How to Stretch a Fitted Hat

Fitted hats are made to fit your head precisely without any adjustable bands or snaps for a cleaner look and fashionable style. However, in some cases you may want to wear a fitted hat that is just a little bit too small. Perhaps it was sized incorrectly. Or, you happened to find a very unique hat in a classy store that really made your outfit pop but it was just a bit too small.

In that case you can stretch a fitted hat using several methods including a Hat Jack hat stretcher. This method of stretching hats can be used on a fitted fedora, trilby or other designer hat to make it fit comfortably on your head. Usually, you can stretch a hat to about 1/4 to 1/2 sizes larger depending on the hat.


Stretch your hat to make it fit to your liking

Ways to Stretch a Fitted Hat and Make it a Size Larger

There are several ways to stretch that fitted fedora or trilby to make it one size larger and fit a bigger head.

  1. Hat stretchers can increase hat size by a half size in some cases. They can be used at home so you can custom fit your own hat. The Hat Jack is an excellent choice for accurate hat stretching.
  2. Remove inserts or sizing devices and replace thicker sweatbands
  3. Professional hat stretching and custom fitting by a hatter

Custom Hat Stretching by Professional Hatters

Another method is to have a professional hatter stretch out the hat. This is often the best method because they can increase hat size without warping it or ruining its shape. They can also sometimes stretch hats a full size.

How to Stretch a Felt Hat or Fedora with a Hat Stretcher

Hat stretcher

A hat stretcher can be used at home to stretch a fedora hat as much as a half size in some cases. Hat Jacks expand the hat through sheer force.

You must be careful when using a hat stretcher because you can warp the brim and crown of the hat very easily. Hats are formed out of felt and any type of stretching can warp their shape.

Steps to Using a Hat Jack Hat Stretcher:

  1. Place the hat on your head and determine exactly where it fits too tightly
  2. Massage Lexol or sweatband moisturizer into the band. Let it absorb into the band for the recommended amount of time
  3. Lightly steam the surface of the hat just for a few seconds
  4. Insert the Hat Jack into the hat so the edges contact the hatband area
  5. Tighten the stretcher until it feels snug. Do not over-tighten, hats are delicate and can warp when stretched too fast
  6. Let the hat sit for an hour or so
  7. Repeat the above process until it fits properly

Note, this method is good to stretch hats a half size or less. You can damage a hat this way. Always take care not to over-tighten the hat stretcher.

Replacing the Hat Band

Though unlikely, the sweatband can make your hat fit tighter due to shrinkage, or their width. Inspect the hatband and if it shows signs of shrinking have it replaced. You may be able to gain a quarter hat size with this method.

Remove Hat Sizers and Size Reducing Bands

Some hats have already been custom-sized with inserts called hat sizers, or a size reducing sweatband. Look inside the hatband. Do you see foam inserts that are about the size of your finger? These are called hat sizers and if you do see them you are in luck. Remove these hat sizing inserts and your hat will become looser and fit better. You can adjust the size of your hat using hat sizers for a clean fit.

Some hats have size reducing sweat bands to make them smaller. If the sweatband appears very thick, this may be the case. Replace the thick sweatbands with a custom band for a more comfortable fit.

Stretching a Hat Do's and Don'ts

Never try to manually stretch or pull a fitted felt hat. You can do real damage to the hat and more than likely will end up tearing or altering the shape of the hat. Remember, fitted hats like fedoras, trilby hats, bowler hats and others are designed to hold they shape and the stiff, felt material is not stretchable or altered by force like cotton or other fabrics may be. This is especially true for straw fedoras, boater hats and other straw hats.