Using a Durkee cap frame for easy baseball cap embroidery

By on November 21st, 2022
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Easy machine embroidery on a baseball cap using a Durkee cap frame
free machine embroidery designs
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Interested in embroidering on a baseball cap, but scared to give it a try? Have no fear – all you need is the right accessory. I recently received a Durkee cap frame to use on my little single needle PE535 embroidery machine and OMG – it made embroidering on a baseball cap so much easier!

In this post, I’ll explain why you may want to embroider on a baseball cap, outline the challenges of doing so, and demonstrate what makes Durkee cap frames so useful when you are embroidering on a baseball cap.

Why embroider on a baseball cap

Baseball caps are popular choice of head gear as they are comfortable, practical and stylish. And they are worn by both kids and adults.

But, look around, and you will notice that just about every baseball cap has some type of embroidered design or logo on the front.

Embroidering on a baseball cap allows you to express your individual style, create unique gifts for friends and family or show team spirit. If you own an embroidery machine, you can outfit everyone in your family with personalized caps that will stand out from the crowd.

The challenges of embroidering on a baseball cap

Unfortunately, baseball caps can be difficult to embroider. Baseball caps are curved and your embroidery area is flat. In addition, the brim of a baseball cap can get in the way as well as that pesky inside flap of fabric (the sweatband). The baseball cap material can pose an embroidery challenge as well. It’s often thick and stiff making it difficult to pierce though with an embroidery needle.

For these reasons, many people avoid embroidering on baseball cap altogether.

But, if you are running an embroidery business, avoiding baseball cap embroidery is a missed opportunity. Baseball caps are cheap and adding embroidering to the front (and/or even the side and back) increases their value substantially. You can easily sell a $5-$7 blank baseball cap for $20-$30 with some custom embroidery.

Solutions for embroidering on baseball caps

Fortunately there are various solutions to help you embroider on baseball caps.

A cylindrical hoop on a multi-needle embroidery machine

The most obvious solution is to use what some people call a “hat embroidery machine.” This is essentially a multi-needle embroidery machine with a cylindrical hoop attachment. You put the hat on the cylinder and it spins in order to embroider on different areas of the cap.

embroidering a hat using a cylindrical cap hoop

Sounds great, right? The downside is that cylindrical cap hoops only work with multi-needle machines. And you can’t get a cylindrical hat hoop for every type of multi-needle. For example, the popular Janome MB-7 will not accept a cylindrical cap attachments.

In addition, cylindrical hoop attachments are expensive – at least $1000. When you add this in to the cost of a multi-needle machine and the cost of supplies, you are looking at an investment of around $8000. For most people, this is just too much money to spend on embroidering baseball caps.

Even if budget is not a consideration, a multi-needle machine with a cylindrical cap driver takes up a lot of space. So, it may not be the ideal for the average machine embroiderer.

Embroidering on a baseball cap without any special embroidery hoop

You don’t need a fancy cylindrical hoop to machine embroider on a baseball cap. It is actually possible to embroider on a cap using a standard flat embroidery hoop. You just use some sticky back stabilizer and flatten down the front of your hat as much as possible.

While this method works, it’s not without its own challenges. First, you must flatten the hat as much as possible while positioning it in an appropriate spot on the sticky back stabilizer. Then, you must pray that it doesn’t move. And finally, you also need to somehow push the sweatband inside the baseball cap out of the way as much as possible so that it doesn’t get caught up in the embroidery.

It’s not easy, and you can’t embroider very close to the brim of the hat, but embroidering a baseball cap on a single needle embroidery machine without any type of hat hoop can be done. It’s just not fun.

Using a Durkee cap frame to embroider on a baseball hat

A Durkee cap frame is a great solution for embroidering on the front (and even the side and back) of a baseball cap – and possibly even better than a cylindrical hoop on a multi-needle machine. It’s an inexpensive, easy to use solution for embroidering on baseball caps.

Durkee cap frames are made to fit right on a single or multi-needle embroidery machine. They have a set of clamps that pinch together two plates that secure the hat brim to keep the hat in place while you are embroidering. This device also helps you push back the sweat band of the cap to prevent it from getting caught up in the embroidery. The design of the Durkee cap frame is also made to give you maximum exposure to the front of the baseball cap. And finally, the Dukee cap frame incorporates some handy reference points to make it super easy to line up the center of the design with the center of the cap.

How to use a Durkee cap frame

One of the key ingredients for success in machine embroidery on a baseball cap is stabilizer. You will need to use some type of sticky back stabilizer to hold the hat in place while you are embroidering. Fortunately, my Durkee cap frame came with pieces of square, sticky-back stabilizer that were perfect for the job.

Durkee cap frame with sticky back stabilizer

1. Start by peeling away the paper from the sticky back stabilizer to expose the sticky surface. Then stick the stabilizer to the back side of the Durkee so that the sticky surface is facing up.

Durkee cap frame with stabilizer

2. Next, position your cap in on the hoop. You will need to open unscrew the clamps. Then, you will stick the hat brim within the plates and tighten up the clamps.

Durkee cap frame with baseball cap

3. Finally, you will need to flatten your cap front onto the exposed sticky stabilizer. To center your cap with the center of the hoop, you can use the reference points on the hoop itself.

Baseball cap in Durkee cap frame

4. Remove your regular embroidery hoop from your embroidery machine and attach your Durkee cap frame to your machine.

Baseball cap in Durkee cap frame in embroidery machine

5. Load in your embroidery design. Make sure that you use a design that will fit in the hoop area. I was a bit cautious and made my monogram less than 3″ in width and height. But I believe you could go a bit larger.

6. Rotate your embroidery design. You will also need to rotate your embroidery design 90 degrees clockwise to align properly on your baseball cap.

Rotating embroidery design

7. Start stitching out your design! Once a bit of stitching is done – this will secure your hat to the stabilizer even more and you are at even less of a risk for having your cap move around. So you can breathe easier.

Monogramming hat using Durkee cap frame

When you are finished embroidering, open up the clamps and remove your cap from the Durkee cap frame and admire your handiwork. Now you have successfully embroidered a baseball cap on your single needle embroidery machine using the Durkee Cap Frame!

Monogrammed hat made with a Durkee cap frame

Frequently asked questions about Durkee cap frames

Does the Durkee cap frame work on any embroidery machine?

The Durkee Cap Frame works on many single and multi-needle embroidery machines. You will need to look on their website to see if a model is available that is compatible with your machine.

Do I need to use special thread for embroidery on a baseball cap?

Polyester thread is the recommended type of embroidery thread for embroidering on baseball caps because it is more durable than rayon thread.

Will the Durkee cap frame work with different type of baseball caps?

The Durkee Cap frame can accomodate most sizes and types of baseball caps, even stiff trucker-style caps.

Do I need to use special stabilizer for embroidering on baseball caps?

It is recommended that you use a medium weight, sticky-back tear away stabilizer to help hold the hat in place while you are embroidering. This will also help prevent your design from sinking into the cap fabric.

Isn’t a cylindrical cap just better for embroidering on a baseball cap?

No, you can still get good results using a flat Durkee cap frame. The advantage of the Durkee cap frame is that it gives you better exposure to the front of the baseball cap when embroidering, making it easier to line up your design with the center of the hat. In addition, there are reference points on the hoop to make it easier to center the cap on the hoop. You can use these reference marks to help you align the cap on the stabilizer.

Cylindrical hoops can also be used for baseball caps, but these need to be purchased separately and may not work with your embroidery machine. They will definitely not work with your machine if it is just a single needle embroidery machine. .

Ready to give Durkee cap frames a try?

If you’re looking for a new way to add some personality to your wardrobe, or want to give a unique gift to a friend, embroidering a baseball cap is the perfect solution. You can use this easy tutorial with any single needle embroidery machine and the Durkee cap frame to create a one-of-a-kind design that will show everyone your creative flair.

Want to remember this? Save “Easy Machine Embroidery on a Baseball Cap Using a Durkee Cap Frame” on your favorite Pinterest board.

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