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Thread: Stretching and Shrinking a Cap?

  1. #1
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    Stretching and Shrinking a Cap?

    I have two dilemmas involving some of my caps...They are all around the same size but not all of them fit as desired (this has been the case since I got them). I'm just curious, is there a way to SAFELY stretch or shrink a cap.

    At this stage I am more interested in stretching a cap. Other than the cap that needs to be altered, there is a cap I want to buy and it is only available in one size that I can find (it happens to be one size smaller than I am-- I am 7 1/8 and the cap is a 7). Can it be stretched one whole size or should I keep searching?

    Thanks for any help

  2. #2
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    New Era's website used to have a FAQs section before their website went "flash". In those FAQs there was a handy dandy guide for stretching/shrinking their wool 59fifty caps. You'll probably have to email them to get that info. I've been surfing their new website and it stinks. What a bandwidth hog. Gag...
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  3. #3
    I remember that I saw a link about how to do some "surgery" on a 59fifty to make it fit a little bit better but that was in terms of making it alot less "perky" and have more of a flat look to it on the section where the logo was. It stretched it a bit, but that had to do with taking all the white and black threads out of that section, soaking the hat, drying the hat then pulling that hat until it made a "pop" sound. It might be helpful but I can't get the link at the moment, I'll let you know if I stumble back across it.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewcrew82
    I have two dilemmas involving some of my caps...They are all around the same size but not all of them fit as desired (this has been the case since I got them). I'm just curious, is there a way to SAFELY stretch or shrink a cap.

    At this stage I am more interested in stretching a cap. Other than the cap that needs to be altered, there is a cap I want to buy and it is only available in one size that I can find (it happens to be one size smaller than I am-- I am 7 1/8 and the cap is a 7). Can it be stretched one whole size or should I keep searching?

    Thanks for any help
    I'd advise you to keep searching for a new one.

    For old caps, since my head has went from 71/4 to 73/8, I just washed them, hand stretched them quite a bit and let them dry on a pot that is close to 73/8. Hard part is finding a pot the right size.

    Also on a hot summer day just wear it till it drys.
    Last edited by Old Sweater; 02-22-2007 at 12:02 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewcrew82
    I have two dilemmas involving some of my caps...They are all around the same size but not all of them fit as desired (this has been the case since I got them). I'm just curious, is there a way to SAFELY stretch or shrink a cap.

    At this stage I am more interested in stretching a cap. Other than the cap that needs to be altered, there is a cap I want to buy and it is only available in one size that I can find (it happens to be one size smaller than I am-- I am 7 1/8 and the cap is a 7). Can it be stretched one whole size or should I keep searching?

    Thanks for any help
    For small hats in general, I just soak them good, stuff hardcover books into them until I can't get any more in there, and let them dry for a few days. This has worked wonders with my Russian army wool/cotton/fur winter hat and a few assorted ball caps.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spazz
    New Era's website used to have a FAQs section before their website went "flash". In those FAQs there was a handy dandy guide for stretching/shrinking their wool 59fifty caps. You'll probably have to email them to get that info. I've been surfing their new website and it stinks. What a bandwidth hog. Gag...
    Unless I'm going stupid, the new website doesn't even list an e-mail address. What a terrible site.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the replies thus far. I will give some of them a try.

  8. #8
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    In terms of shrinking a hat, I found that wearing it in the shower works wonders. On a hot summer day, hop in the shower with it on, and hold your head in the water for a few seconds to make sure it's wet all over. Then, wear it until it dries (outside is best). Beware though, it's gonna smell pretty bas while it's wet.

    As for stretching it, something like this might work. Not sure how well, but it's an option. You could wet it, and then wedge it in the hat as tight as it will go.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richmond Hill Phoenix
    In terms of shrinking a hat, I found that wearing it in the shower works wonders. On a hot summer day, hop in the shower with it on, and hold your head in the water for a few seconds to make sure it's wet all over.
    Why can't you just hold the cap under some water?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Sweater
    Why can't you just hold the cap under some water?
    I guess you could to that too... But I don't usually soak the cap completley. I guess the shower sprays the water more, which doesn't soak it. Thus decreasing the drying time.

    Also, I don't usually wet the beak very much.

  11. #11
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    I had a 5950 Cardinals Road hat that shrunk a bit after getting wet and drying while off my head. It was snug to begin with, and just didn't fit anymore.

    So I took a pocketknife to it (get a really sharp one) and I cut out the sweatband on the interior of the hat. I think I might have left the sweatband attached at the front (the width of the bill, I suppose) but can't remember. I do remember the hat fitting beautifully without a sweatband at all. It made the whole hat a bit floppy, but when on your head, you could not tell the difference.

    The "popping" sound posted above is actually done while wearing the hat. Take hold of the bill and pull forward and down on your head. You can actually pop a few of the stitches and make the hat a bit larger.

    www.ballcap.com make incredible hats from just about every era and every team, including minor league teams, negro league teams, brewery teams, etc.

    I have two of them, my 1944 St. Louis Browns Home hat being one of the best article of clothing I own.

    Their website mentions the tugging and the popping of stitches to gain a little wiggle room. I don't think you gain much... more like being able to compensate for longer hair like when it's time for a haircut. Don't go pulling the bill completely off, but tug on it little by little. You wil hear the stitches pop. Cooperstown Ballcap makes their hats with the "popable" stitches built in. It is probably standard for any top of the line cap.

    And this from a site who makes all hats 100% by hand, and 100% to order. They even can make you "in between" sizes... such as a 7 3/8 MINUS (slightly smaller than 7 3/8) or a 7 1/2 PLUS (slightly larger than 7 1/2)

    All the shrinking info seems good so far. Get it wet.... water better than sweat, I suppose, and keep it on while it dries completely.

    Shower with a cap on!!! Love it!
    Last edited by StanTheMan; 02-28-2007 at 02:48 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanTheMan
    Shower with a cap on!!! Love it!
    To tell you the truth, I have no idea why I did it. I must have heard it somewhere else on BBF... I'll try to find the thread. It is kind of funny when you think about it .

  13. #13
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    Friend of mine made a very good cap stretcher because he got tired of buying nice fitted wool caps and having them shrink on him after a while. Dude wears like an 8 or 8, big noggin.

    Called him up today but he's traveling on business and won't be home until later this week. He said he would take a photo and send it to me and I'll post it here. Basically he cut out two, horseshoe shaped blocks of wood and installed a turnbuckle between them. One horseshoe block is inside the front of the cap, the second is inside the back of the cap, and the turnbuckle is obviously in the middle between the two. Just get the cap wet and turn the buckle so exert force on the two horseshoe blocks, leave it overnight to dry, and the cap is stretched out in about 24 hours.

    Will post the photo when I get it.
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  14. #14
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    You don't need to cut your caps to stretch them. Either take them to a tack shop/"western" store and have them stretch it for you on a device that any reputable place has on site (used for cowboy hats), or, if they just look at you funny and refuse, steam your cap over a tea kettle (watch out for the steam, it's REALLY hot) and then wear it until it dries. Either of those should do the trick.
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  15. #15
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    Here's a photo of the hat-stretcher my buddy made. Pretty easy step-by-step instructions on how to make one if anyone is interested. PM me with an e-mail address and I'll shoot you the file with more photos.
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  16. #16
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    Bonds started using one of those a few years back. He's a size 9 now.
    "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

  17. #17
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    Pretty funny, Stan. Not sure if it will stretch 'em that much. But my buddy who fashioned this little instrument is an 8, and he always found it difficult to even find fitted caps for himself. So he certainly hated it when he'd spent good coin on a cap only to have it shrink up on him.
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  18. #18

    KapSized

    The problem with stretching caps is no more !! I have a product called the KapSizer that will soon be out! I designed it primarily to safely stretch one size fits all caps. But while researching I found it works great on all fitted as well including New Era 59-50. If interested get in touch drmdwkar@hotmail.com

  19. #19
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    sit down
    put the hat on your knee, bill facing away from you
    grab the back of your cap and tug it kinda hard, youll hear popping sounds like mentioned above
    it'll now be a little bigger...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantsrule View Post
    sit down
    put the hat on your knee, bill facing away from you
    grab the back of your cap and tug it kinda hard, youll hear popping sounds like mentioned above
    it'll now be a little bigger...
    Awesome, I just tried that with my new 7 1/4 Angels hat (7 3/8 is way too big) and it worked brilliantly. Thanks.

    Just a couple of slight popping sounds and it's good to go.
    GO ANGELS!!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantsrule View Post
    sit down
    put the hat on your knee, bill facing away from you
    grab the back of your cap and tug it kinda hard, youll hear popping sounds like mentioned above
    it'll now be a little bigger...
    I just tried it with my Milwaukee Braves cap that's been too small for about 25 years, and it worked a treat. Thanks, giantsrule, whoever you were.
    "Tactics were resorted to, unworthy of fair, manly players" - Brooklyn Eagle, June 12,1890

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