How to Stretch Akubra Hats

Updated March 23, 2017

Akubra, a stalwart in the hat business for more than a century, and is well known for making traditional Australian hats. These felt caps come in a variety of styles and have a reputation for durability. However, improper care can result in undesirable shrinkage. When purchasing an Akubra hat, triple-check the fit; if it's tight, consider a larger size. And remember that preventive maintenance is easier than stretching a shrunken hat.

Heat a kettle of water, or set up your portable steamer .

Expose the hat to the steam, taking care not to wet the leather band on the interior of the crown. (If this leather gets wet, it will shrink as it dries.)

Allow the hat to cool for easy handling. Working on a clean, flat surface, coax the warm, moistened felt into the desired shape by hand.

Allow the hat to air dry on a hat rack.

Purchase a sturdy wooden hat stretcher. (Check your hat supplier for available units.)

Insert the stretcher into the hat, and expand the hat by giving it two to three turns. If needed, apply steam to the felt.

Allow the hat to sit overnight. Remove the stretcher, and wear the hat. The heat and moisture of your head will help reduce shrinkage. To maintain its shape, store your hat on the stretcher weekly.


Use caution when heating and stretching the hat. Never use a dryer, iron, fireplace or blow dryer to remove water from your hat; all of these devices will cause nearly irreversible shrinkage. Do not overstretch your hat, which can weaken the felt and cause shape distortion, dull spots and holes.

Things You'll Need

  • Tea kettle or steamer
  • Hat rack
  • Hat stretcher (optional)
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About the Author

Sylvia Cini has written informative articles for parents and educators since 2009. Her articles appear on various websites. Cini has worked as a mentor, grief counselor, tutor, recreational leader and school volunteer coordinator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Clark University of Worcester, Massachusetts.