Softening A Wool Fedora

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Jay_G, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. Jay_G

    Jay_G New in Town

    Messages:
    5
    Recently, I bought a cheap wool fedora from Dorfman Pacific (IJ551-BRN Satipo). However, it is a lot stiffer, and more rigid than I remember (I used to have one before I got my Herbert Johnson Poet). Is there a way to make it softer without it shrinking?
     
  2. johnnycanuck

    johnnycanuck Call Me a Cab

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    Location:
    Alberta
    Wear it. Manhandle it. That’s all I can think of. Depending on the quality of the wool any water can potentially make it shrink. hope that helps some
    Johnny
     
  3. 1967Cougar390

    1967Cougar390 Practically Family

    Messages:
    509
    Location:
    South Carolina
    I’ve had fairly good results reshaping and re-creasing my wool fedoras with steam. I encountered two challenges; they became very soft requiring a stiffing agent (I used spray starch), each hat smelled like a “wet dog” while damp.
    To avoid any shrinking issues, I folded paper towels and inserted the towels behind the sweatbands and wore them until they were dry. I didn’t have a hat block to use, so I used my “blockhead” noggin as a substitute. :)

    Here are some pictures of my wool hat after I trimmed the brim and reshaping.
    05829675-0A4B-4573-AF77-09225783A872.jpeg

    5CE1F9D2-B136-43F9-AFDB-E9D41A7A37B6.jpeg

    Steven
     
  4. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    My wife is a fabric artist working with wool. Shrinkage in wool is not caused by heat alone. The shrinkage occurs when wool is placed in hot water and then submerged in cool or cold. It is the temp differential that causes the wool to shrink. Back in the day my baseball hats were wool ...I too used the old block head method to resize them to fit. Wet them and wear them til they dried.....worked like a charm although sometimes I would get a headache.
     
  5. johnnycanuck

    johnnycanuck Call Me a Cab

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    Location:
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    If it’s temperature difference wouldn’t room temperature water work better? Apply with a spritz bottle. Just a thought. When you get it the way you want it give it a hit if scotch guard to keep the elements out. Remember to re apply every few months if you wear it regularly.
    Johnny
     
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  6. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,427
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    If I was stretching a wool baseball hat to fit I would just use ambient temp water as it was the wetting that facilitated the stretch. If I wanted to reshape it a shot of steam works best much like a fur felt.
     
    1967Cougar390 likes this.
  7. 1967Cougar390

    1967Cougar390 Practically Family

    Messages:
    509
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Great point Johnny. I used Scotch Guard as my last step. It works great and keeps the “wet dog” smell away.

    Steven
     
    dkstott and johnnycanuck like this.

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