When I purchased my multi needle machine I had visions of easily sewing on caps. The reality of making that happen took me a little time. I did have a cap hoop and frame that I added to my machine package but it was difficult for me to use it. Once it was mounted to a stable table top, I had to almost kneel down while using all of my body weight to hold the cap taut. Since I was below the frame, I couldn't see if it was lined up correctly. At the same time I was trying to maneuver the frame to a closed position to lock in the cap. If all of this worked out, I estimate 95% of the time, I had to re hoop because the cap was twisted or did not line up properly in the hoop. Then the tension on the cap usually loosened and my registration was off. This made me leery to even try to sew caps because each time, my stitch outs were a failure and I was wasting money on caps.
If you are like me, you first get frustrated, blame the machine, blame yourself etc... Once I got over feeling sorry for myself, I spent a lot of time researching and found the Hoop tech brand. They have some wonderful videos but I was not fully convinced until I went to a sewing convention and stopped by their booth. I got brave, grabbed about six or seven different caps and went to town testing each one out on the hoop. I can't stress this enough. Don't be shy. There is nothing worse than buying something you don't try and then it becomes a very expensive paperweight because you don't like it or can't remember how to use it. Trust me, if you have tried hooping caps on conventional hoops, you will know immediately if you like this product.
The price tag of the hoop/frame scared me a little bit. I am not going to post what I paid for it because you can find that information online, but it will give you a momentary pause. I can say that if you are considering doing cap embroidery, you will definitely say it was a worthy purchase once you have practiced a little bit. The T bar lever arm is what makes this frame different. It hooks into the back of the cap and uses downward force. Remember pulleys and levers in grade school science class? It will come back to you once you see this in action. All of this happens with you standing fully upright so you can actually see what is going on with the cap. I would advise you to buy several different types of caps and play with them because each one will react a little differently in the hoop. The way the front of the cap angles down to the bill, the way the sweatband is sewn in, structured or unstructured all determine how easy it will be to place your embroidery design. I have even seen different results in a batch of caps from the same manufacturer because the materials were thicker or thinner. So some playtime on your machine will help you feel much more confident. A great place to pass on your practice stitches is your local nursing home, homeless shelter or give them to some other local charity. A good cap is always welcome.
I don't keep my frame up all of the time due to space issues, but I do have a temporary mounting system that allows me to set it up and take it down quickly. Here it is in my studio.
Here is the frame on my 12 needle Happy embroidery machine. When you purchase a Hoop tech, be sure to tell them the exact model of your machine so they can get you the correct mounting arm. If you are going to a show, maybe write it down or take a picture of your machine info so they can help you get squared away. Just to let you know, I am not affiliated with Hoop tech in any way. I just really love this product and think it is one of the best investments I have made besides my embroidery machines. If you want to see how to hoop a cap I have a video you can watch below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift