How to Shape Your Felt, Straw, and Leather Hats


How to Shape Your Hat to Fit Your Style

There's hardly a more versatile accessory than a hat. Hats can be personalized in countless ways, such as by adding trinkets to their bands, drawing on them, or shaping them to look exactly how you want. Below is our guide to shaping hats made of a few popular materials: Felt / wool, straw, and our signature leather.

How to Shape and Resize Your Leather Hat

Leather is one of the most durable, versatile, and attractive hat materials. However, even though your leather hats may last a lifetime, their shape and size may not hold that long, especially if they’re often exposed to heat or cold. Because of this, it’s important to know how to reshape and resize your leather hats.

Resizing Your Leather Hat Using Your Hands

Resizing your hat with your hands is relatively easy, and cheap! You simply place the top of the leather hat on one knee, insert your hands into the crown of the hat, and pull outwards in opposite directions for five seconds at a time. You also can place one side of the crown on your knee and your hands on the other side, and then pull in opposite directions with your knee and hands. Rotate and repeat the pulling motions until your hat is evenly stretched to the size you desire.

Resizing Your Leather Hat Using a Hat Form or Wig Stand

One option for resizing your hat is to purchase a hat form or wig stand in your size from a hat or leather specialty shop. You can then lightly dampen the area of the hat that needs reshaped or resized (emphasis on lightly dampen because soaking that hat can stain or damage the leather) with water or a hat shaping spray. Conform the hat to the shape you want, and then place it on the stand or form. Let the hat dry on the form or stand away from direct sunlight and heat for a few days.

Resizing Your Leather Hat Using A Hat Stretcher

This method is similar to the above. You simply lightly dampen the hat, then place it on a hat stretcher that is the size you desire your hat to become. You then let the hat dry fully in a cool, dark place.

Shaping Your Leather Hat Brim

Most hats have a bendable outer band around the brim that makes shaping the brim relatively straightforward. You simply choose the brim style you desire, then use your hands to bend the front, back, and/or sides of the brim to that style by bending and holding in place for periods of time. To make an already bent brim flat, you simply sit the hat flat on a table, place books or other heavy objects around the brim, and let it sit for a few days. 

How to Shape Your Felt / Wool Hat Hat Brim

It’s relatively simple to shape felt / wool hats, and they don’t tend to shrink and need resized as often as leather hats do. The first step in shaping your wool / felt hat is to choose the brim style you desire. Then, you boil water in a kettle or large pot until it’s steaming. Hold the first section of the hat that you desire to shape over the steam until the area becomes soft (or softer). Once this area is soft, use your fingers to bend that section of the hat brim into the shape you desire. Hold and repeat this motion continuously until this section of the hat cools. Then repeat the process with the next section of the hat you want to shape.

How to Shape Your Straw Hat Brim

Shaping straw hats is the easiest yet as long as your straw hat has an inner or outer wire brim. If your hat does not have a wire brim, then the hat cannot be shaped. If it does, you simply choose the brim style you desire, then use your fingers to shape the wire as you like.  This is easy to do and can be shaped and reshaped whenever you want to change your look.

Shaping the Crown of Your Leather, Wool, or Straw Hat

Shaping the crown on any hat - regardless of material - is tricky and difficult to achieve without proper tools. As opposed to doing-it-yourself, we suggest you choose the crown style you desire, then reach out to your local custom hat or leather shop to shape your hats for you.

How We Customize Our Hats to Your Style

At American Hat Makers, one of our biggest goals is getting you a hat that will give you the look and feel you've always wanted. There's a good deal of variation available when it comes to our shaping - from the iconic western upturned brim on our Double G cowboy hats, to the functional and sleek downward facing brims of our American Outback styles. Due to the shape-able brim on our Double G styles, the type of shape you want is totally up to you. Curl it up for that edgy gunslinger look, or leave it turned down for that carefree adventurer look. Our Double G hats are able to be personalized further by adding a slight pinch on the top of the crown. While being a subtle change, pinching the crown is never-the-less a powerful look that can completely change the look of your hat by giving it a more sleek and angled look.