Let’s Embroider Baseball Caps!
My husband is nearly bald and really ought to wear hats every day. To that end, I have decided to make him a set of ball caps that he’ll wear daily. The caps are in Black, Burgundy, and Navy Blue because he most often wears shirts in those colors.
The biggest challenge with embroidering on baseball is getting the design set up correctly and hooping the hat properly – no wrinkles and held tightly against the hoop.
My Redline 1501 is definitely the machine to handle the ball caps. I have other home machines that do embroidery, but none of them has a cap hoop, which is what is required to properly sew a ball cap.
Redline set up for embroidering using a regular hoop. We need to remove the arms and install the cap hoop before it can start embroidering baseball caps.
When installing the cap hoop, ensure that the rollers align with the track on the underside of the arm of the machine. If they fall below it, then the hoop will be too low and won’t rotate properly. Also, you may not even be able to attach it to the hoop mover bar.
The cap hoop requires a different stitch plate than the standard one. This is what I saw when I pulled the stitch plate off. Looks like someone (me) hasn’t properly cleaned this area in a while. A few swipes with a little brush and some grabbing threads with tweezers cleaned this up efficiently. I also oiled the machine in all its oiling points. I have found that in Arizona because the humidity gets so low oil evaporates much faster than in moister parts of the country. Therefore, oil all the machine’s oiling points every usage session to keep it happy. I have to oil my other machines much more often, too.
Left is the “normal embroidery” needle plate and on right is the cap hoop needle plate. Can you see the difference? The Cap hoop plate sticks up more and the actual flat area near the needle hole is a much smaller circle. This is because baseball caps are curved surfaces.
Cap hoop and cap needle plate in place. There are catch releasers at the 10, 2, and 6 o’clock positions on the cap hoop.
The Redline came with a cap hoop jig. This is a device that holds the cap hoop safely in position and allows you to put the cap on the hoop easily. I have my jig attached to the left side of the machine’s stand. I’m not sure if the jig was designed to be placed there, but I put it there because I have nothing else to clamp it to and don’t want to have it in another room away from the machine. The hoop has a metal band with spiky teeth that help hold the cap in place.
Preparing the cap for embroidery. I have stuffed some stabilizer into the cap. The piece of stabilizer is much larger than the design, but it’s nice to have some extra stabilizer inside while embroidering in case the stabilizer shifts a bit while hooping. I also made sure I pulled the hatband out of the way because we don’t want to embroider into the hatband (it’s rather thick and could cause distortion in the embroidery if it were accidentally included in the embroidery)
Putting cap onto the hoop. Try to align the center mark on that piece of metal with the center seam of the hat. Also, will need to push the hatband underneath that piece of metal.
That’s good: the hatband underneath the piece of metal and the hat center aligned with the line.
Pull the toothy metal band over the cap and lock it in place as close to the brim as possible. Smooth out the hat so that there are no lumps. Binder clips work well on the bars sticking out from the hoop to hold the rest of the hat taught.
Hat hooped nicely with binder clips in place holding it tight against the hoop so that there are no wrinkles and little to no movement of the cap.
Cap hoop on machine. To get it in place, rotate the cap to the right enough to get the brim under the needles, then push it into place. Select the hat embroidery file and the hat hoop (J). When you create a hat embroidery file and select the cap hoop, the Redline knows to flip the design upside down. The design should be shown upside down on the machine’s screen. Trace the design to be sure that the hoop is in the correct position – hitting the toothy metal strap with the needle would break the needle and possibly damage the embroidering foot, so the trace is necessary to ensure that the design is embroidering far enough away from the hardware.
Action shot: first stitch on the cap. The light just barely manages to shine through because the cap’s brim is in the way.
All finished!! Trim the stabilizer from the back of the embroidery and hand the hat over to hubby.