How To Embroider Bucket Hats

We’re excited to guide you through the process of embroidering on bucket hats, also known as camper hats. The wide brim and long cord can leave you wondering how to properly hoop these hats, as well as the best settings for your machine. In this article, we’ll be using our Melco commercial embroidery machine with a wide-angle cap frame. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to refine your skills, this tutorial will help you master professional-looking results.

Materials Needed:

Step 1: Prepare The Cap Frame

  • First we’re going to prepare the backing using the wide angle cap frame. This frame typically comes with Melco machines and is essential for hat embroidery.
  • Place one piece of cap backing on the frame. Next, apply spray adhesive to the second piece of cap backing and place it tacky side up on the first piece. This will help hold the hat in place during embroidery.

Step 2: Position The Bucket Hat

  • Identify the front and back of the hat. Many times the front often has air vents or a tag at the back.
  • If the hat has a removable sweatband, make sure to pull it out. If not, leave it in place. Then align the hat on the frame, ensuring the front is correctly positioned. (Similar to hooping an unstructured cap.)
  • Secure the hat with the cap backing, ensuring the adhesive helps keep it in place. Pull slightly to the left to compensate for the frame’s pull to the right and ensure the sweatband or band strap is correctly positioned.

Step 3: Secure The Hat To The Cap Frame

  • Press the sides of the hat brim inward, then secure the hat to the cap gauge using the metal hat strap.
  • Start from the left side and work across to right, ensuring the hat is tightly secured. The hat strap should sit in the seam of the brim on the bucket hat.
  • Leave a bit of space for clamping and ensure the band is tight without any waiver. If the band isn’t tight enough, loosen and adjust the bolts, then re-tighten.

Step 4: Adjust Presser Foot

  • You may need to adjust the presser foot according to the type of hat and material. For structured hats, set the presser foot two to three clicks from the top or bottom. For unstructured bucket hats, set it all the way down and one click up. Watch this quick video for additional help.

Step 4: Prepare For Embroidery

  • Choose your embroidery design. For this tutorial, we’ll use the letter “M” from Melco. (Note that with most buckets hats you will not be able to get the full 270 degrees or ear-to-ear design because of the vents.)
  • There is generally no center line stitched on bucket hats, so use painters tape to mark the center and help with design alignment.

Step 5: Stitch Your Design

  • Add the hooped bucket hat to your machine. Follow similar setup as an unstructured cap.
  • Run a trace to ensure the design is aligned correctly. Set the machine to run at about 1,000 stitches per minute.
  • Press start and let the machine embroider the design. Keep an eye on the machine to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Step 6: Finishing Up

  • Remove the hat from the frame once the embroidery is complete.
  • Carefully remove the backing one piece at a time to avoid pulling on the stitches.
  • Check the embroidery for any issues. Put the hat back together, including reattaching the sweatband if necessary. Finally, ensure the hat is shaped correctly and the embroidery is in the desired position.

Step 7: Enjoy!

You now have a beautifully embroidered bucket hat! This method can be applied to most bucket hats, though some adjustments may be necessary depending on the hat’s material and your specific embroidery design. Embroidering on bucket hats can seem daunting at first, but with the right tools and techniques, you can achieve professional results every time!


Discover The EMT16X Advantage

In addition to being capable of networkable modularity, your multi-head setup retains all of these amazing capabilities of the Melco EMT16X

  • In commercial embroidery, speed is critical. With the ability to operate at up to 1500 stitches per minute, the EMT16X will help you keep your customers happy and speed up your ROI.
  • Melco embroidery machines are engineered for high-volume commercial embroidery applications and are designed to deliver consistent, high-quality embroidery work year in and year out.
  • Acti-Feed™ automatic thread tensioning makes the EMT16X easier to operate, reduces thread breaks, and ensures high-quality stitching.
  • A large 16.1″ x 15.5” sew field and compatibility with a wide array of hoops and hooping accessories means you won’t be limited on what kind of jobs you can take.