How To Avoid Needle Breaks On Caps

Stitch It International
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

By Lacey Stephens, Supplies Specialist

Running caps can be difficult when embroidering on thick structured material, so here are a few tips to help you run a smooth and crisp logo with the least amount of needle breaks. 

First make sure you are running a good quality thread and your tensions are set correctly, including your bobbin. Too tight or too loose of tensions will cause knotting and will break your needles. Also use the correct needle size to the thickness of your material. A universal 75/11 should be able to tackle most jobs, but if you are still struggling with needle breaks after everything you have tried, you can go up a size to an 80/12 and I would suggest using titanium because they are more durable and a lot stronger than your standard size needle. 

In a lot of cases, needle breakage will have to do with how you are hooping your hat. You want your hat to lay as flat as possible on the needle plate. Any bubbles in the material will make for a difficult embroidery, pleating and break the needle. Roll your bill outward before placing it onto your cap frame and use the binder clips to hold the hat downward. Work the material of the hat as much as possible for more flexibility, this will make it softer and the needle will be able to puncture the material easier. It really help to use a thinner, lighter ounce, tear away backing on thick caps, If you are using a thick stabilizer, it will be too much for the needle to puncture and make sure the backing is laying flat with no wrinkles to keep it from catching on anything causing damage while embroidering. The smoother everything lays, the smoother your job will be. I would suggest using 1 sheet of 2.5oz stabilizer for very thick hats. I am asked quite a bit about not using backing at all, but I would not recommend this because it will sew out of registration and could make things worse. 

After a needle break always make sure you are checking for pieces needle left behind in the hat, if the needle hits these little pieces it will break again. Another tip is to slow the machine down when embroidering caps, especially if you are running puff, satin stitches, or larger stitch counts. Try not to push your machine too hard, sometimes it runs smoother and has better quality by embroidering slower and make sure you have a good digitized logo. I have seen some of the worst needle breaks all because the logo had too many stitches or kept running over the same spot numerous times. If you are embroidering along the center seem, you will experience more breaks. Sometimes you just can’t get away from it but if you use these tips, you shouldn’t have a problem with a smooth and crisp looking embroidery. I have heard people say they absolutely hate running caps, but it really shouldn’t give you that much trouble. If you have tried everything and nothing is working, you may have to replace your hook and retime your machine. Constant needle breaks will damage it and it will start clicking very loudly. I hope these tips help you and make your job easier the next time you experience constant needle breaks.

If you are interested in any of these products, please give us a call or check out our online store at I will be able to answer any questions you may have or help you with your measurements for your machine.

Lacey Stephens

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