How to embroider on a baseball cap

By on November 11th, 2019
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how to embroider on a baseball cap
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Are you an owner of a single needle embroidery machine who longs for a hat embroidery machine to be able to machine embroider on a baseball cap? Guess what? You don’t need any type of special embroidery machine. It’s actually possible to embroider on a baseball cap using your single needle home embroidery machine. I have to admit, though, I waited a long time before I was brave enough to try to embroider on a baseball cap using my single needle embroidery machine.

Why embroidering on a baseball cap (using a single needle home embroidery machine) is challenging

Baseball caps are intimidating to embroider on a single needle embroidery machine for a few reasons. One, baseball caps are curved and the surface of a home embroidery machine hoop is flat. For successful embroidery, you will need to flatten out this curve. Secondly, the area on which you will stitch is tough to access. But, despite these challenges, it is possible to achieve good results.

But, if you were in the business of embroidering a lot of hats or visors, I would definitely recommend investing in a multi-needle embroidery machine. especially one that can handle a cylindrical attachment specifically for embroidering on hats. Not all have them, though, such as the Janome MB-7 which is an awesome machine but no cylindrical hoop attachment. So, choose carefully.

But, keep in mind that even if you don’t make an investment in a multi-needle embroidery machine, you can still embroider on a baseball cap on your single needle.

Why embroider on a baseball cap?

Embroidered baseball cap
“Beach Baby” embroidered hat created by Dina Criscio Mccarthy who has granted me permission to use this image.

Baseball caps are more than just a baseball fan’s best friend. They offer protection from the sun and shield you from your sweat. Plus, people of all ages wear them. Therefore, baseball caps make great gifts for almost anyone: men, women and children. Blank baseball caps are cheap and come in a variety of styles and colors. They are also easy to size. Most baseball caps have an adjustable strap in the back, allowing them to fit snugly on almost any head. 

By adding some embroidery, like a monogram, a fun design, a saying or even a nickname, you can create a truly one-of-a-kind gift. The embroidery possibilities for a baseball cap are endless.  If you are looking for some monogram inspiration, check out my post on the 10 best monogram designs.

I once had a woman reach out to me via my Etsy store, wondering if I could digitize a silly hand gesture and embroider it on baseball caps for her girl friends.  Ok – this sounds obscene, but the hand gesture was not – just weird.  It was just a private joke among these women. My point is – baseball caps, specifically custom embroidered caps are always a winner.

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Precautions to take when embroidering on a baseball cap

  1. Don’t try to embroider on a hat that is very stiff.  Baseball caps that are more akin to trucker caps are stiff and won’t lay flat on your hooped stabilizer.
  2. Don’t try to stitch out a design on a baseball cap that extends to the extents of your hoop.  You will want some room between the border of the design and the edges of your hoop so that you can pin your hat in place on your hooped stabilizer.
  3. Get the inside flap of the hat out of the way of the stitching by stapling it onto the the brim. You can easily remove the staples when you are done.
  4. Consider a raw edge appliqué design.  I like stitching out raw edge appliqué designs because they stitch out very quickly and you can make a bold statement with fabric with very little stitching.  For example, the raw edge appliqué bold numbers design I created is a great one to stitch out on a baseball cap because it’s an ideal size plus it stitches out quickly, allowing you to showcase a pretty, coordinating fabric.  And, you can assemble the numbers together to create a tribute to your favorite area code.
  5. Consider adding a basting stitch to your design.  If you add a basting stitch as the first round of stitching for this project, it will help hold the cap to the stabilizer.  Many editing programs like SewWhat-Pro allow you to add basting stitches to existing embroidery design.

314 appliqué letters on a baseball cap.

How to embroider on a baseball cap

Hoop your stabilizer

Hoop a piece of adhesive-backed stabilizer with the shiny side up.  Make sure that the hooping is very taut.

Score the stabilizer

Score the inside edges of the hoop with a pin to create a small tear in the paper. Then, peel back the paper to expose the adhesive.

Mark the center the hoop

Mark the center of the hoop on the sticky stabilizer using a disappearing ink pen and extend lines from the center point horizontally and vertically.

hooped stabilizer

Locate the design center on the cap

Mark the intended center of the design on the front of the baseball cap using a pin. Consider the size of your design.  How tall is it? Where will the top and bottom of the design land?  You should make sure that the bottom of the design is at least 1″ from the intersection of the hat and the brim.  You can see that in my example, I chose a design that was larger in the horizontal direction than in the vertical direction. It easily fit on the front of the hat front and center without getting too close to the brim .

Prepare the cap

Turn the hat inside out, and push away the inside ban of the hat, stapling it to the brim, if necessary.

Stick the hat on the stabilizer

Stick the hat onto the hooped stabilizer, lining up the center point of the design on the hat to the center point of the hooped stabilizer.  Pin it in place, making sure that the pins are out of the way of the stitching.

baseball cap floated on stabilizer

Start stitching

Carefully start stitching on your design. You may want to slow down the speed of the embroidery machine until the hat is stitched down a bit.  The stitching will help hold the hat in place.  This is another reason why this is an ideal design, the border of the oval helps to hold the hat in place so that the hat is pretty secure when the letters are being stitched.

placement stitching for applique design on a baseball cap

Frequently asked question about embroidering on a baseball cap

Can you embroider on the side of a baseball cap?

Yes. In fact, this is actually a bit easier than the front of the hat since you don’t have the bill so close to your embroidery area. The same is true for embroidering on the back of a baseball cap.

Can you embroider on mesh baseball caps?

Yes. I have embroidered on many baseball caps made with mesh material, even on my home embroidery machine, without issue. The key is to use a medium to heavy weight water soluble stabilizer. The stabilizer prevents the stitches from disappearing in the mesh. Once you are done, any excess stabilizer can be washed away.

How long does it take to embroider on a baseball cap?

The amount of time it takes to embroider on a baseball cap is dependent on the complexity of the design. Embroidery designs with a lower stitch count will stitch out much faster than higher stitch count designs.

Can you embroider on the bill of the cap?

You may be able to with multi-needle industrial machines, but not on single needle home embroidery machines. If you really need to get an embroidered design on the bill of a baseball cap, I would suggest fusing an embroidered patch to the bill.

What type of needle should you use when embroidering on a baseball cap?

I just used a standard 75/11 embroidery needle to embroider on baseball caps. But if the material on your baseball cap is particularly tough, you may consider using a using a titanium needle.

What type of stabilizer can you use when embroidering on baseball caps?

I always use adhesive-backed tear-away stabilizer for baseball caps and float the hat on the stabilizer.  Since baseball caps tend to be made of fairly durable fabric, I don’t think it’s necessary to use a cut away.

Where to purchase baseball caps suitable for embroidery and appliqué

I have actually purchased baseball cap from a few different sources including and  However, Amazon has a great selection and competitive prices.  Amazon Prime it and be done. Here are some options.

Want to see me embroider on a baseball cap on my single needle embroidery machine?

Check out the video I made of me making a STL (St. Louis) baseball cap for my friend.

Happy stitching, everyone!


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