Your hat will give back to you what you give to it, so take good care of your special chapeau!
Stains on Felt Hats
First try to sand your beauty with a really fine sandpaper (80 to 120 grade), depending on the level of damage.
If your stain is stain is stubborn, apply steam and try to pick it out like a blackhead, using a straight pin or a soft brush. Think of this as a facial of your hat.
Stains on Cut-and-Sew Hats
Dirty cut-and-sew hats should be taken to the dry cleaners, especially if the hats are made with buckram.
You can hand-wash hats without buckram or the silk scarf you made for the sun hat yourself.
However, it's important to let all cut-and-sew hats dry in their own time.
Drying your chapeaux in the dryer could shrink them, wrinkle the fabric near the seams, or fade the brilliant colors over time.
Upkeep for All Hats
It's also a good idea to dust your hat occasionally with a soft brush.
For darker colors, a lint brush or even double-sided tape works wonders!
To Make Your Hat's Head Size Smaller
In case you've made yourself a new hat and your friend who has a pea-head keeps eying your original, you have a few options:
You can wet the grosgrain ribbon and it will dry tighter overnight. For faster results and a smaller head size, stick the hat near the radiator.
You can pinch and hand-tack the grosgrain ribbon at both the left center and right center to tighten the ribbon.
If you're OCD and can't sleep at night unless everything is your idea of perfect, you can sew in another grosgrain ribbon atop the existing one for a sleek, clean look.
To Make Your Hat's Head Size Bigger
If you want to stretch your hat up to 3/4" (2cm), do it yourself with a little patience and steam.
Apply steam around the rope line several times non-stop. Do not be afraid, as steam can never damage a felt hat (unless it's a card-carrying member of your vintage collection).
Once you've loosened up the fibers, hand-stretch your hat by carefully pulling it outward from all angles so as not to warp its shape. Don't be too rough though; you wouldn't want to have to make it smaller if you stretched it too big.
Keeping It's Shape
If your felt feels limp after a season, simply pull out that cap of spray sizing you bought when you made it and stiffen that sucker back up again.
If your C.F.F. sits on your hat in the back of your boyfriend's 'Vette (which is a terrible place to store your hat, by the way), all it takes is some steam and gentle hand-blocking.
Steam will soften the fibers and immediately bring it back to life.
You'll have those creases fixed quicker than you can spread warm butter on Grandma's Saturday morning biscuits!
Don't ever wear your hat in the rain - unless it's a rain hat of course!
If it starts to rain while you're trotting about, take off your hat quickly; otherwise you'll ruin its shape.
Once you get home, you can dry it on low with your blow dryer. But you don't want it so dry that it becomes brittle either - that's just as bad as leaving it in the sun!
A hat box is a wise investment. It only takes a few moments of your time to pack up your hat, but this will ensure a lifetime of wear. You can even stack hats with similar crowns on top of each other to maximize your storage space.
However, if your chapeau is in season and you know you'll be wearing it frequently, you can hang it on a hook or coat rack for safekeeping and easy access.
If you can't even find the time to acquire a hat box, you can at least stuff the crown with paper and store the hat in a bag to protect it from the elements and from being your mini-Maltese's next chew toy.
If you're on tour with the band, cruising in Cozumel, or any place you want to take your hat off, be sure to put your hat on a soft surface when possible.
If the brim of your hats slants down, make sure you let the slant hang off the surface when you set down the hat. Placing it on a hard surface will warp the brim over time.