How to Firm a Hat Brim

by Victoria Sweeney

Revive a crumpled or sagging hat with a little TLC.

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If your hat has lost its shape, take it to a milliner to be reblocked. When a hat brim gets a kink or a cap's visor goes limp, reshape and firm it yourself with the help of steam and a few simple tools and techniques.

Preparing the Hat

Look the hat over carefully to see if it needs any other repairs. Tack down a loose hat band or fluff a crumpled flower so the hat looks its best when the reshaping is done. Clean any spots with a damp cloth.

Felt Hats

If your hat has a wired brim, straighten any kinks with your fingers. If necessary, replace the wire with millinery or spring steel wire. Tape the ends of the wire tightly so it won't cut through the casing. Boil water in a pot or kettle on the stove. Hold the brim of the hat over the steam until the felt is damp. Shape the brim before setting the hat on a flat surface to cool and dry. If the brim shape sags while it's damp, prop it up with crumpled paper towels.

Straw Hats

If your hat has a wired brim, straighten any kinks with your fingers. If necessary, replace the wire with millinery or spring steel wire. Tape the ends of the wire tightly so it won't cut through the casing. Dunk the brim of the hat in a pot of simmering water for no more than 15 seconds and then lightly blot dry. Set the hat on a flat surface and shape the brim, propping it up with crumpled paper towels to keep the shape if necessary. Allow to cool and dry overnight.

Baseball Caps

Boil water in a pot or kettle on the stove. Hold the cap brim over the steam, turning over every 30 seconds or so to saturate both sides of the brim. Work the brim with your fingers until it's the shape you want. Spray both sides of the brim with laundry starch to help it hold its shape as it cools. Set the cap on a flat surface and let it dry overnight.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

About the Author

Victoria Sweeney began her career writing testing documentation for software companies in Silicon Valley, and later moved into freelance technical writing. Since 1996, she has authored user documentation for everything from multi-platform corporate databases to independent video games to home hair dye. Sweeney studied English at San Diego State University.