How to Shape an Open Crown Hat

In the olden days, 50-60 years ago, most hats came what we call open crown.

You would buy it at the store, and clerk at the store would shape it for you; or you would bring it home, and you would shape it yourself.

You're going to need some steam, which you can easily use a hat steamer, a clothing steamer with an attachment, or you can use a teapot to carry the steam or a large pot of water.

Apply the steam to the outside of the hat.

Find the front of the hat to use as a reference point.

So you're taking a store-bought hat, and you're basically customizing it at home.

 

Center Dent

The first thing you want to do is put a center dent in it, push down the middle, pull the hat together, and then you have a simple center dent.

Most center dents come with a pinch. That's what we call a little dent in the front.

We’re gonna pile a little steam on the sides here - softens the felt up, and voila!

Now you have a center dent with a pinch, which is a very common hat style.

The front and the back of the hat are roughly the same height.

This is called the rake - how much the hat changes from front to back.

Another very popular crease is what you call a C crown or teardrop.

Take that center dent, and open it up a little bit more.

You can use a softball to open up the center dent.

 

Teardrop

What you’re gonna do is you're going to put a little bubble in that back, so you even though you've lowered the crown, you still have a place to put your hand back towards the back, and push down.

A center dent is now shaped into a teardrop.

So we've taken this one hat, and we've changed it into three styles already.

And next, we're going to go back to it, even another style - bring it back to open crown.

The fun thing about this, like I was saying before earlier, is that you're taking a store-bought hat and you're customizing it, so that this hat will be your hat.

No one else will have the same hat, because no one will crease the way you do.

No one will choose how much rake that you would like: it's custom.

A little steam at the sides here, and here we have a basic cattleman's crease, just very popular.

LBJ wore his hats with this crease, as did President Eisenhower, back in the old days.

This is still a very, very popular crease for Western wear.

So we've taken this simple hat in just a few minutes and turned it into four different hats.

Don't be afraid to play with your hats and enjoy your hats.

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