How to Embroider on Mesh Caps: Step-by-Step Guide

A Light Gray Mesh Cap

Article Summary

  • Mesh caps offer a unique canvas for embroidery due to their structure and materials.
  • Before starting the embroidery process, it’s essential to select the right stabilizer and hoop size to ensure the cap remains flat and stable during embroidery.
  • Utilizing appropriate needle sizes and thread choices, and adjusting machine settings are vital for successful embroidery on mesh caps; simple, bold designs are recommended to ensure visibility on the open mesh.

Hey there, fellow embroiderers! Today, we’re diving into the exciting world of embroidering mesh caps. These unique caps offer a fantastic canvas for creativity but come with their own set of challenges. Fear not! This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to master this craft, from picking the right cap to putting the finishing touches on your design. Let’s get started and turn those mesh caps into personalized masterpieces!

Understanding Mesh Caps

Mesh caps aren’t just cool accessories for sunny days; they’re also a perfect pick for showcasing your embroidery skills. Before we get our needles buzzing, let’s talk about what makes mesh caps special and how to get them ready for your art.

Materials and Structure

Mesh caps come in various styles and materials. Some have a soft, flexible mesh, while others feature a stiffer, more structured form. The key is to choose a cap that suits your design and feels good on your head. Look for caps made from quality materials to ensure your embroidery stands out and lasts long.

Preparation for Embroidery

Before you start embroidering on mesh caps, you need to prepare your cap. First, choose a stabilizer—a special backing that supports your embroidery. To embroider on mesh caps, a lightweight, tear-away stabilizer works best. It’ll help keep your stitches neat without weighing down the cap.

Next, pick the right hoop size to keep your cap flat and tight while you embroider.


Use clips or bobby pins to help secure the cap in the hoop if you’re having trouble getting it just right.

How to Embroider the Front of Mesh Caps

The front of the cap is where your design will shine. Here’s how to make it happen:

Design Selection

Picking the right design is crucial. You want something that stands out but isn’t too complicated for the mesh’s open texture. Simple, bold designs work best. Think about using larger shapes and avoid tiny details that might get lost in the mesh.

Embroidery Techniques

When embroidering on mesh, use a needle that’s sharp enough to penetrate the cap but not so large that it damages the mesh. A size 75/11 or 80/12 embroidery needle is a good choice. Adjust your machine’s tension, so the stitches are firm but not pulling on the mesh. Slow down your machine speed to give yourself more control over the stitching process.

Color and Thread Choices

Colors that pop can make your design really stand out on a mesh cap. Choose high-contrast thread colors that complement the cap’s color. Polyester thread is a great option for its durability and vibrant color choices. Remember, the goal is to make your design visible and attractive, drawing the eye without overwhelming the cap’s casual style.

Embroidering the Front of Mesh Caps

Step 1: Design Selection and Adjustment

Choose a Design: Select a design that is bold and simple enough to be visible on the mesh material. Avoid intricate details.

Adjust for Size: Use embroidery software to adjust the design’s size to fit the front of the cap properly.

Step 2: Preparing the Cap

Insert Stabilizer: Place a lightweight, tear-away stabilizer inside the cap, under the front panel where you will embroider.

Flatten the Front Panel: Use your hands or a small iron to gently flatten the front panel of the cap, ensuring a smooth surface for embroidery.

Step 3: Hooping

Secure the Cap in the Hoop: Place the cap and stabilizer in the embroidery hoop, making sure the area to be embroidered is centered and tight. Use clips to hold any excess material out of the way.

Step 4: Machine Setup

Select the Needle and Thread: Choose a sharp embroidery needle (75/11 or 80/12) and high-quality polyester thread.

Load the Design: Transfer your adjusted design to the embroidery machine.

An SWF Embroidery Machine
An SWF Embroidery Machine

Step 5: Embroidery

Begin Embroidering: Start the machine, keeping an eye on the embroidery process to ensure the needle smoothly passes through the mesh and stabilizer.

Monitor Tension: Adjust the thread tension if necessary to prevent puckering or loose stitches.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Remove the Hoop: Once completed, carefully remove the cap from the hoop.

Clean Up: Trim any jump threads and carefully remove the stabilizer. Lightly steam if needed to smooth out any puckering.

Embroidering the Back of Mesh Caps

Embroidering the back of a mesh cap can add a unique touch, but it does come with its own set of challenges. Here’s how to embroider on the mesh cap’s back:

Step 1: Design Selection and Adjustment

Choose a Smaller Design: Since the back of the cap has less space, select a smaller or simpler design that fits well.

Adjust Design Placement: Ensure the design is centered and positioned to be visible above any closure mechanism.

Step 2: Preparing the Cap

Insert Stabilizer: As with the front, use a lightweight, tear-away stabilizer placed inside the cap, beneath the area to be embroidered on the back.

Position the Cap for Embroidery: Flatten the area as much as possible, considering the cap’s closure mechanism to ensure the design will be embroidered in the right spot.

Step 3: Hooping

Secure in Hoop: Carefully hoop the back of the cap with the stabilizer, ensuring the area to be embroidered is centered. Use clips to manage excess material.

Step 4: Machine Setup

Needle and Thread Selection: Again, use a sharp needle and polyester thread for durability and visibility.

Load the Design: Ensure the design is correctly oriented and positioned for the back of the cap.

Step 5: Embroidery

Start Embroidering: Pay close attention to the machine, adjusting settings as needed to accommodate the cap’s shape and the stabilizer.

Adjustments: Be prepared to pause and adjust the hoop manually if embroidering near seams or closures to avoid needle breaks or uneven stitching.

Step 6: Completion

Remove from Hoop: Once finished, take the cap out of the hoop gently.

Final Cleanup: Trim threads, remove the stabilizer, and apply light steam if necessary to relax any puckering around the embroidery.

Adjusting Designs for the Back

The space on the back of a cap is often smaller and sometimes interrupted by the cap’s closure (like snaps or straps). Choose or adjust your design to fit this space.

The space on the back of a cap is often smaller and sometimes interrupted by the cap’s closure…

Smaller, simpler designs or initials work well here. Make sure the design is centered and positioned in a way that it’s visible above the closure.

Special Considerations

Embroidering over seams and closures requires a bit of extra care. Use a smaller hoop if possible, and consider a water-soluble topping to help keep the stitches even on uneven surfaces. If your machine has trouble embroidering over thick seams, you might need to manually move the hoop or adjust the design placement to avoid these areas.

Differences in Embroidering Mesh Caps Compared to Other Materials

Embroidering on mesh caps is quite different from embroidering on solid fabrics, and here’s why:

Material Challenges

The open weave of mesh means your stitches have less fabric to hold onto. This can lead to designs that look sparse or lose definition. To combat this, use a dense underlay stitch pattern to provide a solid foundation for your design. This helps “fill in” the gaps in the mesh and gives your top stitches a smoother appearance.

Technique Adjustments

When moving from solid fabrics to mesh, you’ll need to make some adjustments. Reduce your machine’s speed to give yourself more control over the stitching. You might also need to increase the density of your stitches to ensure your design is fully realized on the open mesh.

Be mindful of the tension settings on your machine; too tight, you risk pulling or distorting the mesh. Too loose, and your stitches may not secure properly.

Common Questions and Concerns

A Polymesh Embroidery Stabilizer
A Closeup of a Stabilizer

Let’s address some of the most common questions and concerns you might have when embroidering mesh caps:

Q: What type of stabilizer should I use?

A: A lightweight, tear-away stabilizer is best for mesh caps. It provides enough support for the embroidery without leaving a stiff residue.

Q: How do I prevent thread breakage?

A: Use a high-quality polyester thread and ensure your machine’s tension is properly adjusted. Also, regularly check your needle for sharpness; a dull needle can snag on the mesh and cause breaks.

Q: How can I keep the cap stable in the hoop?

A: Use clips or bobby pins to secure the edges of the cap to the sides of the hoop. Make sure the area to be embroidered is as flat as possible.

Troubleshooting Tips

Thread Keeps Breaking: Lower the tension on your machine and check the needle. Switch to a thread brand known for its strength and flexibility.

Design is Puckering: Reduce the density of your stitches slightly and make sure you’re using a stabilizer that’s appropriate for the weight of the mesh.

Final Thoughts and Best Practices

To wrap up, embroidering mesh caps is a fantastic way to flex your creative muscles and add a personal touch to a popular accessory. Remember these key points when embroidering on mesh caps:

  • Choose the right materials: Select caps made of quality mesh and compatible thread and stabilizer.
  • Preparation is key: Properly prepare your cap and machine before starting.
  • Embrace simplicity: Bold, simple designs work best on mesh.
  • Practice makes perfect: Don’t be discouraged by mistakes. Each project is a learning opportunity. Encouraging creativity and experimentation is at the heart of embroidery. With practice, you’ll find your rhythm and technique for creating stunning embroidery on mesh caps that stand out. Keep pushing the boundaries of your embroidery skills, and most importantly, have fun with it!


Embroidering mesh caps can be as rewarding as it is challenging. Armed with these tips and techniques, you’re well on your way to creating beautiful, durable designs. Remember, the journey of embroidery is a continuous learning experience, filled with opportunities to refine your skills and express your creativity. So, grab your needle and thread, and let’s make some embroidered mesh caps that everyone will love!

Image Reference

  • Featured Image – COS Stores. Mesh Cap [Photo]. Pinterest.