One of the main reasons people opt for an embroidery machine is that they want to customize their hats and shirts.
That’s mostly because they feel the factory-made shirts and hats are bland in design. And that embroidery would give that shirt/hat a personal touch.
In some rare cases, business owners make embroidered shirts/hats and gift them to their customers for further brand promotion.
Whatever the case, you need a high-quality embroidery machine for this purpose. That’s because low-quality machines won’t be able to perfectly embroider those intricate and complex designs.
Based on my testing, the Janome 9850 is an ideal machine if you want to embroider hats and shirts for yourself. On the other hand, the BAi Mirror 1501 is perfect if you want to do it on a commercial scale.
But there are some people who might like other embroidery machines, depending on their use case and budget.
That’s why I have compiled this list of the six best embroidery machines for hats and shirts.
Let’s begin without any further ado.
Top 6 Best Embroidery Machines For Hats and Shirts In 2023 Reviews
1. Janome 9850 – Best Embroidery Machine For Hats And Shirts
As said earlier, the Janome 9850 is the ideal embroidery machine for hats and shirts. And that’s for multiple reasons.
Firstly, it comes with 175 built-in embroidery designs, 2 fonts with European characters, and USB design transfer.
In addition to these, you also get 200 built-in sewing stitches, 6 one-step buttonholes, automatic thread tension, a built-in needle threader, and a memorized needle up/down. Plus, with the one-step needle plate conversion and drop feed, you can work with any material with ease.
As for the accessories, you get two hoops, the RE20a at 6.7″ x 7.9″ and the SQ14a at 5.5″ x 5.5″, so you can work on a range of projects.
Other features include a full-intensity lighting system with 5 white LED lamps in 3 locations, a start/stop button, an automatic thread cutter with memory function, and thread brand selection.
Plus, with memory capability of up to 3MB of storage and a maximum stitch length of 5mm, this machine is sure to handle any project you throw at it.
For added convenience, the 9850 also features six one-step buttonholes, a drop feed system, an easy reverse button, and an extra high-presser foot lift.
Lastly, you’ll get sewing application support with on-screen help and an efficient bobbin winder with a plate and cutting Blade.
Pros and Cons
- It comes with a lot of accessories.
- It can be used as a sewing machine.
- Full-color LCD touchscreen.
- Large embroidery hoop size.
- Additional accessories must be from the Janome brand for proper functionality.
- This machine is heavy, which affects its portability.
2. Brother PE550D – Best Shirt Embroidery Machine For Beginners
The Janome 9850 is a perfect embroidery machine for most sewists. But the problem is that it costs almost 2000 bucks – too much for most of the first-time sewers.
That’s why our next pick is the Brother PE550D.
Costing a fraction of the Janome 9850’s price, it has most of the features you need in an embroidery machine.
With 125 built-in designs (including 45 Disney options) and 9 built-in fonts, including 6 English and 3 Japanese lettering font styles, you can easily add a personalized touch to your projects.
Thanks to the USB port, importing embroidery designs into your PE550D’s memory has never been easier.
Simply connect your device and let the machine do the rest. The possibilities are endless as you explore new designs and patterns to bring your vision to life.
You can preview these designs through the large 3.2-inch LCD display and get a glimpse of your masterpiece before the first stitch.
The PE550D comes with a 4×4-inch embroidery field, a perfect size for a variety of projects.
Whether you’re embroidering baby clothes, home decor, or accessories, this machine has you covered.
Pros and Cons
- Easy to set up.
- Affordable price.
- The bilingual manual will help beginners.
- It comes with a 25-year warranty.
- The 4×4 hoop limits your options.
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3. BAi Mirror 1501 Embroidery Machine – Best Commercial Hat Embroidery Machine
There are many sewists among us who’ve gained enough experience and now want to start their own embroidery business.
If you fall into this category, go for the BAi Mirror 1501.
This machine comes with an impressive 350x500mm embroidery area, making it perfect for tackling big projects such as suitcases and jacket backs. No design is too large or too intricate for this machine.
Not only that, but this multi-needle embroidery machine can also reach up to 1,200 stitches per minute in just five seconds.
Another standout feature of the BAi Mirror 1501 is its comprehensive accessory package. These accessories enabled you to work on hats, T-shirts, hoodies, jeans, jackets, bags, and even shoes.
This computerized embroidery machine also comes with a USB, allowing you to effortlessly transfer DST/DSB files from your computer directly to the machine.
Another thing I liked about the Mirror 1501 machine is the dedicated support team for each user. From unboxing and assembling to threading and tension adjustment, they will guide you step by step, ensuring that you overcome the learning curve quickly and seamlessly.
To further enhance your embroidery experience, you can follow their “BAIEmbroideryMachineTV” channel.
Pros and Cons
- Ideal for commercial-level embroidery.
- It gives you the option of multi-needle embroidery.
- Not portable
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4. UTEN 2685A – Best Ultra-Budget Embroidery Machine For Hats
In case you want to start embroidery on a super-tight budget, there’s UTEN 2685A for you.
The multifunctional features of this embroidery sewing machine are designed to make sewing a breeze.
With buttons for the start/stop, reverse stitching, and needle up/down, you have complete control over your sewing projects.
Automatic tension and stitch length/width add to the convenience and precision, while the light weight makes it a perfect choice for sewing enthusiasts on the go.
One of the standout features of the UTEN 2685A is its 200 unique built-in stitches. Whether you’re looking for decorative stitches, embroidered stitching, letters, or even buttonholes, this machine has it all.
With 8 one-step auto-size buttonhole styles, you can easily achieve professional-looking results every time. These stitches can selected through the LCD display.
The other thing I noticed is that you can also use this machine as a handheld device by connecting the foot pedal.
Whether you prefer electric mode or handheld mode, this mini sewing machine has got you covered. Set it up as electric for maximum speed and efficiency, or connect the foot pedal for a slower and more controlled stitching experience – perfect for beginners.
As far as the accessories go, this machine comes packed with 5 quick-change presser feet, including a zigzag foot, a zipper foot, a button foot, a blind stitch foot, and a buttonhole foot.
Pros and Cons
- It can easily work on multiple fabric layers
- It comes with a variety of presser feet.
- Instructions could’ve been more detailed.
5. EverSewn Sparrow X2 Sewing & Embroidery Machine
The EverSewn Sparrow X2 is another midrange embroidery machine that surprised me despite coming from a relatively smaller brand.
It boasts an impressive embroidery area of approximately 4.75 x 7 inches, allowing you to tackle larger projects with ease. With a stitching speed of 850 rpm, you’ll be amazed at how quickly and flawlessly your designs come to life.
But the Sparrow X2 isn’t just for embroidery. In fact, it’s a versatile powerhouse that seamlessly transitions into a high-quality sewing machine.
Simply remove the embroidery arm, and you’ll be equipped with 120 stitch patterns, automatic threading, and a built-in thread cutter. Whether you’re working on quilts, garments, or home decor projects, the Sparrow X2 has you covered.
Threading needles can be a tedious and frustrating task, but not with the Sparrow X. This machine is equipped with an automatic needle threader that makes threading a breeze.
Simply follow the easy instructions, and you’ll have your needle threaded in no time. And to make things even more convenient, a built-in thread cutter is included, so you can trim excess thread with ease.
You can also choose to turn on or off the thread sensors that alert you when the thread is running low, ensuring you never run out mid-project again.
With the Sparrow X2, you can connect your Android or Apple smart device to the EverSewn X2 App and unlock a world of endless possibilities.
One-touch buttons are a game-changer when it comes to sewing. EverSewn has thoughtfully included a variety of one-touch buttons on the front of the Sparrow X, making your sewing process smoother than ever.
From the auto-lock to reverse, start/stop to needle up/down, and speed adjustment slider buttons, you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips.
Organization is key when it comes to sewing, and Sparrow X2 understands that. It features a built-in storage compartment located in the machine bed.
With ample room to store presser feet, needles, a seam ripper, screwdriver, spool holders, and bobbins, you’ll have everything you need within reach.
As for the embroidery part, the Sparrow X2 comes with 134 built-in embroidery designs to choose from and 650 stitches per minute speed. You get two hoops with it: one large hoop measures 4-3/4x 7 inches, and the small hoop measures 1-7/8×2-3/4 inches.
The Sparrow X2 takes embroidery convenience up yet another notch with its built-in WiFi and the EverSewn Pro App.
This app can be downloaded to either Android or Apple devices and allows you to import, create, and manage your images. You can even keep an eye on designs to access the current thread color, time remaining, and your current embroidery status.
Pros and Cons
- It has two embroidery hoops.
- It comes with a built-in needle threader.
- It can be integrated with your smartphone through the app.
- The app could’ve been better.
6. SINGER Legacy SE300
The last embroidery machine of this roundup is the Legacy SE300.
With a whopping 250 built-in stitches, 200 embroidery designs, and 6 alphabet options, the possibilities for your creations are limitless.
One of the standout features of this machine is the USB stick embroidery design transfer. Gone are the days of being tethered to your computer.
Simply save and store your designs on a USB stick and effortlessly transfer them to the machine.
Despite being a midrange machine, the SINGER Legacy SE300 comes with a built-in needle threader that will have your machine threaded in just six seconds.
That’s right, with just a press of a button, you can have the entire machine threaded, from the spool to the needle’s eye.
The LCD touchscreen makes adjusting sewing and embroidery settings a breeze.
With its large display and easy-to-navigate interface, you’ll have full control over every stitch and design.
The 7 7/8 inch work area provides you with more space to manage hoops and projects. No more struggling with cramped spaces or limited maneuverability. And with this wider needle-to-tower area, you’ll have the freedom to bring even your largest and most ambitious designs to life.
Also, let’s not forget about the extra-large embroidery area. With a hoop that measures 10 1/4 x 6 inches, you’ll have ample room for your grandest designs. Whether it’s intricate patterns or bold statements, this machine can handle it all.
To top it all off, the SINGER Legacy SE300 comes with two snap-on embroidery hoops – a large one measuring 10 1/4 inches by 6 inches and a small one measuring 4 x 4 inches.
Pros and Cons
- It comes with 250 sewing designs and 200 embroidery designs
- Support USB design transfer
- Extra embroidery space for large projects
- It can be overwhelming for the beginners.
- It comes at a high price.
Things to Look For When Buying a Hat Embroidery Machine
All embroidery machines are not equal. Here are some of the main factors you need to consider when choosing a machine to embroider hats and shirts.
A larger embroidery area not only allows for greater flexibility in design placement and size but also offers endless creative possibilities.
With ample space to work with, you can bring your intricate and elaborate designs to life, capturing every detail with precision.
On the other hand, a machine with a smaller embroidery area may limit your creative potential, confining you to smaller, simpler designs that may not fully showcase your artistic vision.
Therefore, investing in an embroidery machine with a sizable embroidery area not only amplifies your creative possibilities but also enhances your productivity.
The speed of an embroidery machine is another crucial factor to consider. It is measured in stitches per minute (SPM) and dictates the pace at which designs are embroidered.
A faster machine does not necessarily produce better quality work. However, it can greatly increase your productivity, allowing you to complete more orders in a shorter period.
This feature may be of utmost importance if you are running a business or have a high volume of embroidery projects.
Number of Needles
A typical home sewing machine has only one needle, but an embroidery machine can come equipped with multiple needles, usually 4-10. The number of needles determines the number of thread colors that can be used in a design without needing to stop and change threads manually.
This not only saves time but also produces cleaner and more professional-looking designs, as there are no visible thread color changes. It is especially beneficial for complex designs with many color variations.
Thread Color Options
Embroidery machines typically come with a standard selection of thread colors, but some models may offer more choices.
It is important to consider the availability and cost of additional thread colors when deciding on a machine, as this can greatly impact the variety and quality of designs you are able to produce.
Built-in Designs and Fonts
Most embroidery machines come with built-in designs and fonts that can be selected and edited directly on the machine. These pre-loaded options vary in number, quality, and style depending on the model.
Some machines also allow you to import additional designs from a computer or USB drive. When choosing an embroidery machine, it is essential to consider your design needs and preferences in terms of font and style options.
Hat Hoop Capability
Using a hat hoop attachment when embroidering a hat is crucial for achieving high-quality results. The hat hoop ensures that the fabric remains taut and flat during the embroidery process, preventing any distortion or puckering. This results in precise and professional-looking designs on curved surfaces like hats.
Without the hat hoop, embroidering on hats can be challenging and may lead to uneven stitching or misalignment.
Warranty and Support
Purchasing an embroidery machine is a significant investment, and it is essential to ensure that it comes with a warranty for peace of mind. Most manufacturers offer warranties ranging from one to five years, covering any defects in materials or workmanship.
It is also important to consider the availability of customer support and technical assistance from the manufacturer in case you encounter any issues with your machine.
This support can be in the form of online tutorials, phone assistance, or even on-site repairs and maintenance. Choosing a brand with a good reputation for customer service can save you time and money in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Type of Embroidery is Used For Hats?
Embroidery is a popular method for decorating hats, and there are several different types of embroidery techniques used to achieve the desired effect.
The most common form of hat embroidery is called ‘flat’ embroidery, which involves the use of specialized computer software that can take artwork designs (such as logos, text, and graphics) and convert them into a series of digital stitch patterns.
These patterns are then transferred onto the fabric using a special machine that contains hundreds of tiny needles with thread attached to each one. The needles move in various directions, creating thousands of stitches that make up the design.
Another type of hat embroidery is known as ‘raised’ or ‘3D’ embroidery, which utilizes heavier threads than flat embroidery to produce higher quality results with greater detail and texture.
This technique is more labor-intensive since it requires manually created custom artwork specifically designed for this type of stitching process. But oftentimes, the end result justifies the extra effort required for its production!
Finally, you may also find some hats sporting ‘appliqué’ or ‘patchwork’ style appliques, which involve intricate cutting-out shapes from fabrics that have been fused onto an underlying material such as felt or other fabric pieces by using heat seal technology before they’re stitched on top in order to create interesting visual effects.
Can You Embroider Directly Onto a Hat?
Yes, you can embroider directly onto a hat.
Embroidering on hats involves two steps: prepping the hat and designing your pattern.
To prep the hat, you should use a synthetic stabilizer that is designed to create an even surface for your design. This will help ensure that the threads don’t sink into the fabric of the cap during stitching.
After prepping it, you can start to work on transferring or creating a design for your project. You can use paper patterns or draw directly on the material with transfer markers and then stitch over those lines onto your hat using a hoop or frame to stabilize it while stitching.
How Much Does it Cost to Make an Embroidered Hat?
The cost of making an embroidered hat depends on its size, complexity, and materials used.
Generally speaking, a basic cotton baseball cap with a single-color logo or text can range from $10-$25, depending on the quantity ordered.
For more complex designs with multiple colors in varied locations, pricing usually starts around $30 per piece for low quantities. As the number of caps increases, so does the unit price – going as low as $5 each for quantities over 500 pieces.
What Is The Best Embroidery Size For A Hat?
When it comes to the size of embroidery for hats, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
It largely depends on the shape and style of your hat as well as the desired effect you’re looking for in the embroidery itself.
However, there is a standard embroidery size that many prefer for hats and beanies, which is 120.65 mm x 54.61 mm (4.758×2).
This size is best for detailed designs, such as logos or more complex artwork with fine detail lines in them. The main reason this size works so well is that it allows very little room to lose any of those details from beading off or fading away due to threads being too thin during production and resulting in low-quality production pieces in general.
How Big Can Embroidery Be On A Hat?
The average recommended size for embroidery on hats, caps, or beanies is between 2-2.5 inches tall and no bigger than 13 inches wide.
The height of the designs really depends on the construction of the cap itself. If it has a curved brim or bill, then you should keep in mind that this will affect the overall placement and sizing of your embroidery as well.
There are certain limitations when it comes to how big an embroidered logo can be.
For example, if you’re using a single needle sewing machine with an 8 cm (3″) throat depth (the distance from needle plate to arm), then you won’t be able to exceed 3″ in terms of total stitching length.
Additionally, some typefaces may require additional space around them, which means that even though your design may be within these parameters.
How Long Does It Take To Embroider A Name On A Hat?
Embroidery on hats generally takes between 15 minutes and 2 hours, depending on the complexity of the design.
A basic embroidery design with minimal detailing can take less than 15 minutes to sew, while a more complex one with thousands of stitches could take two hours or more.
The speed at which a machine is set up also plays an important role in determining how long it takes to complete an embroidery project.
The stitch count of the design is another important factor that influences embroidery time on hats.
As a rule of thumb, if your hat has fewer than 5,000 stitches, it will likely take around 15 minutes to complete. But if it has upwards of 10,000 stitches, as many high-detail projects do, then consider increasing project time accordingly.
Can You Use A Regular Sewing Machine To Sew Patches On Hats?
Yes, you can use a regular sewing machine to sew patches on hats. Sewing patches onto hats is relatively easy as long as you have the right supplies and know how to use your sewing machine properly.