5 Easy Ways To Stretch A Straw Hat

Straw hats are popular due to their lightweight straw and ability to shade your face from the sunlight. But what if your straw hat is too tight?

Here Are 5 Easy Ways To Stretch A Straw Hat:

There are ways to stretch your straw hat, some of the easiest methods are:
Using a hat stretcher
Steaming your straw hat over the stove
Using a Hand Method
Using a Hairdryer
Take your hat to a professional milliner to be stretched

Below we have detailed the ways to stretch your straw hat with easy steps, also some tips to maintain your straw hat in the future.

Ways To Stretch A Straw Hat

Hat Stretcher

Forget about spending lots of money on hats that are too small for your head. Instead, you can purchase inexpensive straw hats and stretch them out yourself with a hat stretcher.

To use a hat stretcher, follow these steps.

1. Choose a well-ventilated area to dry your hat. In this case, your goal is to get the moisture out of the straw and fully extend it to prevent mould from developing inside the crown. A garage or utility room is perfect for this activity. You’ll also want to choose a day when it won’t be too windy or humid – both of which could negatively impact how fast or well the hat dries.

2. Unhook the pole from the back of your hat. Check to see whether or not there’s a proper way to do this with your hat (if not, don’t worry! There are many ways to attach a hat pole). If there’s no secure attachment point, you can usually find some loop that can be used for this purpose. Once you’ve found the right spot, pull it out and stick the end of your pole into it. Repeat this step for any loops that are too small to get through.

3. Put on your hat and lay it flat on your work surface. The hat should be partially dried from the air in your closet, but give it a few moments out in the open before continuing. Be sure to wear gloves when stretching your hat – using bare hands could cause burns or add an unwanted molding smell to your newly-stretched hat.

4. Locate the holes on either side of your hat stretcher, and then push these clamps through until they’re sitting evenly on either side of the crown. If you have a spring-loaded type, pull back on each end of the rubber band and stick it into place through one of these holes. With a manual model, adjust the handles until the pressure is even across the hat.

5. Tighten the clamps until you’re sure your hat won’t move. If you have a spring-loaded model, pull back on both ends of the rubber band to apply extra tightening pressure as needed (but be careful not to overdo it).

6. Using a manual model, be mindful of both sides of your hat while pulling on each handle to ensure an even grip. Then let go and confirm if any areas are loose enough to move around. When everything is secure, turn or flip the hat until it’s well-ventilated on all sides and leave so it can fully dry out.

7. After checking on your hat several times to make sure it’s secure, you can leave it to dry for as long as a day or two. The more you wear it, the faster the hat will become fully dried out, which is excellent news if you are looking for smaller-sized hats that do not stretch out with wear over time.

Steam Method (Over the Stove)

The steam method can quickly and easily stretch straw hats that are too short. It is an ideal alternative if you don’t have access to a steamer.

1. To begin with, you need to ensure that your straw hat is not too small for the head – one size does not fit all. If it’s too tight, try to stretch it out by putting it on some flat surface, such as the hood of your car or a table. You’ll have to adjust the fit often since the hat will stretch out over time, so keep an eye on it.

2. Turn your stove on and bring your hat to low temperature – three-quarters of a dial will do just fine (keep in mind that you don’t want to burn yourself).

3. If your hat is on securely, you’re ready to put it on the burner. If not, put it in a small bowl of hot water to loosen it up, and then use a clean piece of towel or oven mitts to secure it.

4. Place the hat on the stove over medium heat and adjust the heat level until steam starts emerging (you’ll know when because the tip will be bubbling). You might prefer to wrap a towel around the brim of your hat to prevent burns.

5. Once steam starts shooting out, immediately remove your hat from the heat and wait about three minutes for it to cool down enough so that you can comfortably wear it again – no steamy feeling!

6. Repeat steps 1 through 5 a couple of times until you have the desired fit.

7. Once you have it, give your old straw hat a fresh look with some new accessories!

Hand Method

-Place your hands at opposite corners of the brim of your hat and pull them apart.

-Pull one hand away from its corner until it starts stretching out the other side of your hat without going past the opposite corner.

-Repeat this technique with both corners until they meet in the middle. Make sure not to pull so hard that it rips or ends up being too big on one side and too small on another.


Many times you have to dry your hair using the hairdryer. It’s effective when you use it to create curls and waves, but if you are serious about your hair, it should always be kept in shape. Below are the steps to use the hairdryer to stretch a straw hat.

Step 1: Pick a straw hat that fits well on top of your head with no strings or ties that can get caught on anything. Place it on top of a towel or clothes so any foam residue left on its surface can be washed away properly at the end.

Step 2: Take your hairdryer and put it in its lowest setting. Hold it approximately 30 centimeters away from the straw hat. The material will not get damaged if you use low heat, so there’s no need to worry.

Step 3: Leave the air stream of the hairdryer on top of the hat for a few minutes, working only in one area at a time. This action will cause the straw to expand and become loose, so be careful not to burn it or leave it too long in contact with the heat of the machine.

Step 4: Once you have finished one area, move on to another until your headgear is perfectly stretched out.

Step 5: Finish by taking a high heat setting and quickly pass the hairdryer over the hat again, with stronger heat and more direct. Make sure you hold the air stream on one section for no longer than a few seconds so as not to burn it. The remaining straw pieces should be eliminated.

Step 6: Once you’ve finished, gently brush your hat to smooth over any wrinkles and remove any debris that may have been generated during the process. You can now use your newly stretched hat without worrying about losing its shape!

Contact A Hat Maker

A custom hat maker can stretch or compress just about any hat into the right shape and size to fit your head perfectly. They can also help you get the appropriate style and colour that flatters your face.

When you get fitted for a hat by a custom hat maker, the process is typically quite enjoyable because they will take the time to explain what’s best for your head shape, features, and colouring. And with special soft-brim hats that are both stylish and flexible, you’ll love having your head covered up when it’s warm.

Ways To Maintain Your Straw Hat?

Wear A Sweatband

These are the best invention ever. If you own a large-brimmed hat like a fedora, wrap your head with an Ace bandage and secure it in place with some Velcro or tweezer snips. That will keep sweat from clogging your hat’s crown and slipping out of your head.

Keep It Clean

No need to use bleach on your hat! Instead, use some baby wipes or a cloth that has never been washed with fabric softener or dry cleaners. Be gentle, and they should be okay to use.

Store them in a plastic baggie to avoid mildew forming if you can’t wash them immediately. If you wash them immediately, store them in a paper bag for one day before putting them back into the plastic baggie so they don’t get mildew in your hat.

Shampoo Your Hat

This may seem crazy, but it’s worth it! Just stuff the crown of your hat with a small cotton ball, add a bit of baby shampoo, and turn it inside out. Grab a gentle spray nozzle on your favourite watering can and slowly give your hat a good shower. Then allow it sit in the sun for a few hours to dry.

Give It A Good Airing

This is something that most people forget. Straw hats are known for smelling like hay, so reeky that you can’t even stand it sometimes! However, airing out is crucial for preventing mildew from developing or showing up later. Just make sure to clean it out well first!

Store it properly

A limited effort goes a long way when it comes to preventing damage to your straw hat – such as avoiding things that are too abrasive that could potentially tear at the straw and even putting it away on flat surfaces instead of folding it over or hanging from a hook (which could also lead to tears or splitting).

Further, if you store your hat in the sun or a hot place, it’s only a matter of time until mildew starts to grow. Plus, the crown of your hat will collapse and no longer look like how you want it to! If you’re not going to wear your straw hat for an extended period, store it in a cool, dry place where air can easily circulate it. Hats are best stored on their side.

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