How to Reshape a Felt Fedora

How to Reshape a Felt Fedora

August 19, 2022
A step by step guide on reshaping a wool fedora.

The timeless fedora first made its appearance in the 1882 play of the same name, in which the lead actress wore a center-creased hat that the audience adored.

Women’s fedoras became a symbol of the women’s rights movement before becoming popular with men 40 years later. Over time, the hat was defined by a curved brim, a center crease, and a pinch at the forefront of the crown. Fedora hats for men became a fashion staple in the early 1920s, given their polished appearance and low-profile sophistication. Most often made from felt, fedoras provided protection from the elements while supporting one’s status as a person of culture.

Felt you can feel good about

Our felt fedoras and felt hats are crafted with cruelty-free sheep’s wool obtained using non-intrusive, humane methods. In this way, we can create a high-quality product without impacting the animal’s quality of life. We press our wool felt into many different signature styles, from felt cowboy hats to pork pie hats. Over time, however, soft felt can become misshapen and your favorite topper may need a little TLC.

How steam affects wool

The simplest way to fix your fedora hat is by applying steam and gently reshaping the indents and bends. When heat and moisture are applied to natural felt, the material becomes pliable, allowing you to smooth out wrinkles and correct creases. While you can take your hat to your local headwear expert for repair, you can also make small corrections at home.

Reshaping a wool fedora, step by step

Before beginning, ensure you have the following things:

  • Stovetop kettle
  • Paper towel
  • Clean hands

If you have a flat, full brim fedora, you’ll also want to ensure you have a dry, even surface nearby.

Step one: boil water

A steady stream of steam is required to reshape your felt hat, so it’s easiest to use a stovetop kettle with an open spout. A boiling pot of water can work as well, but avoid using an electric kettle that shuts off automatically once boiling. While the water is boiling, identify which parts of your hat need attention.

Step two: apply steam to the fedora

To apply steam to the damaged parts of your fedora, hold the hat six to eight inches away from the spout of the kettle. The felt needs to be close enough to absorb moisture but far enough that it doesn’t receive a heavy amount of heat. Too much heat can cause the wool to shrink and alter the size and fit of the hat.

Ensure that you are holding the hat with the inner part facing you, as the steam can damage the inner sweatband and texture of the lining if it has one. Avoid applying steam to the outer decorations as well, like a band or buckle above the brim.

Step three: reshape dents in the crown and creases

If the crown of the hat is damaged, it’s often most convenient to begin by correcting these dents. This way, you can handle the brim without worsening any bends or affecting any corrections you’ve already made. Ensure that you have paper towels on hand for this step.

Once the crown is saturated with steam, use your fingertips to work the moisture into the felt. Next, use the flat of your knuckles or palm of your hand to gently reshape the hat. These naturally curved areas of your hand will help mimic the shape of your head. Once the hat has returned to its former shape, fill the inner parts of the crown with paper towels to retain the shape while you work on the brim.

Step four: correct bends in the brim

Moving onto the brim, you may need to reapply steam to the hat. How you correct a bent brim will depend on the original angle of the design. A flat cap can be placed directly onto an even surface while you work out any flaws. A fedora with a curved brim will need to be smoothed out, then held in the upward or downward curve to match the original shape until it cools.

Step five: allow the hat to dry and cool into shape

As mentioned, flat, wide brim hats can easily be left on a tabletop to dry and retain their shape. However, if you’ve made any adjustments to the crown of the hat, you’ll need to place the hat on your head once it's cool enough to do so. Wear the hat for the next hour or so while it dries, so the hat will retain the proper size and continue to fit flawlessly.

Keep your headwear pristine with steam

Using this method of steam and shaping, you can increase the longevity of your favorite accessories and rescue hats you’d previously written off. Steam and heat can also be used to adjust the size of your hat, but with our innovative adjustable headband, you can get that perfect fit—no steam necessary.

August 19, 2022
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