Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Play Ball! Tips for Embroidering on Caps



It’s one of the first signs of spring you’ll hear, along with chirping birds and lawn mowers…Play Ball! And what accompanies playing ball? Baseball caps! One of the staples of the embroidery business, embroidered ball caps are customizable, collectible, and clearly revenue producers. As your cap business scales up, here are some tips to keep in mind…

Avoid Distortion
In preparing to embroider on a paneled cap with a seam running down the middle of the front, apply heat or steam to the seam in order to break down the sizing in the fabric and soften the seam. It will be easier for the needle to penetrate the layers of fabric. In designs that fill in over the center seam, an underlay of zig zag stitches secures the cap to its stabilizer and makes for a more even surface for stitches to fill.

Digitizing
Cap designs need special planning at the digitizing stage. Digitize from the center…out, and from the bottom…to the top. This will allow less movement during stitching. Keep your design in registration by stitching each individual element to completion rather than completing all fill, then satin, then outline stitches.

Hooping
The profile of your cap will determine the size of the design you are able to apply. Hoop the cap frame as tightly as possible. A 270 degree cap frame can be used when the sides, as well as the front, of the cap are to be embroidered.

Needles
A Titanium needle will add extra strength. Or a Teflon® or other non-stick coated needle will cut down on the friction between needle and cap fabric. Or, you can apply a light coating of silicon spray to enhance stitching. A #75/11 sharp is a good choice for caps.

Thread
For prolonged exposure to sunlight, a 100% polyester embroidery thread is your best bet. For complex designs without the fear of fading from sunlight, rayon would be a good choice. A sturdy 50 or 40 weight metallic thread can be used for highlighting or special effect.

Stabilizers
Cap backing is available in both pre-cuts and rolls. Pre-cuts are usually 7” wide to accommodate just the front of the cap, or 12” to stabilize the sides as well. Stabilizers are usually 2.5 or 3.0 ounces in weight. For embroidering the back strap of a cap, use Stick-On stabilizer. For best embroidery results, always use a stabilizer on caps!

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