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How To Stretch Straw Hat

How to Stretch Your Straw Hat Easily | Six Best Methods

Do you feel your straw hat is tightening? Do you hear a crack sound that makes you jerk whenever you wear it? No questions asked. Your straw hat needs some moisture immediately! Automatically, after getting some moisture, your straw hat will soften a bit and stretch to your head size, and what’s more? It helps you soak up in the sun and feast your eyes with the blue waves hassle-free. So, for that, you should join us to check out how to stretch a straw hat by steaming, soaking, using a hat stretcher, and just by your knee.

Excited? Let’s get this show on the road now!

Can You Stretch a Straw Hat?

With an interesting history, the interwoven quality of straw hats makes you wonder whether they can be stretched. Like you have guessed, straw material is comparably not quite easy to stretch when compared to other fabrics. They can be stiff and fragile, so we have gathered the best methods to soften a straw hat and stretch them without ruining its shape. Most importantly, this whole process needs patience and attention to achieve the best size.

What to Know Before Stretching a Straw Hat?

1. Read the Care Label

First things first! DO NOT miss reading the tiny label sticking in your hat. The care label of your hat can give you a lot of information about the material, do’s, and don’t of your hat. Reading the label before itself might direct you to the right path.

2. Don’t Overstretch

As you’ve already known, straw is different from other materials. So, stretching them beyond an extent can cause irreversible damage. So, DO NOT try to overstretch them.

3. Do Not Dry Them Under Sunlight

After wetting and stretching your hat, DO NOT dry them under the sunlight. Excess heat on the straw makes your hat shrink into a smaller size. A hat form is always the best option to dry your hat and maintain its shape throughout its lifetime.

How to Stretch a Straw Hat

Stretch Your Straw Hat Using a Hat Stretcher

Stretch Your Straw Hat Using a Hat Stretcher

Here is the best and most effective method to stretch your Panama hat. All you have to do is, pop the hat stretcher into the crown of your cap, twist the center panel, sit back and look at how it works wonders. The only thing to remember is, DO NOT OVERSTRETCH the crown more than ¼ ” at once. 

Works best for Panama hats, floppy straw hats, derby straw hats

Materials Needed:

Instructions:

Step 1: Fix the Hat Stretcher Into the Inner Crown

Firstly, pop the hat stretcher into the inner crown of the hat. Make sure it’s not slanting, and the center panel is in between the crown. Twist the center handle to the approximate size of the hat.

Step 2: Show Your Hat in the Path of  Steam

Start boiling water in a cooking pot. Another easier alternative for a cooking pot is a tea kettle. Maintain a steady temperature throughout the process and slowly expose your hat to the steam. MAKE SURE your hat is at least 4-5 inches away from the steam. Don’t oversteam your hat.

Step 3: Twist the Center Handle to Stretch

After steaming, stretch the hat’s crown by twisting the center handle of the hat. The heat and moisture of the steam will loosen the straw fibers, which allows stretching easier. MAKE SURE you didn’t stretch more than ¼”.

Step 4: Let it Sit for Hours.

Finally, after stretching your hat, let the hat rest with the hat stretcher to enable adjusting to its new shape. Let it sit for hours for effective results. The hat’s brim should be facing down to the surface while resting.

Make Your Straw Hat Bigger By Soaking

Make Your Straw Hat Bigger By Soaking

Soaking is another method to make your hat bigger in size. During soaking, the water helps to soften the fibers, which allows reshaping and stretching. You can also shape the brim the way you like at the end of the process.

Materials Needed:

Instructions:

Step 1: Submerge The Hat in Warm Water

Firstly, fill the tub with lukewarm water and not hot water. Submerge your hat in the warm water. Choose a tub for your hat’s size. DON’T soak more than 30-60 seconds.

Step 2: Place The Hat Over a Hat form

Select a round object that mimics the size of your head. It can be a ball or a bowl. Ensure it is snug enough to stretch your hat. You can also use a bag full of papers and stuff inside the crown.

Step 3: Let it Dry

Let the hat dry completely on a hat form. Let it stay for hours for effective results.

Stretch Your Straw Hat By Steaming

Stretch Your Straw Hat By Steaming

Steaming is a perfect, professional method to stretch straw hats. The heat and moisture from the steam enable the fibers to loosen and stretch according to your head shape.

Materials Needed:

Instructions:

Step 1: Boil Water in the Tea Kettle

Firstly, start boiling water in the tea kettle. Maintain a steady temperature throughout the process. You can also use a cooking pot to steam your hat.

Step 2: Expose Your Hat to The Steam

Secondly, hold your cap by using your kitchen tongs and expose your hat to the steam. MAKE SURE your hat is at least 5-6 inches away, and DO NOT  overwet your cap.  Overwetting can make stretching and reshaping difficult.

Also DO NOT, let the moisture collect in the sweatband. Wipe the moisture in the sweatband frequently with a microfiber cloth to avoid damage.

Step 3: Let the Hat Cool and Dry

After steaming, let the hat cool on a hat form. Repeat the process for effective results.

Stretch Your Straw Hat By Spraying and Blow Drying

Stretch Your Straw Hat By Spraying and Blow Drying

During the spraying and blow-drying process, the fibers of the hat bring some changes within themselves by loosening. When you wear your hat, this enables the fibers to adjust to the size of your head.

Materials Needed:

Instructions:

Step 1: Spray the Hat with Water Evenly

First, spray the hat with lukewarm water on all sides of the hat except the brim. Pay more attention to the inner crown, band, and outer crown.

Step 2: Dry the Hat Using a Blow Dryer

Turn on the hair dryer to the highest setting and move the dryer around the hat to dry.

Step 3: Try and Dry the Hat

While your hat is slightly damp, put on your hat and let it dry. If you feel so uncomfortable, wear a plastic bag on your head and put on your hat. This allows the straw fibers to adjust to the size of your head. Repeat the process if your hat needs to be stretched a bit.

Make Your Hat Larger By Removing the Sweatband

Make Your Hat Larger By Removing the Sweatband

At last, this is a simple, quick DIY to stretch your straw hat and make it a larger fit than you think. If you don’t mind modifying your sweatband, go for this method.

Materials Needed:

Instructions:

Step 1: Remove the Seam of The Sweatband

Today’s hats are designed with elastic sweatbands, which play a huge role in determining the fit. When a sweatband is removed, it probably stretches about 1-2 cm and provides a larger fit. All you have to do is, use a seam ripper or a blade to cut the threads of the sweatband.  

If you don’t want to remove the whole sweatband, you can also use a blade to do shallow cuts between the sweatband, especially on the back of the hat. MAKE SURE you don’t cut deep into the hat while cutting the sweatband.

Stretch Your Panama Hat By Traditional Knee Method

Stretch Your Panama Hat By Traditional Knee Method

This is a zero equipment method that only works for Panama hats. Do not try this method if your hat is found with any tears, cracks, or any form of damage.

Instructions:

Step 1: Hold the Hat Firmly in Your Hand

Hold the hat firmly in your hand by the brim. Bring it near to your knee.

Step 2: Pull the Hat Over Your Knee

Using your hands, pull the hat over your knee. Make sure to apply the same pressure on all the sides of the hat. Do not overstretch it, since it can cause damage. Check whether your hat is evenly stretched on all sides.

How to Care for a Straw Hat After Stretching?

1. To maintain the same stretched shape, make sure you have a good hat form for your hat to rest. It can be a ball, a bowl, or a standard hat form.

2. Do not wash your Panama or any straw hats in the washing machine. The heavy tumbling action and clothes overload of your washing machine can damage the shape of your hat within minutes. Read more about how to wash straw hats.

3. Don’t apply too much tension on your hat if they are misshapen. Always handle the straw hats by the brim and store them properly.

4. Do not leave your hats in sunlight or heat-exposed areas, like a car seat or near the window. Sunlight may cause your straw hats to dry out and get stiff quickly.

5. Before you store them, make sure you dry them properly in a cool, dry environment to prevent mold growth and retain the quality for a long time.

How to Stretch a Straw Hat

Final Thoughts

By now, you might have forgotten the thought that straw hats are difficult to stretch. You would have a clear idea on how to stretch your straw hat by the traditional knee method, by steaming, spraying, and blow-drying, using a hat stretcher, and removing the sweatband. If you want to stretch your Panama straw hat, you can go for the first 5 methods. But if it is an interwoven, sturdy straw hat, just removing the sweatband will make a lot of difference. So, are you going to take the first step of your preferred method?

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