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Thread: Making a hat into a Long Oval versus a standard

  1. #1
    Familiar Face
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    Making a hat into a Long Oval versus a standard

    Hi folks,

    I've got a 7 3/8s Biltmore dark green fedora that I really love. I wear a 7 3/8 long oval and this hat is just a regular 7 3/8. It's tight against my forehead and the back of my head and I have a gap on each side that I can fit my index finger into. I've tried using a wooden Hat-Jack to elongate it but that doesn't last long. Is there a way to make this hat into a 7 3/8 long oval? Is there a place I can send it to to have it done professionally? I don't want to risk it getting stretched any or else it will be too large. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

    Ed

  2. #2
    One of the Regulars
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    Sounds like you are in a bit of a bind, sorry. Stretching hats I'm learning is an interesting business. Some will resize and reshape quickly and flawlessly and others just won't give in. For what its worth here are my suggestions.

    Make sure and soften the leather with a good premium creme so it is more pliable.

    Sometimes you need to overstretch a teeny bit as some leather is tougher than others and will want to return to its original form.

    With the stretcher in the hat, give it a good dose of steam. The felt wants to hold the original block shape and is exerting forces as well. Especially in a subtle regular to long oval conversion.

    Be patient. Leather is sometimes like a hatter, it gets set in its ways and is hard to shift. Keep the pressure on for a few months with a dedicated stretcher.

    Don't worry too much about it ending up a bit loose. There are ways to shrink things a bit as well.

    Send it to a professional if you are at all unsure. Although in your case, I'd try it yourself first.

    Eric
    (Suspecting his hostage hat is being tossed into the 6 month stack )

  3. #3
    Familiar Face
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    Any suggestions on who to send my hat to to get reblocked?

  4. #4
    Head Bartender scotrace's Avatar
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    Optimo in Chicago. http://www.hatcleaning.com is their renovation arm. You should have about $30 & shipping in the job.

    As a guy with a quite long oval head... be careful. You can pop the stitches out of a round oval sweatband if you try tugging it too hard. In a vintage hat, this can happen without any tugging.

    Never take the advice from Hats Direct in Australia. Putting an Akubra Snowy River over my knee and pulling on it ripped out every stitch in ten seconds. Bad advice.
    .

    A sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth. - Fitzgerald

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  5. #5
    One of the Regulars
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    Isn't Baron hats out there in LA? I have no knowledge of their reputation but perhaps a few of the loungers want to chime in.

    Eric

  6. #6
    Familiar Face
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    Quote Originally Posted by scotrace
    Optimo in Chicago. http://www.hatcleaning.com is their renovation arm. You should have about $30 & shipping in the job.

    As a guy with a quite long oval head... be careful. You can pop the stitches out of a round oval sweatband if you try tugging it too hard. In a vintage hat, this can happen without any tugging.

    Never take the advice from Hats Direct in Australia. Putting an Akubra Snowy River over my knee and pulling on it ripped out every stitch in ten seconds. Bad advice.
    Thanks scotrace. Optimo is a great shop. I got my straw hat from them and it fits perfectly. I'll give them a try.

    Ed

  7. #7
    Call Me a Cab J.T.Marcus's Avatar
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    If all else fails try this. Give it a good soak in cold water, about an hour. Then reshape the oval by pressing in on the sides of the crown. Don't do any pulling or tugging. Make sure the shape is the way you want it, then hang it to dry, on the long neck faucet of the kitchen sink. Place the front center of the sweatband on the end of the faucet neck, and let it drip for an hour. Then try it on and check it out in a mirror. At this point, you can reshape if needed. Complete drying will take two days, but your hat will tend to keep, and return to, whatever shape you made it hold while drying.

  8. #8
    Practically Family Bud-n-Texas's Avatar
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    I posted this some time ago

    I am a long oval as well and this trick has worked well for me. Get a piece of dowel approx 1" and cut just longer than the inside diameter of the hat you want to stretch ( to give you a reference point, my dowel is cut at 8 1/4" and I am a 7 3/8 hat size). Cover the ends with moleskin, commonly available at most drug stores (this keeps the dowel from scuffing your leather sweat). Install it in the hat as shown, apply some steam and let it sit for a few days. You should be happy with the result. This method does not pull or tug, but gently pushes the hat into submission.

    "Experience is what you get, when you do not get what you want."

  9. #9
    One Too Many Pilgrim's Avatar
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    Bud, as another member of the Long Oval Brigade, I salute you! Looks like a super idea!!
    Member:
    Borsalino Brotherhood
    Open Road Guild
    Stratoliner Society

  10. #10
    Head Bartender scotrace's Avatar
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    I missed the rest of this thread! I've got hats to try the dowel method on right away.
    .

    A sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth. - Fitzgerald

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