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The Home Stretch

Mighty44

One Too Many
Messages
1,735
I don't generally recommend trying to stretch hats up a size. The risks are considerable--popping all the stitching in the sweatband, tearing a dry sweatband, distorting the brim so it never looks good again, ending up with a hat that looks too small even if it fits, or just ending up with a hat that never really fits well. I've experienced all of these to some extent--both with hats I stretched and hats I bought that had been stretched ("7 fits to 7 1/8"). (To be clear--I'm not talking about reblocking, just stretching the sweatband with a Hat Jack or similar.)

And then I saw this Mallory for a low BIN. If you know my taste in hats, this is right up my alley--so I thought I'd give it a shot. Once I had it here, I thought it was worth trying to stretch because it didn't seem that small on my head, had a sweatband and stitching in good condition, a crown that looked large enough and a brim that was stiff enough to hopefully not distort badly. It took a few attempts but I'm calling it a success. It fits well enough, if a little tight--I might still give it one more stretch. I think you can see from the photos that the rear of the hat has a little more taper than is normal, but I think it is still acceptable. You can see some slight distortion in the ribbon from the stretcher, but I'm pretty confident this will fade, especially if I give it one more stretch with the tapered Hat Jack.

I gave the sweatband heavy steam, until it was pretty much dripping, put the stretcher in and cranked it out and then gave steam to the outside of the hat round the ribbon and stretched it further and then let it sit for 48 hours. I have a long oval head, but I started the process with a stretcher that stretched side-to-side, as well as front to back, to prevent the brim from distorting badly (this tool, unfortunately, is not tapered like the Hat Jack and you can see the slight distortion it caused in the middle of the ribbon. If I still owned a belt sander, I would definitely taper it). I then repeated the process with the Hat Jack, which only stretches front to back and which is tapered (see comparison photo of both tools below). Finally, I steamed the brim and pressed it flat with my hands all around.

Pretty simple process and it turned out great. I probably wouldn't do this for just any hat, but I really wanted this hat to work and got lucky.

Cheers,

David
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Last edited:
Messages
19,124
Location
Funkytown, USA
I don't generally recommend trying to stretch hats up a size. The risks are considerable--popping all the stitching in the sweatband, tearing a dry sweatband, distorting the brim so it never looks good again, ending up with a hat that looks too small even if it fits, or just ending up with a hat that never really fits well. I've experienced all of these to some extent--both with hats I stretched and hats I bought that had been stretched ("7 fits to 7 1/8"). (To be clear--I'm not talking about reblocking, just stretching the sweatband with a Hat Jack or similar.)

And then I saw this Mallory for a low BIN. If you know my taste in hats, this is right up my alley--so I thought I'd give it a shot. Once I had it here, I thought it was worth trying to stretch because it didn't seem that small on my head, had a sweatband and stitching in good condition, a crown that looked large enough and a brim that was stiff enough to hopefully not distort badly. It took a few attempts but I'm calling it a success. It fits well enough, if a little tight--I might still give it one more stretch. I think you can see from the photos that the rear of the hat has a little more taper than is normal, but I think it is still acceptable. You can see some slight distortion in the ribbon from the stretcher, but I'm pretty confident this will fade, especially if I give it one more stretch with the tapered Hat Jack.

I gave the sweatband heavy steam, until it was pretty much dripping, put the stretcher in and cranked it out and then gave steam to the outside of the hat round the ribbon and stretched it further and then let it sit for 48 hours. I have a long oval head, but I started the process with a stretcher that stretched side-to-side, as well as front to back, to prevent the brim from distorting badly (this tool, unfortunately, is not tapered like the Hat Jack and you can see the slight distortion it caused in the middle of the ribbon. If I still owned a belt sander, I would definitely taper it). I then repeated the process with the Hat Jack, which only stretches front to back and which is tapered (see comparison photo of both tools below). Finally, I steamed the brim and pressed it flat with my hands all around.

Pretty simple process and it turned out great. I probably wouldn't do this for just any hats, but I really wanted this hat to work and got lucky.

Cheers,

David
View attachment 574533

View attachment 574532 View attachment 574534 View attachment 574535
View attachment 574537 View attachment 574538

Good job. I cringe a bit when you talk about steaming the sweat though. Thar be monsters along that path.

I use a tapered block when I try to bump one up to my size, so it doesn't effect the crown blocking. I use your method of steaming at the base of the outside of the crown. I leave it on the block for a few days and steam periodically before I take it off.
 

Mighty44

One Too Many
Messages
1,735
Good job. I cringe a bit when you talk about steaming the sweat though. Thar be monsters along that path.

I use a tapered block when I try to bump one up to my size, so it doesn't effect the crown blocking. I use your method of steaming at the base of the outside of the crown. I leave it on the block for a few days and steam periodically before I take it off.
Thanks! Yeah, I’ve been lucky so far on that front. I do try and keep the hat further from the steamer so it is getting the steam but not the heat.
 
Messages
18,932
Location
Central California
I don't generally recommend trying to stretch hats up a size. The risks are considerable--popping all the stitching in the sweatband, tearing a dry sweatband, distorting the brim so it never looks good again, ending up with a hat that looks too small even if it fits, or just ending up with a hat that never really fits well. I've experienced all of these to some extent--both with hats I stretched and hats I bought that had been stretched ("7 fits to 7 1/8"). (To be clear--I'm not talking about reblocking, just stretching the sweatband with a Hat Jack or similar.)

And then I saw this Mallory for a low BIN. If you know my taste in hats, this is right up my alley--so I thought I'd give it a shot. Once I had it here, I thought it was worth trying to stretch because it didn't seem that small on my head, had a sweatband and stitching in good condition, a crown that looked large enough and a brim that was stiff enough to hopefully not distort badly. It took a few attempts but I'm calling it a success. It fits well enough, if a little tight--I might still give it one more stretch. I think you can see from the photos that the rear of the hat has a little more taper than is normal, but I think it is still acceptable. You can see some slight distortion in the ribbon from the stretcher, but I'm pretty confident this will fade, especially if I give it one more stretch with the tapered Hat Jack.

I gave the sweatband heavy steam, until it was pretty much dripping, put the stretcher in and cranked it out and then gave steam to the outside of the hat round the ribbon and stretched it further and then let it sit for 48 hours. I have a long oval head, but I started the process with a stretcher that stretched side-to-side, as well as front to back, to prevent the brim from distorting badly (this tool, unfortunately, is not tapered like the Hat Jack and you can see the slight distortion it caused in the middle of the ribbon. If I still owned a belt sander, I would definitely taper it). I then repeated the process with the Hat Jack, which only stretches front to back and which is tapered (see comparison photo of both tools below). Finally, I steamed the brim and pressed it flat with my hands all around.

Pretty simple process and it turned out great. I probably wouldn't do this for just any hat, but I really wanted this hat to work and got lucky.

Cheers,

David
View attachment 574533

View attachment 574532 View attachment 574534 View attachment 574535
View attachment 574537 View attachment 574538


It really came out great, David. I’ve ruined a few hats when trying to stretch them so I know your concerns taking this on.
 

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