How to Shrink a Cowboy Hat for the Best Fit?

Your cowboy hat should not feel snug, but at the same time, it should not be too tight and not move around on your head.

A good-fit cowboy hat should be placed about two fingers above your eyebrow and two fingers above your ears.

If your at drops down over your wobbles or ears, it means it is quite big.

Hat makers shrink your cowboy hat by adding padding along with the hat sweatband or by using foam-reducing tape.

If you have been wondering how you can shrink your cowboy hat, worry no more!

This article is dedicated to enlightening you on how to shrink your cowboy hat. Let’s get started!

Related Post: How to Stretch A Cowboy Hat Properly for the Best Fit?

What Should You Know Before Shrink Cowboy Hats?

There are several that you need to keep in mind before shrinking your cowboy hats:

1. Check the Cowboy Hat Material

Shrinking your hat mostly involves using water and heat.

Hats that are made from resistant fibers such as polyester and cotton are resistant to extreme heat from ovens and dryers.

Delicate materials such as straw and felt, need to be steam-treated or rather heated with extreme care.

Alternatively, if the material is very delicate, you can go for adhesive foam sizers that will allow perfect shrinking without damaging your hat.

Also Read: How to Shape A Leather Cowboy Hat?

2. Do the Shrink with Caution

You need to shrink your hat with caution to avoid ruining it.

Read the label on your cowboy hat and familiarize yourself with how to care for your hat.

Your hat’s materials and elements will include recommendations on how to avoid contact with heat, water, or moisture.

Sometimes you are not sure about the material of your hat or you have a feeling that the steam method might not work.

You may want to take it to an expert who will suggest the best way to shrink your hat without damaging its color, shape, and material.

Also Read: How to Clean a Visor Hat?

How to Shrink A Straw Cowboy Hat

Your straw cowboy hat may fail to fit properly which in turn makes it lose its shape.

If this is the case, you may want to resize or shrink your hat.

Below are steps on how to shrink your straw cowboy hat:

1. Steaming

1. Hold your hat over a pot with boiling water until it is damp.

2. Put it on your head or rather a foam head according to your size until it dries.

3. This way, your hat will shrink slightly.

2. Using a Hat Stretcher

1. Lightly spray your straw cowboy hat with water.

2. Place your hat on a stretcher and allow it to dry.

3. You can choose between a full-head stretcher or choose the less-expensive stretcher that only stretches the sweatband.

4. Try your hat and if it does not shrink to the ideal size, repeat the steps over again.

Also Read: How to Distress A Baseball Cap Properly?

3. Using Your Head

1. Spray your hat with hot water until it is slightly dampened.

2. Put on the hat and leave it on for about 20 minutes.

3. Take off the hat after it feels comfortable.

4. Using Fabric

1. Buy a fabric hat band liner from a hat dealer.

2. Place the hatband liner inside your hat’s sweatband.

3. Alternatively, you can buy soft foam strips from a retail shop.

4. Cut the foam strip to help shrink your hat.

5. Insert the foam strips into your hat’s sweatband.

6. Try on your hat. Add or remove the foam strips until the hat fits comfortably.

Also Read: How to Clean a Hard Hat? 

How to Shrink a Wool Cowboy Hat

A wool cowboy hat is easy to shrink. If you have a beanie, you can use your washing machine and a dryer to shrink the fibers of the hat.

You can also use hat fillers to shrink the inside of your hat or use the spraying and heating method as well.

1. Using Hat Fillers

1. Pull back the inside of the wool cowboy hat and look inside the hat’s cavity for a band that is about 2.5cm wide.

Hold this band where your head would sit and then pul it back towards yourself.

Pull this band back about 0.39 inches to allow space for the hat filler.

2. Place a hat filler under this band. These fillers come in different sizes. A 1cm filler shrinks your hat by 1 cm.

3. Try the hat to see whether it fits you. If you can fit a finger between your head and the hay, it means it fits you perfectly without feeling tight.

4. If your hat still feels loose, place another filler, in the front band of your hat.

Also Read: How to Change the Color of A Straw Hat for Stylish & Fashion Sense

2. Using a Washing Machine

1. Place your wool cowboy hat in a washing machine and set the machine to a short-cycle warm wash.

Warm water is the safest because if it is too hot, it might shrink too much and if the water is cold, your hat might not shrink at all.

2. Put your wool cowboy hat in the dryer and on low heat. If the heat is extreme, the hat might shrink too much or ruin your hat.

Keep on checking your hat after every five minutes until you achieve the desired fit.

Also Read: How to Block A Hat with Ease?

How to Shrink a Felt Cowboy Hat

Felt is constructed from animal fibers such as mohair, wool, or alpaca. When animal hair is exposed to a heated dryer or hot water, it will shrink.

Moreover, there are other ways to shrink your felt cowboy hat including the thread elastic method, polar fleece lining method, and sewing method.

Sewing method

1. Measure the ribbon that is inside your felt hat using a measuring tape.

2. Add an inch to the measurements and cut a grosgrain ribbon of similar length.

3. Sew the grosgrain ribbon to the ribbon inside your hat using a needle and threat. Overlap the ends by 0.5 and then sew the ends together.

4. Try on your hat to determine whether it has resized. If it is still bigger sew, another ribbon and repeat the process until your hat feels tighter.

Also Read: How to Dye a Felt Hat for Stylish?

Shrinking method

1. Place your hat into a lingerie bag or a pillowcase and then zip or tie the bag shut.

2. Set the washing machine for the smallest load, but the hottest water possible.

3. Add the ideal amount of detergent for this specific load size.

4. Stuff several towels and the bag containing your felt hat.

5. Let the machine agitate until your load is halfway finished.

6. Pull out your hat and check whether it has shrunk to the needed size. If not, put the load back and let it finish.

7. Try on your damp hat and see whether it fits.

8. If it is still big, you can either wash it or transfer it into the dryer for several minutes

9. Wear your hat until it takes the shape of your head.

10. Then put your felt hat on a hat form of similar size and let it air dry.

Also Read: How to Put a Hatband on a Cowboy Hat?

Polar Fleece Lining Method

1. This method requires you to measure the circumference of your head where your hat is going to sit.

2. Cut a 1-inch wide polar fleece band with extra 2 inches to the measurement

3. Fold the polar fleece band in half and then sew a straight stitch across the end.

This should be 1-inch from the end. Cut off 0.5 inches of fleece.

4. Sew the polar fleece to the inside of your hat.

5. Pinch the fabric slightly to create small puckers to make the hat fit the polar fleece.

6. By doing this, your hat should fit you perfectly.

Also Read: How to Keep A Cowboy Hat On In The Wind?


Shrinking your cowboy hat can be easy if you follow the above steps. After reading this article, you do not have to discard your hat because it does not fit.

Resize your cowboy hat to maintain your fashion and come out outstanding!