Reviving Your Style: How to Make a Floppy Hat Stiff Again

Sun’s Out, Brim Stays Up: Get That Hat Stiff Again.

Hats—particularly those with a wide brim made of straw or felt, like boonie hats or summer sun hats—often lose their shape over time. The once crisp silhouette becomes floppy, leaving us wishing for its original sharpness. Making the hat stiff again is within reach.

There are several techniques and treatments to help make a floppy hat stiff and restore the stiffness your hat deserves. Whether it’s a sprinkle of starch, a dab of specialized stiffeners, a gentle steam bath, or even the strategic placement of craft wire—there’s a solution tailored for every type of fabric and desired level of crispness.

How to Make a Floppy Hat Stiff Again

So, if your boonie, summer sun hat, or any wide brim straw or felt hat has lost its form, prepare for a transformation. With just a few simple steps, we’ll help you make the hat stiff again and turn that sagging brim into a statement of style once again.

Stiffening the Brim

The brim is crucial for both style and function—keeping it crisp is key. Here are effective ways to add stiffness.

  1. Spray Starch: Ideal for quick fixes on both straw and cloth hats—apply a generous amount of stiffening spray starch to the underside of the brim. Smooth it out evenly and let it dry completely, preferably shaped over a round object like a bowl to maintain the desired curve. Feel free to repeat for extra stiffness.
  2. Fabric Stiffener: Works well for cloth hats, providing a more permanent solution than spray starch. Mix a fabric stiffener solution according to the package instructions and brush it onto the underside of the brim. Shape it over a round object to dry.
  3. Millinery Wire: This method offers the most control and lasting stiffness, suitable for all types of floppy hats. Insert thin millinery wire into the edge of the brim, creating a channel with a blunt tool like a chopstick. Secure the ends and shape the brim as desired.
  4. Ironing: Particularly effective for straw hats, carefully iron the brim on a low setting with a pressing cloth. This method activates any latent stiffening agents in the weave. Just be cautious not to scorch the material.

Stiffening the Crown

Maintaining the crown’s shape is equally important for the overall look of your hat. Explore these options for added support.

  1. Lining: Sew in a stiffer lining fabric, such as buckram or interfacing, to the interior of the crown. This adds structure and helps the hat hold its shape.
  2. Millinery Stiffener: If the crown is made of fabric, apply a light coat of fabric stiffener to the inside, focusing on areas that need more support.

General Tips

Before diving in, here are some overarching guidelines to ensure success.

  • Always test any method on a hidden area of the hat first to ensure it doesn’t damage the material.
  • Work carefully and avoid over-stiffening, as it can make the hat uncomfortable to wear.
  • Consider the overall style you’re aiming for when choosing a stiffening method. A casual beach hat might not require the same rigidity as a formal sunhat.
  • If unsure about any technique, consulting a millinery professional for guidance is a good idea.

With these tips and techniques, making a floppy hat stiff again is within your grasp—ensuring it’s ready to make a style statement once again. Whether you’re gearing up for a summer adventure or simply breathing new life into an old favorite, the right approach will rejuvenate your cherished headwear.

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