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Stretching Buckram

Josephine

One Too Many
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Location
Northern Virginia
I have a hat (the one in my icon) that is just a bit too small for my head. I believe it is buckram, and was hoping that someone would be able to tell me how to stretch it so it will fit me huge head. I had read that millinery buckram is just impregnated with starch, so theoretically I can soften it and stretch it, but I suppose it depends on what's inside. I can post pics of the inside if it helps.

I hope someone can assist, else I'll be crying myself to sleep tonight, on my huge pillow. lol

(I guess movie quotes are only funny if you know the movie...)
 

HarpPlayerGene

I'll Lock Up
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4,682
Location
North Central Florida
Hello Josephine,

I am unfamiliar with the term, "bukram", I must admit.

For what it is worth, I have successfully stretched a couple Panama straw hats up one size by gently wetting the straw to relax the stiffener, and applying some leather conditioner to the sweatband. I also use some water on the grosrain ribbon to coax it to accept stretching. I use a hat-jack and cover the wood with aluminum foil to reduce the risk of it sticking to the treated leather. I also go more carefully - in degrees over time - than with felt hats. I did miscue on one and split the seam where the sweatband is sewn at the back of the hat. Stitches tore right through the leather. Others I've done came through the process just fine.

I'm not sure if my experience shared here is of use to you with your situation. Bottom line is that it is probably possible but of course there exists some risk of damage.

G'luck,

G
 

Josephine

One Too Many
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1,634
Location
Northern Virginia
G,

Thanks for the reply. :) Buckram is a cloth made of cotton which has been impregnated with starch to stiffen it. I need to take another look at my hat, I think it might have an inside layer that the buckram surrounds that might not take to wetting all that well.
 

Stoney

Practically Family
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977
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Currently on the East Coast
Jo,

Can you give us a look at the inside of the hat? We may be able to come up with some ideas once we see exactly what were dealing with, you know in like a
mechanical nature. ;)

PS. Total enlightenment on your deathbed is pretty good payment for a few holes in the Himalayas.
 

Josephine

One Too Many
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1,634
Location
Northern Virginia
Stoney said:
Can you give us a look at the inside of the hat?

Sure. :)

BuckHat01.jpg


BuckHat02.jpg


BuckHat03.jpg


Let me know if you need any others. I'm wondering if I dampen it down really well, then shove it over something slightly larger, and let it dry, if that would work. There doesn't seem to be any "filler" on the inside, just two layers of buckram. Of course, that makes me wonder if I ever get caught in a downpour while wearing it, if it will wilt. ;)
 

Stoney

Practically Family
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977
Location
Currently on the East Coast
Thanks for posting the photos of the inside. Now we can see what were' working with. Now the question is... which is too small? the headband or the top of the crown.. or both? I would think that a regular mens hat stretcher would work well for the headband. However I'm afraid that using one on the crown would end up distorting the shape. If you only need to move it a little bit then the hat stretcher would probably be OK to use on the crown as well. If the crown has to be enlarged more than 3/8 of an inch, you may need to have the hat re-blocked.

I would try inserting a mens hat jack into the headband Then steam the headband from the outside with a teapot. Crank the hat jack out slowly to stretch the headband, steaming as you go. Let the headband cool off , maybe overnight to make sure, then remove the hat jack from the headband.

Oh and be careful not to burn your hand with the hot steam! It is a bit dangerous to work with.

http://www.delmonicohatter.com/Merc...n=PROD&Product_Code=IT568&Category_Code=ACCES


Hat%20Jack%20Aug%202006%20225X.gif


Although Delmonico Hatters say's that "it is not necessary to have a Hat Jack for fabric hats or caps." I think one would work with the stiffened fabric you have here.

I really hope you can make the hat fit. It's a beautiful piece of work and looks lovely on you.
 

bolthead

My Mail is Forwarded Here
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3,901
Location
Pennsylvania, United States
How 'bout trying to dampen it with water, then stuff it with a bowl that's a bit larger, something that'll fit nice and snug. Leave it in there over night and see what happens. [huh]
 

Josephine

One Too Many
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1,634
Location
Northern Virginia
Stoney said:
Thanks for posting the photos of the inside. Now we can see what were' working with. Now the question is... which is too small? the headband or the top of the crown.. or both?

I really hope you can make the hat fit. It's a beautiful piece of work and looks lovely on you.

A little of both. I would like it to sit just a little lower on my head. I can push it down to where I want it, and the band and crown spread a bit, but when I release the hat it "pops" back up. Thanks for the advice (and the compliment!); you too, bolthead, I may take the low tech approach first and then try an actual spreader.
 

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