. If it posses a problem with your design, add a column of zigzag stitches in the front where the seam will fall and that should hold the design up and out of the seam. You will want to put a new, sharp (as opposed to ball-point) needle in each color needed for any cap embroidery because of the thickness of most hats. This will reduce the number of thread breaks and keep your letters crisp and neat. The head wear market is constantly changing; new products are being added as other products are retired, all in an effort to keep pace with the ever-changing fads and fashion. Adding these products often requires a quick course in framing techniques and new products. Make sure you keep up on changing products, accessories and framing devices because these are the tools that prepare you and keep you ready to tackle the new challenges constantly coming your way.
So from one embroiderer to another, “Lets put ‘em in stitches!”

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