Hat brim shaping

Discussion in 'The Haberdashery' started by A3M0N, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. I have a Belfry Goon, its a wool felt hat. I like it ok, but I have a question about the brim. Here is a pic from the website:


    Here is mine with me in it (on the left):


    My brim snap isn't anywhere near as pronouced. I would like more kick up in the back and down in the front, does anyone know how can I go about doing that?

  2. Legion

    Legion Moderator Emeritus

    Hold it over steam coming off the kettle. Work it in the direction you want, a little at a time. Just make small adjustments until it is how you want it.
  3. I'm not sure wool will hold like felted fur will. I would also be careful with that steam on the wool; it could pull the whole hat out of shape when the fibers start felting inconsistently from the heat.
  4. Legion

    Legion Moderator Emeritus

    You may be right. I've only done it with Akubra's, and they are rabbit fur felt. Works well on them.
  5. A3MON, if you move up to a rabbit fur hat (beaver is very expensive these days) you can have a quality hat that will last you decades. The Akubra mentioned above is a great place to look. Those hats can be shaped and reshaped easily by you yourself using a teakettle or even wearing it in the rain (won't hurt it a bit) and then reshaping the brim and/or crown to whatever you like and letting it dry.

    The fit on fur hats is more crucial than soft wool, so "measure twice and cut once." The Stylemaster and Bogart are worth a look.
  6. I found this instructional video online about this topic. Hope it helps! Just watch it with those straw hats!

    :lol: Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk ...
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2017
  7. Interesting that your hat does not look like the one in the picture advertisement you added above. I would suggest directing your question to the seller, Hats in the Belfrey, I assume.
  8. not sure about wool either, but...

    another option is to find a country/western outfitter/store that sells cowboy hats and they can shape it too. they have purpose build steamers to shape their felt hats, if you don't trust yourself.
  9. Thanks everyone, I just sent an email to Hats in the Belfry to see what they have to say. I figured that was a good first step instead of possibly ruining my hat. Thanks again!
  10. Not uncommon I am assuming.
    My Belfry "Frankie" arrived exactly as pictured on the site.
    Keeping it that way on my misshapen head is the problem. Heads are not perfectly round or oval, so the brim will rest slightly differently than in free air and it will eventually take a set.

    OTOH, the Stetson Panama that I bought from AZTex arrived with the entire brim flipped up. The image depicted the brim with the rear up and front down.
    I was never able to shape it as depicted. With a LOT of gentle stretching and working, I was able to get the entire brim to remain down, though slightly more in the rear, but that's okay and I like the look now.
    I have a stingy Panama if I want the "tailfin" look.
  11. You can wet the brim with distilled water, shape it the way you want, and let it dry. If you do not like the results, rewet and redo.
  12. This discussion is interesting! I have been looking at hats and the way the brims appear. Know hat some are advertised as "snap brims", and discovered that there is a wire (or something) around the edge that allows you to form it. Even discovered that I have a hat like that! Didn't know! Just discovered I can "snap" it up in the back! But guess that isn't true of all hats. So hearing how one can shape that is really good to know!
  13. Thanks Talltexan, the closest store on the list is a least a 3-4 hour drive away. I'll do some googling for somthing closer though, I hadn't really thought of a seeking a hat shop's help with this.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  14. I have successfully shaped my wool Tilley Town Fedora last weekend. The front had a tendency to flip up easily, basically at the slightest touch and I wanted it to have a downward turn at all times. After putting up with it since I bought it the week after Christmas, I'd had enough.
    I filled the tea kettle with water and brought it to a boil. We have a "whistling" tea kettle so I got a nice jet of steam going. I reasoned that I wanted to basically cause the wool to shrink after wetting it, so to get a more pronounced downturn I wanted to steam the underside of the brim.
    I CAREFULLY, a little at a time, steamed the edges and the actual underside of the brim. Best guess... I never held any single spot in the steam longer than a couple seconds. After working it for less than a minute total I hung it up to dry.

    It worked. The brim has a slightly more pronounced down turn than before and best of all when I flip it up, it flips back down on it's own.

    I was a little hesitant working on an $80+ hat but had reached the point where if I couldn't fix it I wasn't going to wear it anymore. I am completely happy.
  15. If you live where there is a real Western wear store, they almost all have a hat steamer and someone who knows how to at least re-shape a brim.

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