CRAFT - How one panel cap is made

What is the actual process of one cap being made at the capalog?

All the caps at the capalog are made in house, that means they are all cut out, sewn, overlocked and finished and packed and sent out from the same building.

Cap pieces ready to sew and the final caps shown as examples

They are made in batches, so every stage is production lined, in order to keep the price sustainable and affordable and to allow more caps to be made in a shorter amount of time!

But what is the actual process of one cap being made at the capalog?

Cutting the fabric pieces of a cap out using fabric scissors, paper pattern and pins Cap fabric panels and cap patterns pinned to fabric

Step 1: Firstly the fabric pieces are cut out using paper patterns, pins and fabric scissors. All the paper patterns are drawn by hand, that's where the capalog started, how the shape of the patterns can differ and make different cap shapes.

If multiple versions of the same pattern piece and size are needed, then the beast electric rotary is drafted into service, so it depends on the size and colour or the orders that week! The electric rotary cutter can cut upto 10 layers of fabric at once, depending on the thickness of the fabric. It's loud and sharp though! Mind yer fingers for sure.

Fabric layers cut out by an electric rotary cutter

There are multiple sized paper patterns for all the cap styles, and I try to double up pattern pieces for multiple sizes if I can and use different seam allowances where poss. With half an inch between each cap size, that is possible whilst still maintaining the cap style and shape. The rotary cutter does create some really cool cross sections of all the fabric colours too.

Side view of fabric pieces cut to make panel caps

Step 2: the pieces are pinned and machined together along the seams, on a sewing machine using specific seam allowances, with seams overlocked* where necessary, until the crown is finished.

*Overlocking is the finishing stitch that is used on seams on clothing, the overlocker stitches and cuts simultaneously as it goes along and can use 4 rolls of thread at a time. If you look at your clothing now, chances are you will find an overlocked seam or hem on whatever you are wearing. Most of the seams are also topstitched after overlocking also.

Cap panel pieces pinned together to sew

Step 3: Once the crown is finished, the peak is cut out and made, that includes both the insert and the fabric. The peak insert is cut out in house also, using a leather cutting press and a custom made die, in a specific peak shape. At the moment I use hdpe for the inserts, BUT hoping to make these from recycled plastic sheets soon.

Panel cap peak insert and fabric pieces Panel cap peak being sewn on sewing machine
Step 4: the peak is joined to the crown. They are pinned together and marked out too. I get SUPER ocd about this part, as well the front of the cap and being symmetrical is pretty integral.
Panel cap peak being sewn to panel cap crown

Step 5: the headband is measured and cut out, then pinned in place and attached. Each headband is cut to size and essentially it has to be pinned really accurately, in order to make sure it's sitting in the right place.

A lot of the capmaking process is ruled by the laws of circumferences of ovals and in a nutshell the headband size is fractionally smaller than the size of the crown of the cap, because that is how it sits more comfortably inside the oval of the crown so to speak.

Panel cap headband being pinned in place Panel cap headband being machined into place

Step 6: lastly the labels are pinned and stitched and then the ditches are reinforced to hold the headbands in place. Ditches are the dip or ditch in a seam on the outside of the cap.

This normally involves changing the colour thread on the machine again, one last time in order to colour match to each colour of cap I am sewing at the time.

Labels on a panel cap shown in close up

Then caps are packed up in compostable and recyclable cardboard boxes and sent on their merry way with royal mail!

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