Tips And Tricks For Stretching A Hat

Posted on January 21 2021

Sometimes, it feels good to stretch. But what about stretching hats? Well, chances are, the hat won't care. But you may need to stretch one of your hats if it has ceased to fit. Maybe you washed it or got caught in the rain and now your favorite hat has experienced a bit of shrinkage. Worry not!

What your hat is made of, and what kind of hat you're referring to, has everything to do with achieving the perfect fit. Over time, any hat that has natural fibers can shrink a bit. Add to that the weather, humidity, sweat, etc., and shrinking hat syndrome is very likely in your future.

Don't altogether ditch your snug hat just because it's a little tighter than it used to be. In no time, you can resize and stretch your hat by following some simple techniques. Also, consider buying adjustable hats, like snapbacks.

Lady with red a cap.

Before You Buy It – Try It!

First things first… Don't buy a hat without first trying it on if you are, indeed, buying it in person. If you put a hat on your head and it is way too tight, that's a headache waiting to happen – literally. On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, your hat will fall off if it's too loose. Particularly if you live in a windy area.

What's the perfect fit? You have the right size hat if, between the cap and your head, you can fit one finger.

Break-In Time

You want your hat to conform to your head, so the material will need to be loosened. Shaping your hat and stretching it can be done by simply wearing it. This applies to old cowboy hats, brand-new baseball caps, and everything in between. Just like a baseball glove, you may need to break in a hat before it will be considered one of your all-time faves.

Stretch and Spray Method

Break out a spray bottle of water and the blow dryer if you'd like to quickly stretch out your hat a little bit. This works best for classic felt designs, fitted baseball hats, cotton hats, etc. Soft fabrics and straw hats may also be fitted in this manner.

With a bottle of warm water, spray the inside band, outside the crown, and inside the crown. Just dampen it, don't douse it. Until the material is almost dry, blow dry the interior and exterior on the highest setting. Put it on once it's mildly damp and allow the surrounding air to fully dry it.

Note: If you don’t like the way a damp hat feels, you might consider stretching it over a soccer (or other) ball.

Shaping by Steaming

An effective way to loosen natural fibers and stretch a hat is with steam. This can work with the same types of hats as above. Rather than dampening the hat with a spray bottle of water, use a small pot or teakettle of water. Steam it a little, let it cool. Steam it a little more, let it cool. (About four times.) You will use the blow dryer in the same method as stated above and then wear the hat, when damp, for a perfect fit to your head.

Final Tips and Tools

Much like a shoe stretcher, to broaden your hat to the right size, a hat stretcher could be the answer. The soccer ball, or other ball, method mentioned above is another way of stretching a hat – particularly if you don't like the way a damp hat feels on your head.

Here's the thing, however: There is nothing like wearing a damp hat on your head, and letting it dry naturally, to achieve an absolutely perfect fit! Nothing beats it.

You May Not Need to Stretch Your Hat

At Hat Heaven, we carry hats of all kinds, colors, with logos, without, with catchy sayings, cartoon characters, and more. Avoid the hassle of perfectly fitting your hat (or stretching it) by choosing an adjustable model like the snapback or a trucker hat. We also carry fitted hats that, if you measure accurately, should fit you like a glove – so to speak. Click here – our FAQ page – and see the "What Do the Fitted Hat Sizes Mean?" section for assistance.

Shop our impressive inventory today!


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