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How To Stretch A Wool Hat

How to Stretch a Wool Hat and Make It Fit Better

Is your favorite wool hat fitting too tight on your head suddenly? Chuck it; you’ve landed on a trustable page to know how to stretch a wool hat and make it fit better like before! Whether you’ve not used your wool hat for a long time, soaked it in hot water, or popped it in a dryer, keep reading to find the safe, most straightforward solutions for your dearest wool cap. 

Can You Stretch a Wool Hat?

Mostly yes. The correct answer to the question is that it depends on the type of wool. If your wool hat is hand knitted or crocheted, you’re lucky since it’s easy for you to stretch your wool hats. They will eventually stretch with constant wear and adjust to your head size.  Merino wool is also another type of wool that can stretch easily by effortless methods. Alpaca wool can also stretch easily since it has smooth fibres, which can loosen easily, and a natural crimp ensures that it doesn’t get overstretched and puts the fabric back to its natural shape. If your wool hat is made of cashmere, you have to choose the most delicate method since it can pill after friction; even cashmere is one of the highest quality in wool.

What to Know Before Stretching a Wool Hat?

1. Know the type of wool

Merino, alpaca, and cashmere are the most common types of wool used to make hats. Before choosing a method, figure out which stretching techniques are best for your wool hat.

2. Read the care label

Before stretching your hat, do not forget to read the tiny label stitched within your hat. The care label can provide you with a lot of information regarding your hat’s material, washing instructions, and dos and don’ts. If the care label has been mentioned, do not machine wash, tumble dry, or dry in sunlight; keep them in mind.

3. Know the age of the hat

The characteristics of wool vary according to age and the manufacturing method.  A research study has mentioned that the quality of wool traits tends to decrease with age. So, if your hat is older than five years, make sure you don’t use a hat stretcher since it has chances of piling and breaking the fibres.

4. Don’t overstretch your hat.

Throughout the process, keep in mind to stretch your wool hat slowly and steadily. When using a hat stretcher, do not stretch more than ¼ inches.

5. Do not dry them in sunlight.

After washing or stretching your wool hat, it is recommended to dry your hat on a hat shaper or flat dry by not twisting your cap to remove excess water. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight, which magnifies sunlight or direct heat on your hat since it can cause a change of color in your wool.

How to Stretch a Wool Cap

stretch wool hat with a balloon

Stretch Your Wool Hat With a Balloon

Materials Needed:

  • Large tub
  • Cool water
  • Towel
  • Hat form, a balloon or even a plastic ball


Step 1: Fill the tub with cool water

Firstly, fill the tub with water to soak your water. Make sure the water is not hot but cool. Soak the cap into the tub until it’s completely saturated. Wait for two to three minutes.

Step 2: Take out your wool hat

After 3 minutes, remove the wool hat from your tub and place it on a white towel on a flat surface. Check whether the towel is free of lint. Now, flat dry your towel by gently placing your hat on your hat to remove excess water. Do not wring or twist your wool hat to remove the water since it might break down the natural fibres and cause piling.

Step 3: Wear your wool hat in a dry form

After you remove all the dripping water, wear your damp wool hat on a hat form. A hat form can be a pot, soccer ball, balloon and head model. But make sure it is the exact size of your head. You can also cover your head with a plastic bag and wear your wool hat for it to fit the actual size.

Step 4: Let the hat dry for a while

Let the hat dry on the hat form until it dries. Dry your hat in a cool place and keep your cap away from sunlight, magnified light, and direct heat.

stretch hat by hot shower method

Stretch your Hat by Hot Shower Method

Materials Needed:

  • Large tub
  • Hot water
  • Hat form


Step 1: Hang your wool hat on a hanger

Firstly, turn on the shower and fill the tub with hot water. Hang your hat on a hanger where it is not exposed to the hot shower. Close the curtains and let the steam get exposed to your hat inside the shower room. Wait for at least 10 minutes. Let the steam penetrate the wool fibres and loosen them. Make sure you don’t waste water.

Step 2: Remove the wool hat

After steaming, the fibres of your wool hat will be loosened. Now is the right time to stretch your cap. Turn on your hot water before that.

Step 3: Reshape your hat and wear it on a hat form

Gently pull the sides of your hat to stretch it. To adjust to your head size, wear your hat on a hat form, a balloon, a ball or a bowl. Please make sure the head form is the size of your head, and you don’t overstretch it.

Step 4: Leave it dry

Let your wool hat dry on your hat form for at least 6-12 hours. During this period, the wool fibres will adjust to the head form and fit your head.

steamer or kettle method to stretch wool hat

Steamer or Kettle Method to Stretch Your Wool Hat

Materials Needed:

  • Steamer or kettle
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Kitchen tongs


Step 1: Bring the tea kettle’s water to a boil

First, start the tea kettle’s water heating process. Keep the temperature constant all through the procedure. A cooking pot or a steamer can also be used to steam your hat.

Step 2: Let the steam penetrate the fibres of wool hat

Next, clump your cap with kitchen tongs and hold it to the steam. DO NOT over-wet your cap, and ensure the hat is at least 5 to 6 inches away. Stretching and reshaping may be challenging after overwetting.

Step 3: Let the hat cool and dry

Allow the hat to cool on a hat form, bowl, or balloon after steaming. Repeat the procedure after the cap cools down until you get effective results. 

wear it regularly to stretch wool hat

Wear it Regularly to Stretch Your Wool Hat

Wearing your wool hat frequently is another simple, risk-free way to extend it. When you wear it, the animal fibres often start to stretch and adapt to the size of your torso. The techniques mentioned above for stretching hats successfully cause them to shrink over time if not worn frequently. So, you must ensure your wool hat doesn’t forget its owner’s head size.

Could Any of the Methods Cause Damage to the Hat?

Fortunately, it is still possible to stretch your wool hat by following the above methods. The only suggestible thing not to do for a wool hat is to avoid using a hat stretcher which might break down the animal fibres and increase piling. The steaming shower method works best for a wool hat which loosens the fibres and makes it friendly to adjust to the expected size. Make sure you don’t overstretch it.

How to Care for Wool Hat?

  • Clean- After every use, use a clean, soft brush (with soft bristles) or a towel to clean the dust off your wool hat. You don’t need to wash them frequently, but make sure they are free of lint. Ensure the bristles or the bristles’ color don’t transfer to your hat. Check out this article on how to wash a hat.
  • Store hats- in a cool, dry place after use. The best way to store your wool hats is to keep them inside a hat box, as both moisture and heat can further damage your wool hat. You can also use hat forms to rest your wool hat to retain the shape for a longer time
  • Avoid direct sunlight- while drying. Heat and sunlight can fade the color and diminish the quality of your wool hat very quickly. Don’t forget your hat in a hot car!
how to stretch a wool hat info

Final Thoughts

Now, you might have realized that stretching a wool hat is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy! All the methods mentioned above are safe for your favorite wool hat, do not try them for a long time at once, but try doing them frequently for your hats to keep them in shape and avoid shrinking. What are you waiting for? Has your wool hat, has grown so old or out of style? Check out the best collection of wool hats here at affordable prices!

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