How to Resize a Straw Cowboy Hat

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Some straw cowboy hats may start out not fitting properly and some hats lose their shape or fit because they get wet or become stretched out. There are different ways to resize a straw cowboy hat. Having the resizing done professionally can be costly, but there are alternatives, such as carefully stretching the cowboy hat using a hat stretcher that can be purchased at a hat store or online; inserting one of a variety of padding materials into the hat's sweatband so the hat will fit better; or molding the hat to your own head so it will fit comfortably and snugly.

Things You'll Need

  • Hat stretcher

  • Spray bottle

  • Water

  • Newspapers

  • Plastic or paper bags

  • Hatband liners, foam, felt or hatband reducing tape

Using a Hat Stretcher to Resize a Straw Cowboy Hat

Step 1

Lightly spray the straw cowboy hat with water.

Step 2

Place the hat on a stretcher to dry. Some people prefer a full-head hat stretcher and some choose to use the less-expensive type that just stretches the sweat band. Some brands of hat stretchers are the HAT JACK Hat Stretcher and the Hallett Drop-in Hat Stretcher.

Step 3

Try on the hat, and if it is not the right size, repeat steps 1 and 2.

Step 4

Try on the hat again and continue following and repeating the steps until the hat fits properly.

Resize a Hat Using Your Own Head

Step 1

Lightly spray water on your straw cowboy hat.

Step 2

Pull the hat onto your head and leave it on for 20 minutes.

Step 3

Take the hat off when the fit feels comfortable.

Step 4

Stuff the straw hat with crumpled newspaper, plastic bags or paper bags.

An alternative would be to leave the hat on your head. In a description of resizing straw cowboy hats, the David Morgan Hat Company reports that "The old cowboy method was to wear the hat in the rain for a day, and pull it down hard on the head, lower than normal, and let it dry."

Step 5

Let the hat dry overnight and try it on in the morning.

Using Fabric to Resize a Straw Hat

Step 1

Purchase fabric hat band liners from a hat shop or online from a hat dealer. Some liners, such as the hat size reducer tape, have adhesive backing.

Step 2

Place the hat band liner or hat band reducer tape inside the hat's sweatband.

Step 3

Buy or order soft foam strips from hardware stores or online. You can purchase some felt from your local craft or sewing store. Once cut, the felt or foam strips can be used to help resize your hat.

Step 4

Insert the liner, tape, felt or foam strips into the straw cowboy hat's sweatband. According to the Fedora Lounge, "the further down you put the material behind the sweatband, the tighter/smaller it makes the hat."

Step 5

Try on the hat and, if necessary, add or remove strips or liners until your hat fits comfortably.


Most straw cowboy hats have a wire in the brim edge, which allows you to adjust the brim, and this might help make the hat sit better on your head.

Palm leaf straw hats can be shaped and resized by wetting and shaping hats to the preferred style and shape and allowing them to air dry naturally.


According to, if your straw hat loses its shape, "try holding it over steam (i.e. from a pot of boiling water) and reshaping it. Wear oven mitts and exercise caution while doing this as STEAM CAN CAUSE SERIOUS BURNS!!!" On the other hand, a Horse City Bulletin cowboy warns that steaming a straw cowboy hat may be a disaster and could ruin the hat.

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