How to Reshape a Felt Hat

As a third option, you might have a packable or crushable felt hat. Travel after travel, adventure to adventure, you can now see wrinkles after taking it in and out of your suitcase or carryon bag.

In all cases, getting a felt hat back to its old appearance isn't impossible, and may just require a bit of steam and waiting.

First, What is Felt?

Years ago, during the classic era of millinery, rabbit or beaver fur composed the material known as felt. Today, the material is primarily constructed of wool, derived from a sheep before being spun into a thread. These threads are either woven or pressed via heat into a fabric.

Pictured: Belfry Chloe

Used for a mix of dress, casual and travel hats, felt commonly forms a structured silhouette, like a fedora, but it's also soft enough to be crushable, packable or foldable.

Based on the number and depth of wrinkles and folds, your options for reshaping a felt hat include:

Without Moisture

Especially if the hatband is made of suede or another delicate, water-sensitive material, you may be hesitant to steam or use moisture to reshape the felt.

In this case, if the wrinkles primarily affect the crown, you can:

  1. From the inside, push out any dents and wrinkles, using your hand or a hat brush.
  2. Use cloth or a towel to stuff the entire crown area, or place it on a wig stand, if it's available.
  3. Leave the hat in this position for multiple days.
  4. After some time, remove the filling from the crown and see if the hat retains this shape. Going forward, be sure to store your hat in this manner or inside a hat box.

Using Steam

Unfortunately, the above method only has an effect when the wrinkles are minimal. As with all textiles, felt will need to be steamed to regain its shape, particularly if it was recently crushed.

To get started:

  1. Have either a steam iron or tea kettle on hand. Because the emitted steam will be hot, be sure to keep your hands and face a minimum of six inches from the spout.
  2. Once the kettle or iron starts producing steam, hold the hat beyond this distance within the direction of the steam. Make sure the hat's inside is directly facing you. Otherwise, any interior sweatband will dampen and warp the shape.
  3. As the steam hits the felt, the fibers will start to loosen, becoming more pliable and letting you reshape the material. Pull, bend, pinch or lightly stretch the felt to get rid of the wrinkles.
  4. Work through the hat until all wrinkled or folded areas have an even appearance. Generally, it's recommended that you start with the brim and work upward. For cowboy hats, now's your chance to re-curve the brim. With the crown, always reshape from the inside, pushing outward.
  5. Once you're done, let the material cool before placing it on your head to fit its shape. Keep it in place for a few minutes, so the crown can conform to your head's curves.

Whatever style you have in mind, Hats in the Belfry has a wide selection of felt hats for men and women. Shop fedoras, cowboy, flat caps, cloches and more today.