How to Reshape a Ladies Hat

Updated February 21, 2017

Over time, ladies' hats may become flattened, bent or out of shape. You might even need to resize a hat slightly by blocking it. Reshaping a lady's hat can even change the style somewhat. Finding a milliner's shop in today's day and age is nearly impossible, but you can do this reshaping at home with items you already own.

Measure the wearer's head to determine the desired finished size for the hat. Find a suitable hat form that matches this measurement, using either a traditional wig or hat form if you have one or a bowl if you do not. Wrap your hat form in cling film if necessary to protect it from moisture.

Remove the hat band or embellishments from the hat before reshaping. Exercise special care if you are working with glued on embellishments and plan to reuse them after you reshape the hat.

Spray the hat down thoroughly inside and out. Aim to evenly dampen the hat, not soak it.

Place the hat on the prepared mould. Use a steam iron to fit the hat to the mould, applying significant amounts of steam to mould the felt or straw. Work with the crown of the hat before reshaping the brim. Tie around the hat if necessary to hold it in place and retain the size of the hat on the mould.

Apply steam and shape the hat band by hand. Work on small sections of the hat band at a time.

Allow the hat to dry thoroughly. Add a new hat band and embellishments or replace the original ones.


Use plastic bags or newsprint paper to support sections of the hat where necessary. Try holding the hat over a pot of boiling water instead of using a steam iron.


Dye may bleed during the reshaping process.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Bowl or wig form
  • Steam iron
  • Spray bottle
  • Cling film
  • Natural twill tape
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About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.