Hesitant about trying cap embroidery? Ditch that ‘fear mode’ and get started in headwear decoration with this easy-to-follow guide to mastering cap frame systems from Sean Barker of AJS Embroidery

In a perfect world, a cap that needs decorating would be in component form (ie individual flat pieces, before they’re stitched together) as this makes embroidering a doddle. Unfortunately, you’re only ever likely to be asked to decorate finished caps so mastering how to embroider them is an absolute must.

Cap frames are a great addition to an embroidery machine, but they can put operators into fear mode unnecessarily. You can, however, overcome this if you follow my advice and remember that, as always, practice makes perfect.

Most industrial embroidery machines have a cap frame system of some sort for baseball-type hats. Tajima Japan invented the cap frame system shown in this step-by-step on the Tajima TMEZ-SC1501 embroidery machine.

The cap frame system is simple to fit: it only takes a few minutes to install and once the order is completed, it’s simple to return back to the normal tubular framing mode. Not all cap frames are the same – pay particular attention to the cap driver and the Z-motion wires.

You also need to check for smooth linear motion in all directions after fitting as this is vital if you want to achieve world-class cap embroidery.

There are a large number of companies that distribute an ever larger variety of caps – my advice is to buy a few and see how you get on with framing them and how they look when finished. The Tajima cap frame has an adjustable band that moves backwards and forwards to make the loading of different caps easier.



1. The full cap frame system from Tajima consists of a cap frame driver (top), two cap frame jigs and clips, and one cap loading jig (bottom)

2. The cap frame support rail can be left on the machine at all times as the bar is tucked in close to the machine’s arm

3. Make sure the embroidery machine is switched off. Then, slide the cap frame driver on and locate it using the two thumbscrews on the underside and the two on the top. The support rail helps with the location and secure fitting

4. After fitting the cap frame driver, rotate the driver from right to left and then gently front to back to make sure that the system is fitted correctly

5. Slide one layer of cap backing inside the cap frame, then move the metal band over from the left to the right and locate in the catch. If the band is too tight, loosen the adjuster and then retighten

6. Move the cap frame metal band over the cap and secure the clip – do not lock into position until the cap is central and the band is aligned with the bottom of the cap. When you are happy with the position, pull the latch into the lock position and add clips to help with fabric tightness

7. Make sure the bobbin case is full, execute the trace function on the machine and then run the design

8. The final design.