The hat we know today as a baseball cap first became popular in the 1800s. The Brooklyn Excelsiors were an amateur baseball team in 1860 who first wore what we know as baseball caps to play their sport. The baseball cap is considered a hybrid of two different hats. The Boston cap and a yachting cap. They were both designed to shield the eyes of those who wore them from the sun. Baseball caps were liked because they were easy to wash and were durable. Today, there is a specific manufacturing process involved with making baseball caps.
Many types of baseball caps are made with solid-color wool. Others are made of cotton or a synthetic cotton combination. There is always a type of stiffening used in the bill of the cap. Sometimes a plastic insert is used and in other caps, a type of buckram is used.
The design of the baseball cap has changed little since it was first introduced in the 1800s. Over the years some companies tried to change the design to provide a better fit. Others have tried to provide an insert into the visor so it is more flexible but also sturdy. The only significant changes have been the fabric as well as the variety of colors available.
The layers of fabric are chosen. The layers of fabric are placed on top of one another and then cut using a saw designed for fabric cutting.
Many designs have a mesh inner layer placed in the back of the two front panels. This is done to make it strong enough for the stitching involved with putting on an embroidered logo.
Sections of the baseball cap’s soft crown are then given to the eyelet department. Here a machine pierces each panel giving it a small hole. These will serve as vents for the heat and perspiration created by those wearing the baseball cap.
When two front panels are intended to get embroidery, they are sent to the embroidery department. Here a machine that is computer-driven embroiders words or a logo on one panel. Two panels could be used if necessary.
A baseball cap can be made of six or eight panels. A designated number of panels are sent to the sewing department. The six or eight panels are then sewn together. At this point, the baseball cap is not finished as it does not have a visor. A cap without a visor is called a beanie.
Once the beanies are sent to the binding department, the soft crown is covered with a binding tape. This tape gives the baseball cap a finished look. It also makes certain the seams won’t unravel from washing, hard wear or perspiration. A galvanized steel button, covered in the same color as the other parts of the cap, is attached in the center of it. The galvanized steel button is placed where each section of the cap meets and keeps it from sagging.
The visor is constructed of two pieces of fabric with a type of stiffener placed in the center of it. This is when the correct color of the visor is matched with the beanie. A visor is usually stitched a few times to give it sufficient strength and durability. Both pieces are then carefully sewn together.
Some companies offer a baseball cap designed to be a one size fits all. This baseball cap will have an adjustable elastic band sewn in the back of it. There are some companies able to makes custom baseball caps according to specific head sizes.
The final step is to sew some type of sweatband onto the inside of the baseball cap. This step is usually done with industrial grade sewing machines. A thick fabric could be placed behind the sweatband such as a type of cotton. At this time, a label may also be placed in the baseball cap. The baseball cap is now finished and ready to be sold.
Some companies will vary this process in an effort to produce a better product. Some will steam the sewn baseball caps when they are finished so its shape is set. Others will include a step where they stitch along different edges of the baseball cap so its fabric does not roll back on itself. Each company determines its own standards for raw materials as well as what to include in its baseball cap manufacturing process.