Home Refurb of Stetson Imperial

Discussion in 'Hats' started by feltfan, May 9, 2011.

  1. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,190
    Location:
    Oakland, CA, USA
    As has been discussed here before, Stetson Imperials, especially from
    the 1940s and 50s, are hard to come by. So when I saw one a year ago
    in size 7 1/2 for chump change, I decided to take a chance, even though
    it clearly had problems.

    When it arrived it I was both pleased and saddened. On the one hand,
    that is some incredibly soft, strong felt and the sweatband is that soft
    roan one sees on rare occasion, and in good shape. On the other, the
    felt and ribbon were thoroughly stained.

    I could have coughed up three times the purchase price and had
    it cleaned professionally. Instead I did what many of you have done,
    and stuck it in the closet.

    This weekend I decided to see what I could do. In my experience,
    even a professional cleaning won't always come up with a pristine hat.
    So why not give it a go? Plain water and brushing didn't do much.
    So I decided to try soaking in Ivory Snow. I use it for wool and people
    have mentioned it here. I'm not ready to keep extremely flammable,
    toxic cleaning agents in my home. Here's what happened.

    These "before" pictures are, if anything, kind.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After soaking for a couple of hours, it's better, but not good enough:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  2. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,190
    Location:
    Oakland, CA, USA
    Cleaning...

    Here's the cleaning station (my bathroom sink), with the liner:
    [​IMG]

    Ever wonder if liners are sized?
    [​IMG]

    Liner logo:
    [​IMG]

    BTW, I rinsed it in the shower.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  3. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,190
    Location:
    Oakland, CA, USA
    I soaked it a second time, for about six hours.
    Here are the "after" shots. One surprise: the hat shrank a fair amount even though I used only cold or lukewarm
    water. I had to stretch the felt (if not the leather) as if it were a 3/8. It started out a loose 7 1/2, now it's snug.
    I was also surprised that the ribbon clung to its stain more readily than the felt.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Eminently wearable, but not perfect. I used a block to get the "JtL" rounded crown. Once
    that was set (using steam) I hand shaped the dents and set them with more steam. I ironed down
    the brim and may have to do so again. It's extra curved due to the shrinking.

    The felt feels great. I'd say Ivory Snow is a good home cleaner for felt hats, if you are prepared to do
    some blocking. I should note here that when I wet this hat it smelled like the worse wet dog you've ever
    encountered. It smells nice now.

    Now to figure out what glue to use to replace the tags, all of which fell out during the cleaning. Yes, $15
    original price for those keeping score.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  4. alanfgag

    alanfgag

    Messages:
    14,442
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Nice work.

    Fabri-Tac... fast, strong and reversible if needed - it's the best.
     
  5. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,190
    Location:
    Oakland, CA, USA
    Thanks Alan. That looks like just the stuff.
     
  6. The Wiser Hatter

    The Wiser Hatter I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,764
    Location:
    Louisville, Ky
    Great job in bringing an old hat back to its glory. Ribbons do hold on to stains due to the nature of the fabric.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2011
  7. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,190
    Location:
    Oakland, CA, USA
    Thanks. Yeah, the silk and the density... I'm not surprised when I think about it.
    I may have to move to a wider ribbon. It would hide other sins as well.
     

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