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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 stretcher and maintainer device. 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.
Ways to Stretch a Fitted Hat and Make it a Size Larger
- 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 Befitted Hat Luxury Pro Stretcher & Maintainer is an excellent choice for accurate hat stretching.
- Remove inserts or sizing devices and replace thicker sweatbands
- 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
A hat stretcher can be used at home to stretch a fedora hat as much as a half size in some cases. Hat Stretchers 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 Stretcher:
To store and maintain your hat when you’re not wearing it, place the hat upside down on a table or flat surface.
Next, put the closed Befitted stretcher inside the hat, with the logo facing up.
And turn the black handle in the center counterclockwise, until the stretcher is snug inside the hat.
Make sure you do not overtighten the stretcher - just make it the same tightness as you would wear an actual hat.
To stretch your hat to a larger size, use steam on the inside of the hat, around the hat band area.
This loosens the material around the hat to be resized.
Just like the previous steps, place the stretcher inside the hat, logo facing up, until it’s snug inside the hat.
Please note that the luxury stretcher is able to expand in four different directions, to help you get the perfect fit.
Then twist the black, central handle to the desired hat size.
Leave the Befitted Hat Luxury Pro Stretcher & Maintainer inside the hat overnight, and by the next day, you can check for the correct hat size or repeat the steps, until you get your desired hat size.
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.
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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.
We have a Befitted Hat Stretcher and Maintainer that is more economically priced, for those on a fixed budget for hat care.