Three Tricks To Help Shrink A Hat

We’ve all been there: that fitted hat looked so good on the model, you just had to have it. Now you’re left with a cool hat… and you’re also left wondering, “how do I make this hat smaller?”

Depending on material, design, and desired fit, you have a few options for shrinking that hat down to size. Because let’s be honest – “one size fits all” rarely fits all.

How Should A Hat Fit, Anyway?

With different hats come different fits. While many dream of a hat staying on no matter what, it’s unrealistic to assume your kiddo’s hat will stay on when they’re hanging upside down.

In general, fitted hats should sit above the ears and feel tight around (but not squish!) your head. You want them to stay in place as you go about your day, but you never want to have a headache after wearing them for just a few hours. (Plus, who wants to give their newborn a headache? Not us!)

If your hat is slipping off your head, or you find yourself constantly readjusting, that’s a sign that your hat isn’t the right fit. And while we at SOULBUDDY have a flexible return policy for our fitted hats that aren’t quite right, returning a hat isn’t always an option.

How To Shrink Different Materials

So, you can’t return the hat. Now what?

There are many methods you can use to shrink a hat, but not all hats are built the same! Different materials shrink in different ways. Here at SOULBUDDY, our hats are made from cotton – but some also have polyester. If your fitted hat is made from these materials, there are different ways to go about shrinking them.

Shrinking Polyester Hats

Polyester is popular because it’s super durable and difficult to shrink – but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost!

First, you can use a washing machine. Though polyester is durable, you should keep it in a garment bag so it maintains its shape. Use hot water during the wash cycle, which will help shrink the polyester fibers, then let it air dry.

If the hat is still too loose after the wash, you can throw it in the dryer – but don’t use the hottest setting, because you risk over-shrinking the cap. Check its fit every 10-15 minutes, stopping the dry cycle once it feels snug.

If you’re worried about losing the shape of the hat (especially when it’s structured or brimmed), you can also try this method using the dishwasher. Just make sure there are no remnants of food in there when you wash it – talk about gross.

Note: if the hat has any embellishments, make sure they can be run through the washing machine first! You can look up the specific materials of your embellishments online if the hat doesn’t have instructions for washing.

Shrinking Cotton Hats

If you’ve ever washed cotton, you know that it shrinks pretty easily, so throwing it in the washing machine and dryer isn’t your best bet. Instead, try this way: showering with it!

When finishing your shower, throw your fitted hat on and let it get wet for a few minutes. You don’t want it soaked, but you don’t want it to be mildly damp, either.

After those few minutes are up, take off the hat and let it drip dry while you towel off. Place it on your head and let it air dry (or blow dry on a medium-heat setting if you’re impatient), so it molds to the shape of your head. 

Using Hat Tape

If you’re worried about shrinking your hat too much or damaging its shape, you can also invest in hat tape. Hat tape has two sides: one side of material like foam, and one side that has a backing to stick to the hat. This fills in gaps that large hats create, and it’s not visible, so no one will know!

How To Use Hat Tape

Using hat tape is fairly simple:

  1. Put your hat on and find the gaps between the hat and your head. (Mark the spots if you need to remember.)
  2. Before adhering the tape to your hat, cut the tape to the right size for each gap and test out the fit. If you put on tape and accidentally misjudge the size, you may need to cut a new piece – and why waste tape?
  3. Once you’ve found the right length of tape, and the hat fits with the hat tape on, remove the backing and adhere the tape within the gaps.

Taking a Hat to a Professional

Sometimes, hat tape doesn’t work, nor does shrinking it on your own (or you don’t want to try it yourself). In certain cases, you can bring your hat to be professionally fitted and steamed. Don’t consider this a last resort or giving up – it’s better safe than sorry!

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, one of these methods will help your hat fit! And worst case scenario, you can always re-gift – or wait for your little one to grow into it. And next time, we recommend measuring your head before buying. We have a size chart so you can get the right fit!

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