How to create perfect shapes with embroidery for hats and beanies



What is custom embroidery?

Embroidery is a process to create your design by stitching different colored threads.

As you probably know, embroidery is a “go to” method for adding your artwork to garments and accessories. Within the embroidery process, your digital artwork is converted or “digitized” into a file that plots all of your artwork’s shapes as individual stitches. This file will be ready by commercial embroidery machines to produce your final finished product.

What’s so great about custom embroidery?

Custom embroidery is one of the best processes to create custom products for your clothing line for a few reasons. First and foremost, with the right artwork you can create incredible high quality finished products. The stitch based approach provides texture and quality to the garment. Second, commercial embroidery can be cost effective for bulk production and for producing items on demand. Lastly, embroidery can be used on products like hats & beanies, where traditional printing approach are limited. This means you can use embroidery to artwork to a greater variety of products than printing alone.

Are there any drawbacks to using embroidery?

Yes and no.

Embroidery requires that your artwork is setup well. Embroidery requires a limited use of colors and cannot support all fine details (like small text) that could be printed using other processes. Additionally, embroidery files must be setup before they can be run, so there are some initial costs to be expected as you create each embroidery artwork.

But for artwork that is setup with embroidery in mind, there are few drawbacks in general. However, there are a few types of standard embroidery results that are better supported with different embroidery approaches.

Extremely Popular Hat Designs That You Think Will Work With Embroidery, But Won’t

So everyone has seen hats that have a perfect little circle, square, or rectangle with beautiful artwork stitched onto the front. Since it’s stitched, it’s embroidery right?

Well not quite!

While direct embroider can be used to create those perfect little squares, circles, etc, extra care and precautions must be used when trying to construct a perfect geometric shape on a hat and beanie.

With hats, the problem lies in the fact that the surface of the hat where you are embroidering is not flat, it is in fact a round surface. When you go to stitch a perfect square on a round surface, there is a natural distortion that happens and the design “pinches” in. Most commercial embroidery machines cannot automatically make corrections to ensure perfect shapes look perfect on round hats.

With beanies, the issue lies in the fact that most beanies are very unstructured (meaning unstable or floppy) and they use exceptionally large threads of textiles to construct the finished garment. Both of these factors make it more difficult to get consistently clean embroidery results.

How the pros manufacture to get better margins and cleaner products

The answer is surprisingly simple. If you want your shapes to be perfect on header, the absolute best way to create the finished product is to start with creating embroidered patches.

Embroidered patches will hold their shape perfectly, even when sewn onto a floppy beanie, or a curved hat. The beauty of embroidered patches is that they come complete with their own structured backing so they will not loose their shape when sewn onto products.

In many cases you will find the best way to start your adventure on creating your own custom headwear is to design a great patch!

Happy creating 👊,

Circle Patch example