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How to Shrink a Fitted Hat

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Learn How to Shrink a Fitted Fedora, Trilby or Designer Hat to Make it a Smaller Size

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Fedora hats look great, but they need to be sized correctly to get the most out of their style.

Sometimes hats just don’t fit anymore. Maybe your head has actually shrunk because you lost weight, or you cut your hair shorter. Or, maybe your hat has stretched out over time. You may even have found a hat you love but it is just a little too big. Whatever the case, if you have a fitted hat that's too big for your head there is a way to shrink it to make it fit better. Here’s several different ways to shrink a fitted felt hat like a Fedora or Trilby.

Fitted hats are designed to fit one particular head size without adjustable straps or snaps for an enhanced style and refined look. But that means they are not very flexible in terms of size. There are a few simple ways to shrink fitted hats to fit a smaller sized head including using hat sizing tape and hat sizers or inserts.

You can even make your fitted fedora, trilby, bowler or flat cap smaller to fit smaller sized heads. Many hats can be shrunk to fit one or even two sizes smaller without cutting or altering with hat sizing tape.

If you are looking for information on hat sizing, check out our hat sizing chart and guide.

Ways to Shrink a Hat to Fit a Smaller Sized Head

  1. Hat sizers, foam or terry cloth strips that fit inside of the hat band to reduce the hat size
  2. Size reducing sweat bands that are inserted into the hat to make it smaller
  3. Custom hat fitting or shrinking, which includes steaming by a professional hat dealer or fitter

Shrink a Fitted Hat like a Fedora with Hat Sizing Tape or Sizers

Hat sizing tape or hat sizer inserts can make a fitted fedora smaller in circumference so it fits head sizes smaller than the hat’s actual size. These hat sizers come in a variety of styles made of foam, terry cloth, or other materials. They are inserted inside the band to reduce the size of your fedora or fitted hat.

Steps to using hat sizers and sizing tape:

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Hat sizers shrink or reduce the size of your hat so it fits and feels just right.

  1. Place the hat on your head
  2. Gauge how large the gaps are on each side by inserting your fingers or another object between your hat and head
  3. Leave the backing on your hat sizing tape or hat sizers.
  4. Measure and cut hat sizing tape to proper length to fill the gaps measured. Or, insert the hat sizers to fill the gaps inside the sweat band on the front, back or sides of the hat where needed
  5. Place the hat on your head and test out the fit. It should feel comfortably secure and stay in place. If it slips

    Hat sizers go inside the band of the hat to shrink its size.
    Place hat sizers inside the band of the hat to shrink its size and fit a smaller head.

    down your head, increase the size or position of the hat sizers.

  6. Remove the backing and place the hat sizers or hat sizing tape back inside of the hat band and secure them
  7. Make any necessary adjustments to the hat sizers as needed

You can also use hat size reducing sweat bands in a similar fashion.

If the above does not work, take the hat to a hat store and ask about having it custom fit by either steaming or other resizing methods for fitted hats. They may professionally adjust the hat size by adding cork strips, hat inserts, sizers, or by professionally steaming and shrinking the hat.

Using Steam or Water to Shrink Fitted Hats

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Using steam to shrink a hat is not a good idea as it can ruin the finish or warp the hat.

It is not a good idea to use steam, water or any other chemical to shrink a fitted felt hat like a fedora or trilby. This can damage or ruin the hat’s appearance. Go the professional hat sizing route instead. So play it safe, and do not attempt to steam a felt hat yourself as you may damage its integrity and look.

Steaming can work for some types of cotton hats but it will only shrink the hat so far. You still have to be careful when trying to shrink a baseball hat or other polyester or cotton hat. Dyes can run and fabric finishes can be ruined by hot steam or boiling water.

Steaming and boiling are not recommended home remedies to shrink a fedora hat. Have a professional perform a custom fitting instead. Excessive steam can damage a hat’s finish and appearance.