Ask experts, and you’d agree with me when I say: Not every embroidery machine will embroider hats.
But why, I hear you ask?
Well, check any hat embroidery machine, and you’d realize that its stitching area is wider than a normal machine. Second, to support your hat in place, these machines are equipped with round hoops. Finally, since you are going to embroider the corners located at the brim of your hat, you should also look for a slower stitching speed.
It is where this article comes into play.
In the following verses, we are NOT going to recommend a general embroidery machine. Rather, we’ll recommend only those machines whose life mission is embroidering hats. While the range of such machines is small, their performance would erase any doubts you may have regarding their quality.
What NOT to Do While Embroidering Hats?
- Running Machine Too Fast
Whether you believe it or not, embroidering hats is an art form. It involves delicacy, detailed work, and most of all patience. As a result, your machine shouldn’t be running above 750spm (stitches per minute). And that is only for flatwork surfaces. Provided your work involves curved surfaces, you should slow down the machine even further.
- Wrong Hooping
You should secure a hat straight and center in its hopping frame. Assuming you don’t have decades of experience, stick with a centered, strong design to get a quality result.
- Manual Tension Adjustment
While a hat embroidery machine is different, this is one area where it converges with a normal sewing machine. Put simply, no matter for which purpose you are buying your machine, always insist on the automatic tension adjustment feature in your unit.
Otherwise, the neatness and tight stitches which only come when the tension is perfect will be very difficult to achieve.
Tou nderstand the importance of bobbin, think of it as your car’s seatbelt. Is it safe to drive your car without fastening your seatbelt? Of course not. Similarly, no matter how much load of work is on you, you should never start stitching without checking the bobbin first.
- Not changing needles
I love changing needles, said no tailor ever. Still, if you want your design to have a consistent touch, change needles whenever you notice they are damaged or when the timing is off.
Most of us love to embroider pre-made baseball caps. What most of us don’t love, however, is spending money on a whole new machine after embroidering a baseball cap.
Yes, that might happen with you provided you didn’t leave at least ½” off the bill of the cap. Otherwise, you might just catch the cap bill into the needle, meaning you’d soon be ordering a whole new machine.
- Digitize with no respect to the surface
Some of us make a mistake of digitizing our files beforehand, meaning we think that the same design will work on both the curved and flat surfaces.
As you might guess from my tone, that isn’t the case. Hence, before you digitize your files, check whether or not the design will work as intended on the surface (flat or curved) or not.
What to Look For In A Best Hat Embroidery Machine?
It doesn’t matter which shopping mall you visit-or which online shopping website you consult, options are unlimited when it comes to these machines. But before you make your choice, make sure your choice has the following features:
Whether you are busy in custom or commercial hat embroidery, 15needles is the standard in the industry. Yes, you are right when you think that not many projects would involve stitching 15 colors on the same hat logo.
However, it may be the case that you have multiple jobs-all going at the same time, which need frequent switches of thread cones. In such a scenario, the time you’d otherwise waste would be saved with a 15needle machine.
Wide Sewing Field
Even if you aren’t in this field for long-or do it for pleasure-you may have heard the term “ear to ear” embroidery. That term finds its significance in hat embroidery machines which need to have a wide sewing field to accommodate the whole size of the cap.
Moreover, the embroider field should be located at an angle of 270* and there should be 2hoops (frames) included in the package.
Two of Each
For industrial or professional embroidery machine, manufacturers normally give two of each size hoop for both flat garments and hats. The justification which they give for this setting is that while you are sewing a custom design one moment, you might get the next hat hooped, the other.
Hence, if you are a professional who is looking for an industrial machine, demand two of each hoop.
Speed of Embroidery
Measured in SPM (stitches per minute), embroidery speed depends more than anything on the experience you may have in the field. For example, if you are a beginner, insist on a machine which has a max embroidery speed of 750SPM.
For professionals-and especially those with years of experience under their belt, there is nothing wrong in going for a higher SPM, since it would mean more caps stitches per hour and more money in their wallet.
Still, that doesn’t mean that sky is the limit for the embroidery speed in commercial machines. Rather, 1200SPM is more than enough regardless of the experience you may have.
Talking about commercial hat machines, they are designed to run all day, every day, with minimum respite as the shifts are changed. Conversely, if you intend to go for a consumer machine, it may not be able to run more than a few hours on stretch.
Regardless of which purpose you are buying it-be it commercial or consumer, it needs to have a colored, touch screen model.
In addition to giving you a clear view of the design you are stitching, the best hat embroidery machines allow you to split the screen in half to compare your design with the standard from which you are copying.
Thus, if you can afford to pay a bit over the odds-and don’t want to waste your time switching your attention between your design notebook and the work at hand, go for a colored, touch screen display.
Sharing is Caring
A normal machine won’t allow you to import designs from any other device to yours. A slightly better version would give you the option of transferring files via USB stick. There are others which, provided you can afford to spend more, allow importing designs from the Internet. Finally, there are machines which allow transferring designs from one computer to the other via a cable. The choice, therefore, lies on you and how much you are willing to spend.
Automatic Thread Tension
With due respect to embroidery machine manufacturers, I hate machines which come without the automatic thread tension feature. After all, how can one save himself from puckering and thread breaks if the tension is not uniform all the time?
If you, like me, want your design to be consistent with fewer instances of thread breaks and puckering, always insist on the automatic thread tension feature no matter for which purpose you are buying the machine.
SINGER Futura XL-400
Starting from its looks, the Futura XL-400-despite its sleeker looks, is fairly sizeable. That is, it is going to require you to designate a spacious spot for it on your desk.
However, if there is one thing its huge size guarantees, the Futura XL-400 comes loaded with features, not all of whom owe their existence to its size.
And since we are talking about its features, we dare not ignore the Swift Smart Threading feature. No longer will you have to spend minutes trying to poke the thread into the needle’s eye. Just activate the Smart Swift feature, and the automatic needle threader will come to your rescue.
Similarly, there is a Drop & Sew Bobbin system which makes sure that switching out Bobbins is a cinch. Consequently, you don’t have to pick up that bobbin thread, as this feature will do that for you.
Also, gone are the days when you have to spend hours thinking about new designs which you can embroider on the cloth at hand. In addition to giving you 125built-in patterns, this unit allows you to consult any website on the Internet to fetch designs.
What’s more, if you like to give your hat a personal touch, the outline lettering and 5fonts will come to your help.
Finally, while the embroidery hoop coming in the package is pretty big on its own-it measures 10”*6”, Futura has a built-in software which allows you to expand the hoop even more. That is, you can create a loop of around 20”*12” using the software.
If you ask me, I’d recommend keeping an eye on the tension settings since the Futura XL-400 doesn’t have an automatic thread tension feature. Also, it is not compatible with Mac, so you might want to switch to a Windows Computer to use the machine.
- Has a Huge Embroidery Area
- Provides Automatic Threading
- Brilliant for large embroidery designs
- Has Multihooping capability
- No automatic thread tension
- Not compatible with Macs
Inour opinion, the Futura XL-400 is a brilliant sewing and embroidery unit, one which is tailor made for sewing hats. Sure, there are a couple of drawbacks, but we still think this unit offers a great value for money.
Every machine has two types of features: good and bad. The Brother PE500, however, has three of them: bad, good, and very good. For no particular reason, we decided to start our review by singling out its very good features first of all.
First, it has taken the concept of computer connectivity to a whole new level. While it allows you to consult the Internet to import new designs, this unit also has a cable with which you can transfer designs from one computer to the other, without any Internet.
Hence, if you work in a huddle-or just have a knack of showing your friends your designs midway to learn about their reviews, this machine will suit you.
Second, while the LCD touch screen might have been enough to win our hearts, Brother took no chances by loading the screen with tutorials. This feature is especially useful for beginners who are still learning the trade.
Finally, just like the Futura XL-400, the Brother PE500 gives of an automatic needle threader, one which would save your time which you’d have otherwise spent on manual threading.
Turning back to our earlier classification, the one feature of this model which impressed me-but which I also felt could have been better, was its 4*4 embroidery area. Yes, it might be enough to embroider pillows and bedsheets, but since we are talking about hat embroidery machines, I don’t feel it is anywhere near enough.
Finishing with the bad features, just like the Futura XL-400, the automatic thread tension feature is absent here.
- Easy to Use
- Has a large collection of built-in designs
- Can share designs via Internet, USB, and cable
- Touch screen LCD display
- No automatic thread tension
Thanks to the 25year limited warranty which accompanies this machine, you have virtually nothing to lose if you decide to buy it. Yes, it does have some grey areas-like the absence of automatic thread tension-but the better features are in domination.
SINGER 4-in-1 Futura
Talking about hat embroidery machines, the first thing you should look for when buying them is their embroidery area. For, as suggested above, the greater the area, the better the machine will be for hat sewing purposes.
Thankfully, then, this machine has an extra-large 10”*6” embroidery hoop-one which comes with a multihooping capability, meaning you can further increase the size of the hoop.
Even if you aren’t concerned that much about embroidering hats, this unit has still got much to offer. Take, for example, its 125 built-in designs. In this price column, they are the most offered by any machine, and you can increase them further by importing designs from the Internet.
Finally, to make sure you remain comfortable while using the machine, it has a plethora of features. For example, there is the automatic electronic thread cutter, one which would save you from inconsistent designs by cutting threads as soon as the bobbin is running low before stopping the machine.
Similarly, there is a Swift and Smart Threading system which allows you to thread with just one click on the LCD screen. There i s also a bobbin system known as drop and sew which makes switching out Bobbins a cinch.
Most users weren’t overly impressed by the machine’s software which in their opinion was outdated and had a very difficult-to-use interface.
- Has 125embroider designs and equal number of stitches
- Allows monogramming via 20monogramming fonts
- Huge Hoop size
- Automatic Needle threader
- Difficult to use
Provided you are willing to go through the learning curve which is navigating through the machine’s software for the first time, it has all the attributes to prove to be a good value for your money.
Janome Memory Craft MC 9500
Will it match your requirements? Let’s find out.
Easy to use. These three words cane to my mind the moment I looked at the LCD panel of this sewing and embroidery machine.
For, not only is the display touschreen, it has a decent 4.7” size, and the buttons on the screen are so helpful than there would be no confusion even if you are operating this machine for the first time.
While it isn’t as famous as any of the abovementioned models, the Memory Craft MC9500 offers the automatic thread tension feature which none of them was able to provide. Consequently, you get consistent designs with this device.
Also, if you have grown tired of fiddling with bobbins that are side-mounted, the MC9500 will spare you this agony via its automatic bobbin control feature. All you have to do to start sewing is just dropping in the bobbin in its case and BINGO!
Concluding my remarks, the Janome MC9500 handles both lightweight and heavy fabrics with equal ease thanks to its 7Feed-Box System.
This feed box adjusts the machine depending on the thickness of fabric coming in. Consequently, whether you are dealing with the heaviest or the lightest fabrics, this machine will help.
Of a machine which is relatively new in the market-and which doesn’t come from a brand as famous as Singer or Brother, the MC9500 has a very steep price tag.
- Automatic Thread Tension
- Handles both light and heavy fabrics with equal ease
- Sizable Embroidery Area
- Easy to Use
- Very expensive
Although very expensive, this machine comes loaded with features and can be used for sewing, monograming, and embroidering. Therefore, common sense suggests that it deserves a chance.
Memory Craft 9900
So, will it be able to justify its price tag? Let’s find out.
In a bid to justify its price tag, Janome has equipped this unit with variable sewing speed. Yes, you read it right, you can change the embroidering speed of this machine based on your liking. Starting from 400-the level most beginners would find it useful at, it goes all the way up to 800SPM, enough for commercial applications.
If that wasn’t enough-and it shouldn’t be considering its price, the Memory Craft 9900 throws another volley in your direction in shape of its editing functions. Yup, you can edit your design, resize, trace and duplicate it, and even trace it back to its origin if you feel like it. There is nothing this machine can’t do with your design, provided, of course, you ask it to.
If you have just been handed a new project-one you have to complete quickly, you can take help from the built-in timer in the device. Just import your design into the machine, tell it what you want to do with it, and the timer will go on and tell you how long the whole project would take.
While most machines stop the machine on thread break, the Memory Craft 9900 goes one step extra by restarting on its own thanks to its auto-return feature.
Similarly, if you are going to embroider on two clothes of different thickness, there is the AcuGuide feature which will automatically adjust the machine based on the cloth’s size. That is, be it upholstery, knits, fine fabrics or natural fibers, this machine would handle all of them with equal efficiency.
In case you don’t know it already, it is the price of this machine which serves as the biggest impediment to its fame. Other than that, it has no significant weaknesses.
- Includes large number of accessories in the package
- Handles a wide variety of fabrics
- Has a built-in needle threader and automatic thread tension
- Decent Embroidery size of 6.7”*7.9”
- Ridiculously expensive
To be honest, and as suggested by its price tag, this machine is mostly built for commercial consumers. Still, if you can afford the price it demands, this item won’t disappoint you.
Your search for the best embroidery machine for hats ends here. Not only have we presented you with a list of top five machines, but we have also dissected the plus and negative points of each. Hence, after reading this review, all you have to do is to view your requirements and decide which of these machines suit them the best.