(Mis?)Adventures In DIY Cap Repair

A couple of weeks ago, I received what should have been the crown jewel of my collection: A genuine 1969 Seattle Pilots cap made by New Era. While the crown of the cap was in perfect condition, there were some problems. All of them had to do with the visor.

Like many caps its age, it suffers from what has become the bane of my existence: a cracked visor board. Actually, it wasn't cracked. It had completely crumbled. Most of the visor board pieces came in an envelope. The seam that kept the visor fabric together had ripped open, and the pieces came out. The other problem was the embroidered wheat stalks on the visor. The thread literally disintegrated. Some of it was already gone by the time it arrived, and the rest rubbed off when I touched it.

I knew that with a little work, I could get the cap into somewhat presentable condition. Luckily, New Era's Pilots caps did not have seams across the visor. There is only a seam between the blue top and green underside. I sacrificed a visor from an old worn-out cap, slid it inside, and glued it back together with fabric glue. It's not perfect, and there are a few patches of dried glue where I missed my mark, but it looks OK. I emailed every embroiderer in town to see if they could re-do the wheat stalk embroidery, but unfortunately no one can do it because the embroidery had been done prior to the assembly of the cap. I figured the next best thing was to find patches on eBay. There were no wheat stalks that were close the original design, so I bought military and airline-style "scrambled egg" wheat stalk patches that were the closest to looking like the original. I then glued them to the visor.

While it isn't perfectly aligned (the visor and crown weren't perfectly aligned to begin with), I placed them exactly on the outlines of where the original embroidery was. It's not the real deal anymore, but I am satisfied with what I was able to do.

If anyone has an intact New Era Seattle Pilots cap, I'm still looking to buy one. In the meantime, I've got a KM Pro version on it's way to me as I write this.

Coming soon: My adventures with the New Era "Re-Cap" kit.


  1. Where have you found vintage Seattle Pilots caps? The best I have is a Roman Pro from the early 80s. Those are nice. But I've never seen a New Era or A KM.

  2. Where have you found vintage Seattle Pilots caps? The best I have is a Roman Pro from the early 80s. Those are nice. But I've never seen a New Era or A KM.

  3. What a painful start to a story! Tho it did end up with a happy ending. I would had been devastated when the brim embroidery fell off. A minor instance, but the most important part of the cap is still intact. Very nice custom job.

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  5. I have a Yankees New Era cap from the mid-late '70s. It has a the cardboard brim used at that time. The cardboard has hardened with age. There is a crack in the cardboard. Do you have any suggestions as to how to soften the cardboard and somehow keep the crack from getting worse? Thanks.

    By the way, my "holy grail" hat is an early-mid '60s Yankees hat. I believe they were made by KB at that time. Even if I could find one for sale I doubt it would be less than $250. Probably much more.
    I hope the 2nd Pilots hat you are receiving is in mint condition.

  6. Whoops! I just realized you must have received your second hat a dozen years ago. I hope it was all you thought it would be.


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