Cap Embroidery Designs - Tips and Best Practices

Cap Embroidery
Embroidery on caps is perhaps the single most difficult and time-consuming process because caps are curved and are made up of thick material.
Therefore, cap embroidery designing needs to take into account several facts and issues that may occur. Not just designing, even digitizing the logo for embroidering on caps needs to be specialized since a general digitized image might result in issues like needle breaking, bird nesting, and loss of registration.

Type of Caps and the Tips to Embroider on Point

There are majorly two kinds of caps that are used for embroidering. Structured and unstructured caps look different and need different digitization processes as well as embroidery processes.
So, here are some tips and best practices to go through before you start embroidering caps of either kind:

Structured Caps

Structured caps are those that have a thick fabric and a defined shape. While the standard embroidery needle is the 75/11 sharp point needle, since the structured caps are thick, they require one size up from the standard needle which is the 80/12 sharp point needles.
Since the structured caps already have a defined shape, just a single layer of light tearaway backing is sufficient.

Avoidance of Common Issues

Since the material is very thick, needles can break occasionally. However, if the cap is not hooped on tightly, needle breaks become quite frequent.
Many people use water or heat to soften the fabric of the structured cap while embroidering. However, it might cause the embroidery needles to rust. Slightly damping up the fabric can help flattening out the canvas for the embroidery while avoiding rusting issues.
Proper hooping which tightens the fabric for a smooth surface for the machine to embroider on is necessary to avoid issues like bird nesting. This issue might waste thread as well as ruin the design and the chances of a neat and finished look.

Unstructured Caps

Unstructured caps do not have a defined circular shape because the fabric is softer. The brim of the unstructured cap is also not as hard as that of a structured cap.
The standard 75/11 needle is sufficient for this cap since the material is softer. However, tight hooping is necessary for unstructured caps as well.

Additional Requirements for Unstructured Caps

One additional requirement for unstructured caps is doubling or tripling the tearaway backing. The decision to double or triple the backing is based on how flimsy or stretchy the material is and therefore, the level of stabilization it needs. Cutaway backing can also be used for unstructured caps. Using temporary adhesive spray also improves the stabilizer as the cap sticks to the backing, making the material more stable and smoother for the embroidery machine to work on.
Loss of registration is a common problem in unstructured caps. In this issue the cap shifts during the embroidery process resulting in gaps and distortion in the design.

Hooping the Cap Appropriately on the Machine

A cap ring is the basic tool for embroidering on a cap. It is necessary to unstrap the cap and pull away the sweatband when hooping onto the machine. The cap should also be latched on to the machine from the sweatband.
The cap should be flush with the curved surface and the latch that holds the cap in place should be in line with the brim of the cap

Specialized Digitizing for Caps

Expert digitizers know that digitizing for caps is not as simple as digitizing for flat machines. This is because caps have overlapping fabric which causes needles to break.
Therefore, expert digitizers like those at Ambitious Embroidery know that the logo needs to be digitized from bottom up or from the center out. This assures that the needle is flattening out the tough part of the cap in initial stages and laying the foundation for the design so the embroidery machine can stitch freely over it without any loss or registration or needle breaks.
So, it is advised to always choose experts for digitizing logos for cap embroidery and experienced individuals for hooping the cap onto the embroidery machine to minimize losses.