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Reshaping a wool Fedora

Discussion in 'Hats' started by dragonaxe, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. dragonaxe

    dragonaxe One of the Regulars

    Hi folks

    Are the techniques for reshaping the brim and crease on a wool/fur Fedora the same as a fur one? I've been researching steaming and bashing on the net, and they all show fur hats being converted.

    So, I'm wondering if I should use the same methods on my wool/fur crushable?

    Last edited: Oct 19, 2010
  2. I'm sure there's someone on here who has managed it, but my understanding is that wool is at best much, much harder to reshape than fur.
  3. I wouldn't use steam on a wool or wool blend hat, think of what hot water does to a wool sweater = you always wash those in cold water. To rework any crease in wool or wool blend, I'd just use a spray bottle in distilled water to get it wet enough to mold then let it dry very slowly, preferably on my head. Fur felts tolerate water where wool seems to breakdown with repeated wettings. You'd have to add some stiffener back to the wool body. With fur felts, steam reactivates the shellac, in my experience.
  4. I guess it depends on the wool hat. Ive had a couple of wool fedoras where the hat holds its shape using the spray bottle.
  5. bumphrey hogart

    bumphrey hogart One of the Regulars

    Don't use steam on a wool hat unless you've got a 'hat jack'(lock & co website) and then it's inadvisable,they just shrink.I've found you can't do a lot with wool hats shapewise,you can do pretty much anything with felt and steam but that's the price difference.I did make a porkpie for a friend last week with a knackered wool felt, wide brimmed trilby I found in a charity shop.I cut down the brim and then soaked it in tepid water,reshaping the crown whilst wet,I also had to shrink it two sizes,but the hat cost £2.50 and if it hadn't worked it didn't matter,the fact that it turned out alright was as much luck as judgement and I could set my hat jack to his head size so it could shrink down to it and no further.Anyway,to summarise,I would be really wary with wool,it's easy to shrink unless it's the most expensive wool felt and it doesn't hold it's shape anywhere near as well as furfelt regardless.If you're not happy with your hat look on ebay,some fantastic vintage bargains out there,lock,dunn& co,christy's, all come up for a song,we all end up with collections,(I got a beautiful,unworn looking dunn for £9.99).By the way,what does lol and ong mean?Hope this has helped,cheers.
  6. dragonaxe

    dragonaxe One of the Regulars

    Thanks for the advice guys. I couldn't help but have a go anyway :rolleyes:
    I steamed just the front and back brims (to lower them into more of an aussie outback style). I made sure to hold it for no more than 5secs at the very furthest from the steam (just before it disappears into the air) so it wasn't too hot, but still carrying lots of water vapour. It appears to have shaped very nicely, although I'm not convinced it won't move back to its original shape over the next few days, but it was worth a go (and seems to have worked).

    LOL = Laugh Out Loud
    No idea what ONG means, but OMG = Oh My God
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2010
  7. I use steam to shape wool hats all the time. It isn't necessary to get the hat wet so it cools and dries very quickly without shrinkage. I always work on small sections at a time.

    I find that it is often necessary to work the brim sides a bit to keep the front and back dips from rising. I usually do that by holding the front and back in place and hitting each side with a shot of steam. You can feel the brim relax as you work. Several quick shots with time to cool in between works better for me than trying to steam the entire brim.
  8. bumphrey hogart

    bumphrey hogart One of the Regulars

    If it does go back try the dampening it and put it on the arm of a chair so the front and back can hang down whilst the sides are supported,and thanks for the definitions,thought something was odd,L.O.L always used to mean lots of love but it didn't seem right!
  9. FrankMc

    FrankMc Familiar Face

    Stetson Wool Crusher

    I have a Stetson wool crusher and it is an XL, but a bit tight. I am wondering if it can be stretched and if the leather hat band is what may be keeping it tight. I love the hat.
  10. Sweatband contraction is usually the culprit of "tighter" fitting hats. When you sweat, the sweatband absorbs it & then when it dries, the oils of the leather go with the evaporating water & the cells of the leather collapse. Conditioners replace those oils & a hat-jack can get your size back.
  11. RJR

    RJR I'll Lock Up

    You might consider a band block to maintain the size.
  12. FrankMc

    FrankMc Familiar Face

    Thanks guys. Would you stretch it the method (using steam) as you would a felt?
  13. FrankMc

    FrankMc Familiar Face

    By the way, the sweatband is not leather on these hats, the hat band is, but not the sweatband.
  14. NEVER use steam on wool like you would fur felt!
    Think wool sweater = always wash in COLD water. Wet the wool with room temp, distilled water in a sprayer.
    That's how I reshape woolies...stretching included.
    Hat bands can shrink & tighten hats too....
  15. Crushable wool felts have something in the felt that renders them nigh impossible to alter their shape & that includes enlarging them, besides, even if you did manage to stretch it a bit, you would permantly change the swoop & form of the brim which would completely change the look of the hat.

    Get a new hat your correct size. :eusa_clap
  16. I recently purchased a Belfry Gangster wool crushable to replace my old crushable. The one I recieved came with a flat brim, so I needed to shape it myself. Unfortunately, this has proven extremely difficult, even more so than any other wool hat I've owned (and I own quite a few crushables).
    I originally used cold water to shape the brim, but after shaping the brim dried into something resembling a rather warped Indiana Jones-style fedora, which is not what I wanted. I'm trying to make it look like a snap brim, which as I've seen on this forum is possible to do with the Belfry. After this first failed attempt I tried again with more water, but after it dried it again warped into the same shape. I eventually tried using a snap brim hat I own as a mold so it would dry in the shape I wanted, but even after letting it dry in the other hat for several days it returned to the same shape within minutes of my removing it.
    I've recently tried steam (which people suggest be used on this hat) with the same result, then I soaked it in hot water with the same result. The hat didn't even shrink like wool is supposed to (this would have been fine as it fits slightly large and I have to use a sizing band).
    Part of the problem seems to be that the back of the brim refuses to stay up. The very edge does curl up, but at the most it lies flat or slightly down which pulls the sides up Indiana Jones-style.
    Seeing as everything I can think of hasn't worked, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions?

    Note: I am currently considering cutting the brim, as it's very near to being too wide and I feel like removing the hem around the edge would make it easier to shape. I'm holding off on doing this for now because I don't know if this would work, currently it is only an option if all else fails.
  17. Note: Swing Motorman posted a very well-shaped Belfry Gangster in this thread here. His is the fourth response, so you'll have to scroll down a ways, but it proves that it is possible. It just so happens that this is the style I'm shooting for as well.
  18. A woolen sweater does not shrink from being soaked in hot water. It starts to shrink when soaked in hot water and manipulated. It's the combination of moisture, heat and movement that makes wool shrink - and the same happens when felt is prepared for hat-making. Steam should be used with some caution on all felt hats, but in my mind there's no reason to avoid steam on wool-felt hats.
    RJR likes this.
  19. William G.

    William G. One of the Regulars

    I have no experience with wool hats personally, but have you ever tried a stiffener? There's a thread about stiffening wool hats here that may be of help.
  20. I did try stiffener after using my other hat as a mold, but as it did make the fabric stiff it still returned to its original shape.

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