It’s a hat stretcher

May 13, 2010 at 5:00 am 1 comment

Like a shoe stretcher, a hat stretcher can adjust a hat to fit better.  The average women’s head is about 22.5 inches.  Stretchers are available on eBay, antique stores, flea markets and millinery supply houses such as Judith M or   Avoid the temptation to buy a too small hat thinking you can break it in as it will give you a headache and you will not feel your lovliest.  There is no miracle to make a tiny vintage hat into an extra large.  But if it is too good a deal to pass up, get the hat and gift it to your small headed friends.         Many women prefer fascinators or tiny cocktail hats as they perch delicately on the head and one size fits all.  The ideal situation is to visit a milliner who will make a hat to fit your exact head size.  A stretcher is usually used by a milliner before the band and trim are on the hat.  The area to be stretched should be slightly damp and the stretcher opened part of the way  keeping in mind not to open it so much that it distorts the overall shape.  Then opened bit by bit to the desired size on the following days until full size is reached and allowed to dry completly.  The process may need to be repeated.  The wood of the stretcher should not touch the hat body directly but should be covered with plastic wrap or foil to prevent discoloration of the materials and prevent any dye from the materials staining the stretcher. The one shown here stretches front-to-back but there are stretchers which work all four directions.  Good fit is essential for a happy hat experience.


Entry filed under: Helpful Hat Hints. Tags: , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. 2RavenChicks  |  May 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    I would never have guessed in a million years what this was! How interesting – I didn’t know such a thing existed.

    Yes, wearing a hat that is too large or small is never very much fun.

    Lovely blog! Hats off to you ;D


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