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How Do I Shape a Hat?

Submitted by on April 7, 2012 – 10:47 pm
How to shape a hat

Our resident Hat Whisperer shapes a crown on a Borsalino Sarakon to give it a deeper narrower pinch.

What does it take to shape a fur felt hat?


After a long winter or an unpredictable spring cloud burst your trusty fedora has gotten a little mishapen. Perhaps youÔÇÖve just purchased a new fedora and you want to customize it to look a little more ÔÇ£you.ÔÇØ Maybe you want the pinch to be a little narrower or the center crease to be a little deeper.

Fixing and adjusting your hat can be fairly easy if you just take the time to be patient with it.

The only tool you will need is a tea kettle. You will need it as a steamer; so fill it with water and set it over a fire on the stove.

Once it is steaming up, you will be ready to work some magic on your hat. Steam will help loosen the fibers and starches that are holding┬áyour hat’s┬ápresent shape. Place the exterior side of the part of your hat that you want to adjust over the steam. Hold it there only until you feel the heat on the interior side of the felt. This takes no longer than 15 to 20 seconds. (You donÔÇÖt want to over do it. You also donÔÇÖt want to turn off the flame under the kettle. YouÔÇÖll need more steam.)

Once you have steamed the part of your hat you want to alter, the felt is ready to manipulate. Work slowly and gently with your hands.

If you want a deeper center crease, steam the whole crease. Then gently push the crown down with the length of your open hand. In a freeze frame photo, it will look like you are giving the top of your hat a karate chop. Once you have the crease set where you like it, blow it dry with you mouth, and then let the hat set for 5 or 10 minutes. If you canÔÇÖt get it to set right, use more steam and start again.

Reshaped Borsalino Fedora

Make sure to keep your pinches even and give them time to set.

Say you want a deeper pinch in the crown to bring the pinches closer together in the front. Steam both pinches. Place your fingers inside the crease of the crown and gently press your palms into each pinch. Blow the pinch dry and let it set, and if you arenÔÇÖt satisfied, just keep using a little steam.

Check out the photos of resident Hat Whisperer Edwin Urrutia as he reshapes a crown to have two pinches that are deeper and closer together.

Brims sometime warp, and your best bet to fix it is to turn the entire brim up and then steam it. Spin the brim over the steamer to get an even application of steam to the whole brim. Then rotate the brim counter clockwise using your thumb and forefinger to smooth it out. This might take a lot of steam and rotating. Once the warp seems smoothed out, make sure to blow it dry and to let the brim set for a good 5 to 10 minutes before turning the brim back down, if you normally wear the brim turned down. If a warp or bump in the brim is particularly bad, sometimes youÔÇÖll have to steam it and press it on a flat surface with the heel of your hand.

If you prefer your hatÔÇÖs brim to dip extra low on one side, steam and a little training by hand will help get it the way you like it.

Those are the basics of reshaping a hat. We hope it helps. Please feel free to write in with your questions.

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