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

Bothered by your cowboy hat being in the wrong size or shrinking?

Truthfully your new cowboy hat may be too tight thus leading to a headache.

Or your old hat has shrunk too much to wear on.

That’s why you need to read the article about how to stretch a cowboy hat exactly.

You can easily fix all those problems alone at home. All your cowboy hat need is a simple stretch.

Generally, to stretch your cowboy hat there’re various ways and tools you can use, also you should stretch your cowboy hat properly for different materials.

More importantly, a good stretch will not only rely on the right methods and steps. But your patience and carefulness will go a long way.

What you’ll read next: 

  • How to Stretch Your Cowboy Hat in Different Ways
  • What is the Best Stretching Way for Different Cowboy Hat Materials?
  • How to Maintain Your Cowboy Hat After Stretching?
  • How to Stretch A Cowboy Hat Bands?

Related Post: How to Wear A Cowboy Hat Correctly?

Before Stretching What You Should Know

1. Check the Material

Before looking into the detailed stretching process, you should check your cowboy hat first.

The most efficient way to stretch your cowboy hat may be changed by your hat’s material.

For stretching, cowboy hat fabrics mainly differ in the difficulty of stretching.

You’ll find that some materials can receive more potential damage from improper stretching methods.

If you can’t recall what your cowboy hat is made out of, you can check the care label on your cowboy hat.

Hence you can gain enough information on how to take care of your cowboy hat while stretching.

Also Read: Best Cowboy Hat for Round Face

2. Stretch it Properly

While stretching you should figure out how much you can stretch your cowboy hat.

Overstretch can cause permanent damage to your cowboy hat fabric and shape.

To get the best fit, you can leave one finger between the hat and your head to check the result.

If there’s enough space for your finger, then you have the right fit perfectly.

Besides, your cowboy hat will shrink unavoidably, so you can stretch a bit more than you want.

For example, if you want your cowboy hat 20% looser than before, then you can stretch your hat out like 40%.

Also Read: How to Choose the Best Cowboy Hat for Rain?

Different Ways to Stretch A Cowboy Hat at Home

how to steam stretch a cowboy hat at home

It’s time to bring the stretching methods you have been expected. All the tools are very simple. And you can find them in your own house easily.

Importantly, pay attention to what materials each method works for.

1. Break it in

Tools you need

  • Your head

Worked for

  • All kinds of cowboy hats

Wear your cowboy hat every day whether you are going to work or anything.

Without any tools, you can stretch your cowboy hat easily by your head.

The natural fabric will loosen due to your daily wearing and turn to a right fit gradually.

You can get a very natural fit in this way. However, the simplest method can take the longest time.

Also Read: Best Beanies for Dreadlocks

2. Use Your Knees

Tools you need

  • Your knees
  • A chair

Worked for

  • Leather/palm straw/felt cowboy hat

This is a really quick and easy way to stretch your cowboy hat.

Sit on a chair and hold your cowboy hat firmly by the brim and then pull the hat over your knee with your hands.

To get a good fit, you need to ensure that your hat is stretched evenly on all sides.

Besides, this method requires your cowboy hats are made from durable fabrics. Leather and felt cowboy hats are ideal for this traditional way.

If you want to stretch your straw cowboy hat in this way, only palm straw can withstand the risk of tear or breakage.

Also Read: Best Stylish & Comfortable Baseball Caps for Dreadlocks

3. Spray & Stretch

Tools you need

  • Spray bottle of water
  • Blow dryer

Worked for

  • fur/wool felt, straw cowboy hat

This method works well on cowboy hats made of soft fabrics. First, fill your spray bottle with lukewarm water (hot water will damage your hat).

Spritz your cowboy hat crown outside and hatband inside. Since you don’t need to stretch the brim so you can leave it alone.

Once your cowboy hat becomes damp then you can stop the spritzing. If your hat gets wet, fabric damage or tearing will appear on the surface.

Then blow-dry your cowboy hat until it’s mostly dry. You can set the blow dryer to the highest setting.

Finally, put your mostly-dry cowboy hat on your head until it is completely dry.

Also Read: Mature & Charming: Choose the Best Male’s Hat for Your Round Face

4. Steaming

Tools you need

  • Tea kettle or small bottle of water
  • Blow dryer
  • Kitchen tongs(optional)

Worked for

  • fur/wool felt, straw cowboy hat

Steam can soften the natural fabrics well so you can stretch cowboy hats easily. Besides, the hot steam can sanitize and kill the odors of your hat.

Prepare a kettle or a mall pot of water, heat it until generating steam.

Grab your cowboy hat by the brim or use a kitchen tong to avoid burning.

Next, put your hat 6 inches above the kettle when steaming your hat. There should be enough steam reaching the interior of your cowboy hat.

Remove your hat from the kettle for around 30 seconds and continue to steam it.

Repeat this process 4 times at least to soften your cowboy hat totally.

Once you finish steaming, use the blow dryer to dry your cowboy hat until it is mostly dry. Then put it on and let it air dry.

Also Read: How to Choose the Best Hat for Round Face People?

5. Use Soccer Ball

Tools you need

  • A soccer ball
  • A plastic bag(optional)

Worked for

  • any kinds of cowboy hats

If you want to slightly stretch your cowboy hat, a soccer ball is what you need.

This method is quite easy. Stuff a youth-sized cowboy hat inside your cowboy hat and leave it overnight.

If you don’t want to buy a new and clean ball you can wrap your old soccer ball in a plastic bag.

Try it on in the morning, and you can repeat the last step if you think the cowboy hat needs more stretch.

Also Read: How to Choose Hats for Round Face Females?

6. Hat stretcher

Tools you need

  • A hat stretcher
  • A kettle or a pot of hot water

Worked for

  • any kinds of cowboy hats

If you want to stretch your cowboy hat precisely and get a predictable result, you can go with a hat stretcher like the Hat-Jack.

You can steam your cowboy hat before putting the hat stretcher inside your hat. And the tools you need stay the same with the steaming method.

Make sure to place the hat stretcher against the hatband exactly or it will ruin the shape of the crown. Then you can crank the device open until it’s taut.

Finally, leave the hat stretcher in your cowboy hat overnight and check the result in the morning.

Also Read: How to Choose the Best Hats for Bald Guys & Shaved Heads to Be Stylish

What is the Best Way to Stretch Cowboy Hats in Different Materials?

how to stretch a cowboy hat at home

After reading the stretching methods above, you’ll find that some work well on several specific fabrics.

Here’re the tips on how to get the best way to stretch cowboy hats in different materials.

– For straw cowboy hats

Generally, straw is very fragile that can be damaged easily while getting wet.

But palm leaf straw cowboy hats can withstand moisture and perform better in a humid environment.

Therefore, you can use steaming or spray for palm leaf hats, meanwhile leave a normal straw hat with hat stretchers.

– For felt cowboy hats

Beaver felt is naturally water-resistant so you can use steaming or spray methods to stretch a beaver felt cowboy hat easily.

– For leather cowboy hats

While stretching a leather cowboy hat, keep in mind that you can get a better result without using hot steaming.

So if you want to stretch a leather hat, you can use a hat stretcher or use the soccer ball method.

Also Read: How to Choose the Best Hat for Long Face?


1. Is it possible to stretch a cowboy hat?

Yes! You can stretch your cowboy hat for a comfortable size in many different ways.

2. How much can a felt cowboy hat be stretched?

To avoid damage like breakage and tear, you can stretch the felt cowboy hat between its original size and the next size.

And that is around 1/4 to 1/2 size larger based on your hat.

3. How long does it take to stretch a cowboy hat?

According to the method you choose, stretching a cowboy hat can take several hours or months.

And using a hat stretcher is the most efficient and fast way to stretch your cowboy hat.

4. How much does it cost to stretch a cowboy hat?

Generally, stretching cowboy hats won’t cost a lot if you do it by yourself at home.

However, if you are very careful with your valuable stetson hat, asking for help from a professional milliner or hatter does worth your money.

5. Do hat stretchers work?

Yes. Hat stretchers are very useful to increase a substantial increase in hat size.

6. Will a cowboy hat stretch over time?

Yes. Your cowboy hat will be stretched naturally as long as your wear it. Hence you can stretch your cowboy hat without any tools.

7. Can you stretch a cowboy hatband?

Yes. Sometimes your cowboy hat is hard to wear due to the tight hatband inside.

Under this situation, you can use spray or steaming methods to stretch the hatband.