Stretching a hat - advice please....

Discussion in 'Hats' started by jdbenson, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,091
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    Yes, I agree with all that Mike posted above. It all depends on the 'how much'. I have never had any real success with stretching a hat anything more than nudging it out slightly. AND I have experienced much failure. ....such as distorting the band area so the stretch shows, popping the sweat stitches. The only success I have really had in resizing a hat is sending it to my hatter for a reblock and resize. With the ones I have just eased out I need to leave the hat jack in the hat as a band block or the sweat just reverts to its original sizing.
     
  2. Andrew friedhofen

    Andrew friedhofen New in Town

    Messages:
    27
    Thanks for the reply. Yes the leather sweat bands are intact. I am trying to stretch that area about 1/8 th inch or so.
    I will try much more steam in the future. I did crack a leather band on a habig, still getting over that.
     
  3. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,091
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    Be cautious with the steam directly on the leather sweat.
     
    M Hatman likes this.
  4. Andrew friedhofen

    Andrew friedhofen New in Town

    Messages:
    27
    Ok thanks I will. When I started collecting about a year ago I bought too many smallish hats. I need to stick with 7&1/2.
     
    M Hatman and Hat and Rehat like this.
  5. Cornshucker77

    Cornshucker77 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,684
    Location:
    Northeast Nebraska, USA
    Just a word of warning. The first thing I did, and I am no pro, when I tried was I popped the sweatband stitches. There are a lot of good people on here who can help you do it right.
     
  6. Andrew friedhofen

    Andrew friedhofen New in Town

    Messages:
    27
    Thanks. Yes I popped the stitches once also.
     
    Cornshucker77 likes this.
  7. Mustang Mike's Hats

    Mustang Mike's Hats A-List Customer

    Messages:
    384
    Location:
    Southern California
    Great point! I was thinking only about the felt body and I never even considered mentioning it, but do keep away steam away from that sweatband. Again, if it's only resizing, the steam should be primarily focused around the break between the crown and brim from the outside of the hat. Steam applied to the sweatband will not do that leather any favors, especially if the hat has any age to it. Some of our folks here have had success conditioning the sweatband prior, to help preserve it. They can add their thoughts to that idea.

    To Cornshucker's point, too much stretch, too quickly can do some damage to the sweatband stitching as well. Depending on who the manufacturer was, and what thread they used, is important. I've had some hatbands sewn on with a nylon thread having been used and that stuff is not very flexible. Stretching in small increments is the key.

    (Glad you guys are out there! - You fill in all the important blanks!!) ;)
     
  8. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,091
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    Yes, I learned my lesson and now only go one size up never down. Shims are waaay easier than stretches
     
    Cornshucker77 likes this.
  9. scottyrocks

    scottyrocks I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    8,668
    Location:
    Isle of Langerhan, NY
    I've had good results stretching whole hats up one size by using a Hat-Jack, shea butter on the sweat, and steam on the outer felt at the base of the crown, steaming and screwing out until it won't go anymore without ripping stitches. I then leave the Jack in for a couple of days. Sometimes I have to repeat the process.
     
  10. deadlyhandsome

    deadlyhandsome I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,288
    Location:
    Central California
    I’ve “ruined” more hats than I care to admit. At most, I can size up a completed hat 1/2 size. Usually I limit myself to taking them from standard to long oval. If you are going to strip a hat that’s a whole different story. A couple days ago I resized a Borsalino from 56cm to 61cm without much issue (the brim didn’t quite remain even).

    I’ve hit what looked to be perfectly good sweatbands with steam and ruined them. Steam/heat and leather do not mix.

    I’ve sent a couple of 7 1/2 hats to VS and had them successfully resized (including the sweatbands) to 7 5/8. Even though I have a block, a hat jack, a heated hat stretcher, etc., I leave the important work to the professionals... at least when it’s a hat I really care about.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  11. Cornshucker77

    Cornshucker77 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,684
    Location:
    Northeast Nebraska, USA
    Same here.
     
  12. Cornshucker77

    Cornshucker77 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,684
    Location:
    Northeast Nebraska, USA
    I toasted a SB also. I hit the steam with it and it curled faster than I could get the cuss words out.
     
  13. Scooterz

    Scooterz A-List Customer

    Messages:
    408
    Google "YouTube How to Stretch a Hat" look for the video by JJ Hat Center. I had good success with a couple of hats, but maybe rushed it a bit or the sweat was more brittle on the third and popped the threads where the ends of sweat are sewn together. No other damage visible and the hat is still wearable. Don't rush and figure on doing it in two or three stages. The shea butter is probably a really good idea.
     
    M Hatman likes this.
  14. Mustang Mike's Hats

    Mustang Mike's Hats A-List Customer

    Messages:
    384
    Location:
    Southern California
    I felt bad for ya, but I have to admit, your recollection made made me laugh out loud! :) Thanks for the overt chuckle!

    The BAD news is, I'M AT WORK, in a cubicle. They gotta think I'm wacked!!
     
  15. Cornshucker77

    Cornshucker77 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,684
    Location:
    Northeast Nebraska, USA
    Ha, glad you laughed Mike. Many of us here at the Lounge are wacked ain't we? :) The good news for me is it was the only SB I ruined with steam. So I guess I learned from it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
  16. Hat and Rehat

    Hat and Rehat One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,780
    Location:
    Denver
    I agree with a lot of that, with a caveat. I've also found hats that simply refused to stretch and stay stretched.
     
    Rmccamey likes this.
  17. Hat and Rehat

    Hat and Rehat One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,780
    Location:
    Denver
    Have you drummed any sweats? I've been thinking about trying that because so far have not cared for the feeling of foam or felt I used to shim.
     
  18. Hat and Rehat

    Hat and Rehat One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,780
    Location:
    Denver
    I'm waiting to see what other loungers have to say. I've actually been buying more hat stretchers, in multiple sizes. I started with an inexpensive Cowboy stretcher designed forthe front and back, really. Even screwed all the way in there are no sides to meet. Then I purchased a vintage 6 3/4, which matches my wife's size in men's hats. I really like the fact it has sides, so creates a full oval. I have used it as a band block. It's also thick, and has a front to back bow, like felt tends to get over time, and this helps me see what I'm doing to the shape of the hat as I stretch it. I don't pull it straighter than the bow.
    If I go as big as my size, 7 1/8, with the 6 3/4 I feel that I'm losing the benefit of the sides, re: a true oval, so have been shopping for bigger one's. I'm blessed with a regular oval head, so the idea of a stretcher made to that sounds good. It might not matter to people with less regular noggins. The 7s I found were priced high, with high shipping, so I now have a 6 7/8 which I use on my own hats. I also picked up a 6 5/8 before an auction ended with it unsold. I hope to work on hats as more than a hobby, so still keep an eye out for additional sizes.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.