How To Save a Hat

I recently made a big move from Old Town after living there for almost 18 years to far-off Rosemont. People laugh when I say I moved to the ‘burbs, but in my mind, I did. I mean I love the friendliness of the new neighborhood, but I will always miss Old Town. Plus, change just isn’t my thing.

When we moved into our first house by the Wilkes Street tunnel, we had no dogs and no kids. Since then we have had two of each. As I was unpacking boxes after living in our most recent house for more than 13 years, I uncovered things I hadn’t seen in ages. As neat and organized as I think I am, I still had too much stuff shoved under beds and in the top of closets — stuff that had not seen the light of day for a long time.

One thing I was happy to find was a stack of summer hats. Being in retail I tend to be lazy when the seasons change and just buy a new summer hat each year. For too long, I hadn’t bothered trying to locate last year’s hat. When I pulled out the dusty stack, many had seen better days.

I knew how expensive they were so I was convinced I could resurrect them! I immediately took them to the store and enlisted Madeline to help me find out if what I had seen on the internet was true. Can you save a squashed summer hat? Here is one trick we tried.

Pretty awful, right!?

The first step is to pop up the brim of the hat and apply steam all around. Madeline used the steamer that we had in the store but do not fear if you don’t own a steamer! You can also use steam from a pot of boiling water or an iron on the steam setting. Steam will loosen the fibers and help to bring the hat back to its original shape.

After steaming the brim you want to put steam inside of the hat’s crown. During this step make sure that the steamer or iron does not touch the straw. The steam should make the dents start to slowly pop out.

Next, while still applying steam you want to mold the hat back to its shape using your hands (be careful), constantly pulling the fibers apart.

Last and final step! Fold or roll up a towel and place the hat over top of it. This step will help the crown to further regain its shape. You can also use a bowl for this step. The website Madeline used did not specify how long to keep the item under the hat but she left it sit for about ten minutes.

There are a number of different ways to fix a squashed straw hat, this was just easiest to execute and seemed the most effective. Hopefully you find this helpful while in a crunch next time!

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