Custom Embroidered Hats & Shirts – the Guide to Creating an Embroidery Design
Flat embroideryFlat embroidery is a technique where stitches are embroidered flat. It's used mostly for small details.
- Minimum thickness for shapes: 0.05” (1.3 mm).
- Maximum thickness for shapes: 0.5” (12.5 mm).
- Minimum height for lowercase letters: 0.25” (6.4 mm).
- Minimum height for uppercase letters: 0.3” (7.6 mm).
- Any text smaller than 0.25” (6.4 mm) in height will be a run stitch
Use true-to-size graphics
Graphics must be true to size. For example, if you're using a high template file on a low profile hat or a side logo, details may not match requirements for that specific profile and the file should be adjusted.
Use solid shapes and colors only
Don't include photographic images, gradients, or blend effects.
Use transparent backgrounds
Graphics should include transparent backgrounds.
Submit vector files
We highly recommend submitting your embroidery graphics as vector files (AI, PDF, EPS). If you don't have vector files available, raster graphics (PNG) can be used as well if the resolution is at least 300 dpi.
Stay within the maximum stitch count
The maximum stitch count for our embroidery graphics is 15,000. If the stitch count goes over our maximum, we'll contact you to revise your artwork.
A minimalistic design can have a striking impact. Simple designs are easy to embroider and have a finished look with nice, tight lines. For example, a basic design with minimal details can look striking with a white thread against a black cap.
It’s best to avoid small, detailed designs, as those are difficult to embroider. For flat embroidery, the minimum thickness for shapes is 0.05″ and the max is 0.5″.
Take limited colors into account
When developing embroidery designs, you should note that the number of thread colors you use will impact the look of the hat.
If you choose to use multiple colors, make sure they have large enough details to be able to sew well. Keep in mind that there’s a limit to how many thread colors you can use. We offer 15 different colors, but you’re limited to 4 for flat embroidery.
Stick to symmetry
A good hat design has a good balance.
One rule of thumb is to have your design focused on the middle bottom, and have it span out from there. Centering your design is a must, as most people don’t want to seem lopsided when wearing their hats.
The most common issues
Text too small, lines too thin
Avoid using very small letters because the embroidered text might not be legible. Keep the text at least 0.25'' in height and at least 0.05'' thick.
The minimum recommended line thickness for the regular satin stitch is 0.05''. For thinner lines we’ll use run stitch (a single line of stitches).
0.25'' is equivalent to approximately 36pt, and the letters will also have the necessary thickness. But this depends on the font. We recommend using simple fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Myriad pro.
Distressed or textured graphics
With distressed or textured graphics many details might be lost during embroidery depending on the texture size. For these files, extremely thin parts are likely to be run stitched.
Negative space objects
These are the empty spaces in the artwork - the hat fabric showing through the design (but don’t mix it up with transparent background, which is alright!). This can cause several problems.
Avoid these issues by filling the negative spaces with another color.
We can only embroider solid shapes and colors. Gradients won’t work because we can’t transition from one color thread to another.
You’ll have to convert gradients to a one color graphic, and split multiple color graphics with gradients into solid colors.
Graphics that cover a large part of the embroidery area will likely exceed the maximum stitch count of 15,000. Remove all backgrounds from your files to make sure they don't exceed this count.
If you’d like to keep the background, we’ll have to reduce the size of the graphic by up to 50%.
It’s not possible to embroider photographic images as they are. Photographic images have to be recreated to include solid shapes and colors.