April 24, 2018

​4 Embroidery Problems with Hats — and How to Solve Them

Submitted by Kelly Glass

Hats are one the most widely used items for promotional products and spreading marketing messages. You see them everywhere, branded with company logos, short clever quips and brand names.

There’s only one problem. Embroidering hats, specifically ball caps, can be a pretty big hassle. Here are the top four problems with getting embroidered artwork on ball caps, and what you can do to solve them.

Problem: Not Enough Space
Your client may have the most fabulous logo the world has ever seen, but if it can’t be shrunk down to stay within the constraints of the hat world, then no one will ever be able to appreciate. Hats have a limited amount of embroidery space — generally only about 2.25” high, but that number changes based on the type of hat and how it’s constructed.

Solution: Make sure your client knows exactly what type of hat they want so you can be clear about the artwork requirements. Better yet, learn about the limitations and let them know in advance.

Problem: No Stability
Caps are a mushy mess when it comes to stability. The bill is generally pretty firm, but from there up, there’s not really anything to keep the fabric from moving around while it’s being embroidered. That means designs may end up bunching the fabric or moving out of place.

Solution: Work from the bottom up. Make sure the embroiderer starts from the most stable part of the hat (the bill) and extends from the center outward. This pushes the fabric, instead of pulling it, causing it to stay taut and lessening the consequences of instability.

Problem: That Annoying Seam
Six-panel caps, the most common type, are a headache all on their own because of the seam that runs right down the middle of the front embroidery space. The difference in fabric thickness throughout that seam (high on either side and low in the middle) can sauce massive distortions of your client’s design.

Solution: It can be as simple as enlarging the logo or reducing the detail, especially if there’s small text. That way the letters or intricate logo aspects won’t look weird when they interact with the seam. Try to see the hat in advance, as well, so you can pick one out that has minimal height difference between the panel and the seam.

Problem: Artwork Distortion
Hats present a particular challenge when working with art, because the shape isn’t the same as a garment or product that would lay flat while you embroider it. What ends up happening is a final image that’s distorted. This is especially true with circular logos that can end up looking oval or egg-shaped once on the cap.

Solution: Embroidery digitizing. You’ll want to make sure this is done for every logo you intend to put on a cap. A good digitizer, like the ones at Idea Custom Solutions, will be able to modify the design to make sure it shows exactly how you want it on the finished product.


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