Glossary Term Image

How it’s made: 3D Embroidery

This embroidery technique consists in having a piece of the art or lettering puffs out above the rest of the design. You usually see this type of embroidery on baseball caps or sports hats, but it is also widely used on custom hats.

Also known as puff embroidery,  this method gives depth and height to a design by raising the logo or some of the lettering above the fabric. The creation of 3d puff embroidery is a process that generates incredible results.

However, 3d embroidery requires a few additional steps over regular embroidery. First of all, the digitized design (or matrix) has to be carefully made for 3d embroidery. Then, you need a special 3d embroidery foam. This foam comes in different thickness but 3mm is the most popular choice. Thicker foam increases the amount that the embroidery will stand up off the garment.

It’s also important to know that when working with 3D puff embroidery, color changes can be tricky. After the first color has been completed we have to stop the embroidery machine, cut a piece of embroidery foam large enough to cover the rest of the design and repeat the process for each different colors. The foam color we use should be as close to the color of the thread we will be stitching over it as possible.

However, since foam comes only in basic colors it is impossible to match all possible thread colors. Some people use only two basic colors: white foam on all light colors and black foam on all dark colors. We try to use colors that best match the thread colors.

Once the embroidery machine has completed its job, the excess foam can be removed. The last important step is to clean the embroidery off of any small pieces of foam that still remain. We use sharp tweezers to poke those piece back up into the stitches and use a heat source to heat the embroidery. The heat will shrink the small fragments of foam making them disappear under the embroidery.