Liz Woodhouse of Embroidery Academy shares two different ways to stitch a design onto a beanie

According to Liz Woodhouse, those new to embroidering on beanies can find it tricky at first, with the stitches prone to sinking into the fabric.

Liz, who runs Embroidery Academy, which offers embroidery training, suggests two possible routes to beanie perfection: the first is to use a knockdown stitch, and the second is to use water-soluble topping. “A knockdown stitch is created as part of the design,” explains Liz.

“It is an open fill stitch in the same colour as the beanie’s fabric that sits behind the whole design – in this step-by-step we have used black.

“The knockdown stitch compresses the knitwear and creates a stable area for the design to sew onto, achieving a sharp clear result, even with fine detail. The downside is that it will increase the stitch count and take longer to run.

“Alternatively, you could use water-soluble topping. This is laid on top of the fabric then hooped; make sure it is nice and smooth before hooping. This too will compress the knit and give a smooth, stable area to sew onto. The downside to this is that there is a little more finishing needed to remove the topping. This can be ripped off or you can use a damp cloth or fine mist of water to dissolve the excess material.”

Below, Liz demonstrates both processes and how they can be used to achieve clear, high-quality embroidery.


(1) Firstly, turn the beanie inside out and unfold the turn-up – you will be embroidering the turn-up. Lay the hat on the table with the crown of the hat facing you. This way, the logo will face the right way when the hat is worn

(2) Place the ring of the hoop inside the beanie, leaving 2–3cm of the hoop showing, then pop the stabiliser inside the beanie and over the whole ring

(3) If you are using the knockdown stitch, hoop the beanie then place it on the embroidery machine

(4) Embroider the knockdown stitch first in the same colour as the beanie. By compressing the fabric, it creates a clean, stable area to embroider the logo onto

(5) Once the logo has been run, remove the hoop and the beanie is ready to go

(6) If, however, you’re using the water-soluble topping, lay the topping on top of the fabric then hoop it. Make sure the topping is smooth before hooping

(7) The water-soluble topping will, like the knockdown stitch, compress the knit and give a smooth, stable area for sewing onto, resulting in a sharp, clear result

(8) Remove the topping by hand. Use a damp cloth or a fine mist of water to dissolve any bits that remain

(9) [Top] This is the design embroidered straight onto the beanie; the stitches have been distorted, looking irregular and messy; this version [middle] uses water-soluble topping, which gives a much better result: the stitches are smoother, and the shapes are not distorted; and this version [bottom] uses the knockdown stitch. Liz believes this approach gives the best result with sharp stitches, accurate shapes, and even letters