Saturday, April 1, 2017

Embroidery Digitizing - Hats - New Placements, Old Problems

Hats are a very popular item to embroider but a stinker on the production: Not all designs are created equal when the customer decides they want hats. For a little while now, I’ve seen more of a trend towards different placements that I want to address.

Most hat jobs are the usual front design with maybe a back design arced over the keyhole or straight for flex flit type styles. Customers are trying to come up with new spots to embroider that stray from this by embroidering a design on the side of the hat or placing a design on the front panel to one side within the two seams. I’ve even seen a “bug” style logo squished down into the bottom right side of the left side panel. Limitations include the kind of hat frame used for the job but for the most part, you have approx. 3” of sewing space between seams (on a six-panel baseball type cap) and around 2” tall for height on the front two panels and 1.5” height on side panels.  These are very small areas and not every design will be able to shrink to those dimensions. 

You’ll need a simpler design with minimal or no text to fit those spots effectively.  Font style and size are very important, not too fancy and not too small.  Even ¼” text, which is normally considered minimum for flats, is too small for hats without a fill of some kind for support underneath it. Of course, there’s a gray area depending on the brand and fabric of the hats as usual.

While I understand the appeal of doing an alternate placement to make the hat different than the mainstream, you must understand the limitations of embroidery and your customer’s logo and be able to explain it to them and come up with an option that works for both of you.

Know your hat frame and sewing fields/available area so that you have that information for the digitizer.  That way, the design can be created at the correct size and without secondary editing and resizing to get it to fit.  Educate your customer to be flexible and realistic about what will fit the area to be embroidered.  Know that the same issues with registration on hats still exist and be mindful that you are sewing up and away from the center seam whether you will be crossing the seam or not.  This means that the design is not interchangeable should the customer change their mind and decide to sew it center front after all. 

If you talk to your customer and spend a moment to describe the issues and get to final answer before the digitizing, you may avoid costly edits and restarts to get to the finished order.  Hats are one of the most challenging garments that we embroider on but spend the time to understand the issues at hand and what your hat frame is capable of doing and you’ll be on your way to more hat jobs with happy clients!

**For more information on NeedleUp’s digitizing services, visit our website at or contact Donna Lehmann by email:

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