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How to Shrink a Fitted Hat: 3 Key Tips

Have you ever bought a hat you loved, placed it in your closet, forgotten about it, and then found it again after a while? The joy of the moment is shattered when you try it on, and it does not fit the way it did before. It is one of the most irritating things that may happen. So, you might be wondering, “How to shrink a fitted hat?” to make your chosen cap fit your new head measurement.

Right off the start, some may wonder if that is even possible with such a firm item. But I have some exciting news: it is entirely achievable, and I will continue to demonstrate how, through a series of ways.

Which hats can be shrunken?

An important way to start this journey is by first knowing what type of material the hat in question is made out of. This is important since some hats are not made to be shrunken, and thus may be harmed in the process.

To be able to shrink a hat, the fibers building it need to be loose, so that under pressure they can tighten consequently creating the effect of a tighter fit. For starters, if your hat is made out of cotton, it is for sure shrinkable. The same goes for 100% polyester or any other kind of polyester blend or wool your hat might be made out of. Either way, it is still essential to read the label of the hat and follow the manufacturer’s recommendation to make sure no damage will be done.

Given that we have already discussed the many sorts of shrinkable caps, the next logical step is to describe the various methods of shrinking. Three methods—steaming, hot water, and washing machine—can be used to create shrinkage of your hat.

Steaming Method Of Shrinking

Steaming your hat to a particular size is a technique that has been around for a long time. Cowboy hats are frequently steamed to shrink into a specific form and curve to better fit the user.

The initial step to this technique is of course heating pure water up to a boiling point so it can create the steam we are looking for. This method is excellent for two main reasons. First, you have full control over the process since you can visually see the changes happen in real-time, and second, the water used to steam contains no chemicals thus not inflicting any harm to the hat that we are attempting to shrink.

After you have prepared the steam, make sure to use a tool (ex. tongs) to securely grab the hat and to be able to move it freely. Wearing a pair of protective gloves is essential here so that the steam does not accidentally burn your hand.

Prepared like this, you then take the hat and hover it on top of the steaming water. Make sure that the interior of the hat is getting steamed, especially the harder parts. This is done until the hat becomes soft and less tense.

With the hat in this state, carefully take it off the steam and start shaping and tightening it by hand to your liking. If the hat stiffens again, simply continue hovering the hat on top of the steam until you achieve the desired outcome.

Hot Water Method Of Shrinking

It may seem like heat and water are the solution to everything. If so, you are not completely wrong since our next solution requires both of those elements.

As the name suggests starting this technique will require hot water. Pay great attention to words here because the water needs to be hot and in no way boiling. If the water starts searing from the heat, then you may risk damaging the hat.

Just before the boiling point, you need to submerge the hat you want to shrink entirely into the high-temperature water. The heat of the water will make the headwear easily shapable later on. You are supposed to leave it in the water for at least five minutes. The temperature of the water itself may also cause some shrinkage which is good news for us, of course.

After that, carefully take the hat out from the water and allow it to cool until it may be in touch with your skin without experiencing discomfort. You then follow it up with its last step, which is compressing the hat with your hands or placing it on your head so that it may naturally take on the shape of it.

By doing this, you will be able to mold the desired hat to your liking reaching the shrinkage effect we desire, later just shake off the excess water.

Another method with water is to fill a spray bottle halfway with warm water and spritz the inside headband to dampen it. Wear the hat in the sun until it is completely air dry, or use a hair dryer on a medium setting to dry the wet areas.

Washing Machine Method Of Shrinking

In the given event that neither of the two approaches mentioned above works for you, the washing machine technique always exists. This may appear to be a simpler explanation than the previous techniques, but it is also the most likely version to work if your hat is made of polyester.

Made understandable from the title, you will need a washing machine. It is not a problem at all to toss the hat in with other clothing in this environment to avoid wasting extra water. The only specification is for the batch to have fabric softener in it since it will help the hat later on.

This also may be the only solution for hot water that is not necessarily needed. Cold water should not be used, though, since it will not achieve any results. Setting your washing machine to medium heat will do just the trick in this case.

After the washing process is done, you can wear the hat and let it air dry on you. This way, the cap will easily form on your head, and you will reach the perfect shrink for you. But I fully understand the concern of wearing a wet hat and letting it air dry. You may end up walking to a doctor’s appointment next. To solve this, you can easily throw the hat in a dryer which also shouldn’t be in a hot setting.

Following this explanation, you can shrink your hat by simply using a washing machine only.

Final Words/Outro

The three methods provided above should aid you in shrinking a hat. I genuinely hope that I have aided you on your road to shrinking a fitted hat since I understand the misery of not being able to wear a hat you adore.         

Further Reading  

Let me suggest that you read other articles that I’ve already published.

You can find out if you can iron cotton or satin by reading the instructions.

If you’re looking for a wonderful sewing machine, I’d like to compare the Brother 1034D and 1034DX as well as point you in the direction of the finest long arm quilting machines.

See the full evaluation review of Brother Serge 1034D.