Fedoras have been one of the most popular hat styles for more than a century. Originally designed for men, the fedora has since become one of the most refined hat choices for men and women alike. However, if you’re reading this article, you’re not here to learn about how great fedoras are for your sense of style. Instead, you want to know how to reshape a fedora hat. So, let’s get started!
Reasons to Reshape a Fedora Hat
While you may have a specific goal in mind, there are various reasons to pursue a different shape for your fedora hat. Some of the most common reasons to reshape a fedora hat include:
- Personalizing your hat style
- Returning an aged hat to its former shape
- Fixing a smashed hat
Naturally, each of these goals requires specific methods to attain your ideal hat shape:
Personalize Your Hat
A hat is always a reflection of your own personal style. While you probably bought a hat that you liked, there may still be some qualities that you’d like to change. For example, let’s say that you buy a fedora with a relatively stiff, flat brim. This might be the ideal style for some, but you could find that you prefer a more malleable brim that slants downward in the front.
To make this change, you will need to manually loosen the hat brim and train it to have a downward slant. You won’t want to damage your hat, so this should be done with great care and attention to detail. This kind of change won’t happen overnight either, so it’s best to slowly use your hands to shape the brim. The same rules apply whether you’re attempting to reshape the rim or the crown of your fedora. However, the exact methods you use will depend on the material of your hat (more on that below).
Restore an Aged Hat
Like most types of hats, fedoras can lose their shape over time. This usually means that your once stiff, well-shaped hat has become soft, loose, and not at all how it looked when you bought it. Again, the type of material can have an effect on the longevity of your hat shape. That said, the way in which you store and handle your fedora can also play an important role.
Traditional fedoras are made of felt or fur felt, which can often be “stiffened” to regain their former shape with the use of starch. This method can even be applied to other materials, including straw. So, with the vast majority of fedora hats, you can bring it back to its former glory with a combination of starch and steam!
Fix a Smashed Hat
Finally, you may be facing every fedora owner’s worst nightmare: a smashed hat. Whether your hat was stepped on, run over, or crushed some other way, figuring out how to fix a smashed hat can be complex. In some cases, the damage may be too severe to fix on your own. You will either need to seek out the services of a professional milliner or completely replace your hat.
Like a hat that has lost its shape naturally, a smashed, crushed, or squished fedora generally needs to be trained back into its proper shape. This can be done with manual reshaping, combined with steam and starch (or a stiffener specifically designed for hats) to ensure that the hat retains its proper shape for the long term.
Reshaping Methods For Different Fedora Materials
As previously mentioned, one of the most important factors to consider before trying to reshape a fedora hat is the material of your accessory. For example, learning how to reshape a Panama hat (made of straw) is very different from learning the process needed to reshape a felt hat. So, in the sections below, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions to reshape and revitalize fedoras made from a wide range of materials!
How to Reshape a Straw Fedora Hat
Straw hats are some of the easiest to reshape, especially if the misshapen area is due to physical damage or crushing. You can quickly learn how to stiffen a straw hat brim or crown with the following steps:
- Use a tea kettle, a pot of boiling water, or a steamer to expose your straw hat to steam (the hat should be at least 6 inches from the source of the steam).
- Let the hat sit in the steam for 3-5 minutes at a time (if you’re using an open pot of boiling water, make sure that the water is not splashing onto the hat)
- If the hat does not feel malleable, you can repeat step 2 several times.
- Keep a close eye on the hat to ensure that it does not become saturated with liquid.
- If the brim is misshapen, use your fingers to “pop” the brim into the desired shape.
- Use your fingers to mold the crown or brim as needed, pulling at the fibers to make them more malleable.
- Once you have molded the hat to the right shape, put a soft towel inside the crown and place the entire hat on a flat, absorbent surface (for example: a towel laid out flat on the kitchen counter).
If you want to learn how to reshape a floppy straw hat, the process may be a little more complicated. In some cases, you may need to sprinkle starch on the hat while steaming it so that it can stiffen into place. Additionally, if your straw fedora includes any other materials (like a silk or leather band), make sure that they are not over-exposed to steam.
How to Reshape a Felt Fedora Hat
Felt fedora hats can be made from various natural furs and fibers, including wool, cashmere, beaver, and rabbit. Fortunately, the process for reshaping a felt or fur felt is largely the same, regardless of the underlying type of fibers. You can reshape just about any felt or fur felt fedora with the following steps:
- Use a tea kettle, a pot of boiling water, or a steamer to expose your felt hat to steam, keeping the hat 6-8 inches away from the source.
- Steam the hat from the inside, so that the steam is exposed directly to the interior of the hat and the underside of the brim. However, if the interior of your hat features a non-felt material, you may choose to steam it from the outside (this will elongate the process).
- Work the felt with your fingers into the ideal shape. Do not expose the hat to steam for more than 2-3 minutes at a time.
- Only attempt to mold one part of the hat at a time. When you’ve molded one section, let the hat cool for about 5-10 minutes before starting on another section.
- Before the hat has completely dried, be sure to put it on and wear it for a few minutes to make sure that the interior still conforms to the correct shape of your head.
- Let the hat air dry hanging up or sitting on a flat surface.
Like straw, felt can also be treated with starch or similar stiffening agents to maintain its shape and reduce “floppiness.”
How to Reshape a Leather Fedora Hat
If you own a leather hat, then you know that any methods involving water are not an option. Steam or direct contact with water can permanently damage your leather hat. Thus, you have to use a different method to reshape the crown or brim:
- Gently push out dents or creases in the hat or crown with your fingers.
- Fill the interior of the crown with a dry towel to ensure that it maintains its shape.
- Let the hat hang or rest overnight. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as needed.
- Remove the towel once your hat has reached the desired shape.
Keep in mind that leather can generally take longer than other materials to reshape. For this reason, you must be patient and careful not to try to make too many changes at once!
We hope you found this guide on how to reshape a fedora hat useful! If you’d like to acquire one of the best fedora hats for your own collection, be sure to check out Bellissimo Hats today!