Embroidered hats are the latest fashion trend in accessories. But unlike the hat size, which tends to be a one-size-fits-all, not every style fits every person. And not every hat looks good with embroidery.
If you’re wondering what the best embroidery design is for your style, you’re in the right place. This is the complete guide to embroidery hat types with all the pros and cons and tips on choosing the best embroidery-friendly design.
What Types of Hats Are Best for Embroidery?
There are over 100 types of hats—here are the top six ones for embroidery.
Snapbacks are similar to baseball caps; you could call them a more modern version of an old classic. They’re most popular in hip-hop culture and street style.
Made famous by the actor and rapper Will Smith in the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,’ snapback hats are forever associated with hip and fresh styles.
Snapbacks feature five or six panels and a wide flat brim. The adjustable snap on the back is what gives them their name. Snapbacks tend to have a more defined profile than the baseball cap.
With a higher profile than baseball caps and dad hats, snapbacks can take a higher design. It means more surface for your embroidered inspirations!
An enduring favorite, the baseball cap first appeared in a slightly different form as far back as 1860. Worn by the Brooklyn Excelsiors, an amateur baseball team, their version had a rounded top with that distinctive button and a long visor.
A logo first appeared in 1901 when the Detroit Tigers added an orange running tiger on the front of the cap. From sports to the music scene in the 1980s to everyday use, there isn’t an occasion when a baseball won’t fit the bill.
Baseball caps offer a structured fit – One Size Fits All (OSFA) – with an adjustable strap and design. They’re an ideal choice for embroidery with sports logos or team names. However, that doesn’t prevent them from having out-of-the-box design options.
Perhaps one of the only restrictions of baseball caps for embroidery designs is the panel structure, which has six panels. Your design needs to work within one panel or stretch symmetrically across two panels.
There’s also usually a vertical seam at the front, although some manufacturers design baseball caps with five panels to eliminate the seam and allow for a central logo.
Trucker caps are similar to baseball caps but have a more domed top. A later arrival on the hat-wearing scene, trucker caps appeared in the 1980s as promotional giveaways from grain merchants and farming supply companies.
Usually made with a foam or twill front and a mesh back with plastic adjustment straps, these caps keep you cooler than a baseball cap. The mesh offers excellent ventilation in hot climates, plus plenty of sun protection.
Because trucker caps first entered the accessory scene as a promotional item, they’re great for diverse designs. They can support a logo or advertising and are perfect for an embroidery design. In addition, the crown is one entire piece, and there’s no central seam to get in the way.
However, because of the mesh at the back, you’ll only have half the cap for your design.
Dad hats have a rounded brim and a lower profile. Most people associate them with dads—the clue is in the name! They’re baseball caps with slightly curved brims and offer a relaxed and casual look.
Dad hats have a wide, low frontage, perfect for text embroideries like a caption and large graphics. And they’re fabric all the way around, which is why they work so well for long slogans.
Depending on the aesthetic, the dad hat image can be a plus or minus!
Bucket hats are a fashion borrowed from the fishing community but also have roots in the Irish country hat. The hat has a deep bucket-style crown and a narrow, downward-sloping brim.
Typical materials are denim or canvas for weatherproofing and durability. These fabrics embroider well, with a large surface area available for designs.
Adopted to some degree by golfers, the bucket hat has made regular appearances throughout the decades in street fashion and on the catwalk. They’re most popular in the K-pop scene, with icons like J-hope from the global phenomenon BTS inspiring people to wear bucket hats.
Beware of the metal eyelets on the hat’s crown, though—the hardware might disrupt your design plans. Some very durable fabrics are also more difficult to embroider.
Enduringly popular with Gen Z, beanies can be wool or some hot fleece fabrics for bitter temperatures.
The big challenge with beanies and adding embroidery designs is that there’s a flexible structure and shape. Embroider a beanie with your chosen design, and this hat will look different on everyone who wears it because of their head size and shape.
As a hat choice, beanies are less effective for embroidery. The best option is to choose a beanie with a cuff. The cuff lets the hat fold into itself to provide an added layer of warmth for the ears.
The cuff is a stable location to add embroidery, and the two layers of fabric offer a great base to stitch onto.
Beanies without a cuff provide the most space to stitch to all hat designs; however, beanies are generally less versatile and practical hat choices for embroidery designs.
Ensuring Your Hat Design Is Embroidery-Friendly
Avoid Overcomplicated Designs
Complex designs don’t always replicate well on the rounded shape of most hats. If you can, choose a more straightforward design. Simple designs with minimal colors work best.
If you opt for something intricate, always ensure you get a mock-up and a physical sample to check first, especially if you’re ordering a high volume.
Don’t forget the hat’s design and your logo; for instance, some baseball caps have a central seam or eyelets for ventilation, which get in the way of embroidery.
If you’re looking for a cool head, choose a wicking material with no eyelets and a five-panel rather than a six-panel baseball cap, or opt for a trucker hat which is all one piece.
Don’t Use Small Text
Small text won’t stand out or be readable at even a reasonable distance. Also, the small text does not easily reproduce with the zig-zag or satin stitch that embroidery machines use to make the letters.
It’s best to keep all text at least ¼ inch or taller. If this isn’t possible, a logo may be better for an embroidery design.
Understand the Embroidery Area
When the hat is on the head, the fit can alter the visual appearance of your design. It’s particularly important with unstructured baseball caps and beanies.
Remember, stretchy fabrics will change the parameters of the embroidery design, plus some hats have a higher profile than others and can therefore print a higher design. It’s best to create the design with an understanding of the embroidery area.
Stick to Symmetrical Designs
You’ll need a simplified version if your logo doesn’t have a symmetrical design. Symmetrical logos always deliver the best results, particularly as the most common location to place these is in the central part of the hat or cap above the forehead.
Centering the design is essential and always provides the best visual impact.
Avoid Shadows and Gradients
The best-looking logos use solid colors and keep small details to a minimum.
Limit Thread Colors
Fewer thread colors work better than multiple color choices. If you want many different colors, ensure enough detail or area so the color sews well.
Create Your Own Custom Hat With The/Studio Today
There are some key elements to remember when designing hat embroidery logos. Fortunately, at The/Studio, we have plenty of experience in what works and what’s a flop, and this embraces both embroidery designs and the hat you’ve chosen.
Choose The/Studio for custom hats and see your vision come to life!