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Can You Stretch A Straw Hat A Size?

Discussion in 'Hats' started by MJL, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. MJL

    MJL One of the Regulars

    A while back I picked up a Resistol straw hat in size 7 5/8. I have had a "stretcher" in the hat since I picked it up but I cannot seem to stretch it out to my size, 7 7/8. I am thinking about getting the hat soaking wet and trying to stretch out the hat. Is this going to ruin it? I have some issues I would like to ask about. My hat stretcher is almost at its limit of length at 7 7/8 and is made of wood. I am concerned about getting it wet and breaking the wood. Could I place a wash clothe or something between the strecher and the hat to keep water from swelling the wood? If I had a normal persons size head I would just sell this hat and get one the right size. Getting ANY hat in my size is such a mission that I am looking to kick this hat one size up. Is this a job best left to a profesional blocker or can it be done at home. What is likely to go wrong? Any advice would be appreciated!
     
  2. MJL

    MJL One of the Regulars

    Anyone? Can I stretch a 7 5/8 to a 7 7/8?
     
  3. I would use a hat stretcher. If you want to send it to Ecuador they'll do it for free.
     
  4. If one were to use a hat stretcher on a straw hat, say to increase it a size, would it distort the line of the crown as in the photo below?

    [​IMG]
     
  5. MJL

    MJL One of the Regulars


    Ha! I have a Brother-in-law in Peru. Maybe I can send it to there instead!
     
  6. MJL

    MJL One of the Regulars


    Yeah that is the effect I am seeing as a result of my use a stretcher. I stopped before it got too bad. I was thinking about getting the hat wet and using my head as a stretcher. Afterward I would wash it out with clean water and then using the wooden stretcher to allow it to dry larger than it is now. I may dunk it in water for a few minutes and go mow the yard this weekend to see if this trick will work. If not, oh well.
     
  7. Is the height of the distortion the same height as that of the leather inner band? I've seen some hats want to shrink or go back a bit, but the leather inner won't let it in that area.
     
  8. MJL

    MJL One of the Regulars


    Actually the ersatz leather sweat band is what I think is keeping me from really getting this thing pressed out. As I expand the hat stretcher the sweat band seems to develop rippled on its sides. I think I am going to take this hat to the yard and then shower this summer to see what comes of it. If it is ruined so be it.
     
  9. feltfan

    feltfan Call Me a Cab

    what stretcher are you using?

    Have you consulted other threads here on hat stretching?

    Did you treat your leather sweat with Lexol or some other
    conditioner before stretching it? Are you using a full crown
    hat stretcher or one of those cheapies that just stretch
    at the sweat band? Are you steaming the hat (don't know
    if that works for straw)?
     
  10. MJL

    MJL One of the Regulars

    Yeah, a few weeks ago I started looking into past posts. Maybe I missed one but I did not see a post about stretching straw. As to the sweat band. No I did not treat it with any product as I do not think it will respond. It appears to be some sort fake leather. I did see a few posts that talked about steaming felt hats but I am not sure that will work for straw. Oh and I am using a stretcher that pushes on the band area.
     
  11. Try turning the sweat band out and then using the stretcher on it. If it ain't leather I'm not sure it will stretch. Why not remove the band altogether, sew in some light fabric or get a new band. Or remove some of the band from the back of the hat by the little ribbon at the rear.
     
  12. MJL

    MJL One of the Regulars


    Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I am going to try that this weekend. This will just prove to me that getting hats that are one size too small just never works out. I got to keep looking for the 7 7/8s!
     
  13. MJL

    MJL One of the Regulars

    Well, throwing caution to the wind I wore the hat into the shower. Using lukewarm water I got it wet and fitted it to my head. I took it out and towled it off. I then pulled the sweat band down and put the stretcher into place. It seems to have done the trick. The hat seems much more comfortable than before but it is still not quite on the money as far as fit is concerned. The only change I see is a little droop in the front part of the brim and a little bulge from where the stretcher pushed. I am going to try and wear this hat a bit this week to see how it feels now. I HATE these fake leather sweat bands. Is there a better and easy to install replacement? The fake leather makes me sweat so bad I might as well not wear a hat!
     

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