Embroidery Guideliens Info

Creating the perfect embroidery file

Learn about the most common issues with embroidery files and how to avoid them

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Embroidery 101: Find out the basics

Embroidery Guidelines
  1. High profile template
  2. Low profile template
  3. Side logo template
  4. Flat embroidery
    A technique where stitches are embroidered flat on the hat
  5. 3D Puff embroidery
    A technique where embroidery is raised. Used mostly for big shapes.
  6. Partial 3D Puff
    A technique where both Flat embroidery and 3D Puff used in the same graphic.
  7. Satin stitch outline
    Used to outline an object or to cap a 3D Puff design. It’s a long, straight embroidery stitch that looks like satin.
  8. Run stitch
    The running stitch is the basic stitch embroidery.The stitch is worked by passing the needle in and out of the fabric going straight forward in a line.
  9. Tatami fill
    Used to fill large areas.

The most common issues

Text too small, lines too thin

Avoid using very small letters because the embroidered text might not be legible. Keep the text at least 0.25'' in height and at least 0.05'' thick.

The minimum recommended line thickness for the regular satin stitch is 0.05''. For thinner lines we’ll use run stitch (a single line of stitches).

You can measure the text in Illustrator either by using the measuring tool, or by converting the font point size to inches. You can do this by going to:

  • File
  • Preferences
  • Units
  • General
  • Inches

0.25'' is equivalent to approximately 36pt, and the letters will also have the necessary thickness. But this depends on the font. We recommend using simple fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Myriad pro.

distressed stitching
distressed design

Distressed or textured graphics

With distressed or textured graphics many details might be lost during embroidery depending on the texture size. For these files, we’ll only be able to use flat embroidery, and extremely thin parts are likely to be run stitched.

Negative space objects

These are the empty spaces in the artwork - the hat fabric showing through the design (but don’t mix it up with transparent background, which is alright!). This can cause several problems.

Avoid these issues by filling the negative spaces with another color.

embroidery compatible color gradients


We can only embroider solid shapes and colors. Gradients won’t work because we can’t transition from one color thread to another.

You’ll have to convert gradients to a one color graphic, and split multiple color graphics with gradients into solid colors.

avoid solid backgrounds

Solid backgrounds

Graphics that cover a large part of the embroidery area will likely exceed the maximum stitch count of 15,000. Remove all backgrounds from your files to make sure they don't exceed this count.

If you’d like to keep the background, we’ll have to reduce the size of the graphic by up to 50%.

photography embroidery

Photographic images

It’s not possible to embroider photographic images as they are. Photographic images have to be recreated to include solid shapes and colors.

3D puff compatible font

3D Puff

Use bold shapes and text. Graphics that don’t meet the minimum object thickness will not be possible to embroider in 3D puff. Some fonts like calligraphy simply won’t work for 3D puff.

side embroidery

Side embroidery

The area for side embroidery is smaller than in the front. Include up to 10 characters per line in your text to make sure that the final result looks great.

Need some help with your designs?

Get in touch

A few more important facts

embroidery stiches

The right stitch for your design

Our digitizers decide on the types of stitches that will be the best for each design. Make sure to follow the guidelines because ultimately the type of stitch used will depend on your graphic. If you have any preferences for stitches, include them in the embroidery notes section.

stiching technique differences

Similar graphic, different result

Note that if you upload a new graphic that is visually similar to a design that you’d already uploaded earlier, the new graphic may not be digitized the same way as it was the first time! This is because we have multiple digitizers who manually process the files, and each of them could digitize the graphic differently.

embroidery adjustment fee

Adjustment fee

The stitch density and direction differ in hat and apparel embroidery. If you want to use hat files for shirts or vice versa, they need to be adjusted for $2.95 per file. 3D or partial 3D puff isn't available on apparel, so any previously digitized 3D or partial 3D puff hat files you have need to be digitized from scratch for apparel.

sample orders

Always order samples

The only way you can be sure that the product you’re selling looks great is first seeing it for yourself. Always order samples before you start selling a new design - even if it’s similar to one you’d already embroidered before.

Order Sample

Need help with your embroidery files?

Get in touch with our in-house design team! They’ll help you edit or recreate your designs for embroidery. Simply fill in the form below, and someone will get back to you within 24 hours on business days with a price quote. If you have a graphic, but you’re not sure if it will work for embroidery, contact our team and request a Skype consultation ($1 per minute)!