How do i shrink my New Era cap?View previous topic :: View next topic  
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Guy Gadbois
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Post Posted: 03/04/16 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Old thread with a lot of old answers but I'm hoping for help from some currently active users. You guys haven't steered me wrong yet. Wink

I'm currently looking at a 7 3/4 cap on eBay. It's an AC wool and I wear a 7 1/2: should it be possible to shrink it to a wearable size, or is going down two sizes asking too much even with wool?

Related question: The cap looks beat to hell but not ripped/horribly stained/moth eaten. Should a Nu-Cap be able to make it presentable if necessary? I saw you confirm something to this effect in another thread, Scott. Any thoughts?
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Scott8030
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Post Posted: 03/04/16 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Guy Gadbois wrote:
Old thread with a lot of old answers but I'm hoping for help from some currently active users. You guys haven't steered me wrong yet. Wink

I'm currently looking at a 7 3/4 cap on eBay. It's an AC wool and I wear a 7 1/2: should it be possible to shrink it to a wearable size, or is going down two sizes asking too much even with wool?

Related question: The cap looks beat to hell but not ripped/horribly stained/moth eaten. Should a Nu-Cap be able to make it presentable if necessary? I saw you confirm something to this effect in another thread, Scott. Any thoughts?


I've had some good success bringing the AC wools back to life with nu cap. I wouldn't be concerned about that.

The sizing question... Here is my experience. I wear 7 5/8 poly hats, but my preference is 7 3/4 when it comes to AC wool hats. At 7 3/4, they are only slightly big. I even have one 7 3/4 AC wool that fit me perfectly, like a 7 5/8. I have no trouble shrinking them down to my head size. Getting it down to a 7 1/2 might be a taller order, unless it is a smaller 7 3/4 to begin with.

If the hat looks beat up in the picture, there is a good chance it no longer fits like a 7 3/4 anymore.

It guess it really depends on how much you want the hat and how much it costs.
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Guy Gadbois
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Post Posted: 06/28/16 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I went ahead and tried the oven method. Three out of four success rate. Two complete successes, one partial success and one severely damaged cap.

I did 10 minutes at 300 degrees for the first three caps, 8 minutes at 300 for the last one. Put them on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil. All were made damp by holding them over steam. The first came out so perfect that I immediately had to try a few more. The second was also largely a success (size went down perfectly) but a patch on the crown burned and left a mark (came out with bleach though; luckily it was a white panel).

The third suffered color changes and was essentially transformed from a high crown to a low crown cap. Pictures below:









The lowering of the crown is actually not a problem for me (though it's actually too low for comfort on my head) but those who like a high crown would not be pleased. The yellow-green streaking OTOH is pretty brutal. As you can see, it mostly affected one side and the rear of the cap. I'm not sure if the oven had over-heated (it was the third I did in a row) or if the remnants of an anti-static spray I'd used on it over a week ago reacted poorly to the heat. I'm leaning towards the latter since the part of the other cap that burned had been sprayed with Nu-Cap re-shaper fluid shortly before heating.

I had one more oversized cap to shrink and it had enough problems already that I wasn't wearing it so I figured I had nothing to lose by shrinking it. I heated the oven from scratch this time and only left it in for 8 minutes. I don't think it shrank quite as much as the others but it also didn't suffer from any of the problems that affected the Mets cap pictured above. I had previously used dryer sheets to pull smoke smell out of this one and the smell came back with a vengeance while in the oven. The smell was pretty nasty as it cooked. Turned out well in the end though. Glad I gave the oven another try because now I'm pretty sure it was external factors that caused the problems I had with this batch.

A tip for those who don't live alone: wait until you have the house all to yourself for a few hours. The cap puts off a ton of smokey fumes when you open the oven and then again when you first pick the cap off the cookie sheet. The smell is rather harsh and I probably wouldn't do this method at all if you don't have a good kitchen exhaust fan.


Last edited by Guy Gadbois on 06/28/16 2:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Scott8030
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Post Posted: 06/28/16 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'm also nearly 100% sure the discoloration is from the spray you used. I have put dozens of hats in the oven to shrink and shape them and never had that happen. I've also not had a problem is any patches either, and I have experience with several different styles.

Glad you had some success with shrinking the hats. During the summer months I do not use the oven method, preferring instead to use the summer heat. Setting a hat on the dashboard of your car will yield similar results as the oven, especially if you are just looking to loosen the buckram to help shape the crown.
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Guy Gadbois
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Post Posted: 06/28/16 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Scott8030 wrote:
Glad you had some success with shrinking the hats. During the summer months I do not use the oven method, preferring instead to use the summer heat. Setting a hat on the dashboard of your car will yield similar results as the oven, especially if you are just looking to loosen the buckram to help shape the crown.


Helpful that you mentioned this, Scott. Another issue with the Mets cap: the poly separated from the buckram in a few areas. Not a big deal for me but something that others might need to be aware of.

And thanks for your thoughts on the cause of the discoloration. I won't be spaying anything on oversized caps in the future, that's for damned sure. Laughing
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Scott8030
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Post Posted: 06/28/16 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
[quote="Guy Gadbois"]

Helpful that you mentioned this, Scott. Another issue with the Mets cap: the poly separated from the buckram in a few areas. Not a big deal for me but something that others might need to be aware of./quote]

I know others have experienced the same thing before, but not something I have run into.

Using the oven has always proven effective for me in shaping and shrinking the hat. The heat also always the brim to be curved nicely.

However, more and more I am moving away from using the oven. I've found other methods. Unfortunately, like I said before, most assume it is during the warmer, summer months.
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jy2k2
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Post Posted: 07/19/16 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
do the plastic patches melt when you bake it in the oven?
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Scott8030
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Post Posted: 07/20/16 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
At 300 degrees, it is going to be close. I would keep an eye on it and not leave it in for more than 2-3 minutes at a time.
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Erie Warrior
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Post Posted: 07/20/16 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Personally, I have not had good luck with the oven. It trashed the buckram on two of my hats. I won't use that method again.
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Scott8030
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Post Posted: 07/20/16 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Erie Warrior wrote:
Personally, I have not had good luck with the oven. It trashed the buckram on two of my hats. I won't use that method again.


You're not the only one with that issue. I've had some small dents, but I was able to fix them. I've never had the buckram separate from the fabric or anything so extreme.

As I've said before, my preference is NOT to use the oven. That's why the summer is a great time to buy hats... the summer heat does the same thing, just takes a bit longer.
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DrBoston
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Post Posted: 09/26/16 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I bought a replacement Red Sox cap for my old ~2002-2003 100% wool cap that was nasty and dirty and worn out. The sizing was all messed up so the hat is MUCH too large, so I tried the wetting-and-oven-shrink method from earlier in this thread. First two times I got the whole cap wet except for the front panels/buckram. Seemed to shrink a bit when I put it on immediately after the oven, but then seemed to loosen back up when it cooled completely. The last time I did it, I got the front panels wet. After the bake, the crown was lowered a bit (which I liked as it was entirely too high before) but the size didn't really go down any more. I was hoping to take it down a whole size as is claimed, but only managed to *maybe* get it down a half size at most. Ended up rolling paper towels into the sweatband to make up the difference. It fits alright now but it's not perfect and I have to replace the paper towels every so often because all of the sweat they absorb smells after a while.

Last edited by DrBoston on 09/28/16 3:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Scott8030
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Post Posted: 09/26/16 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I've recently had more success shrinking hats in the oven when I do NOT wet the cap.

I don't know if I have shrunk a hat an entire size before using the oven. I wear a 7 5/8 and I have had success shrinking down a bigger 7 5/8, meaning it was between a 7 5/8 and a 7 3/4. I would not buy a 7 3/4 with the assumption I could shrink it a whole size. With a wool hat, yes, but not with a polyester.

If you really like your older, wool Sox hat you should just find a replacement for it on eBay. The wool hats are so much easier to re-size and shape than the polyester hats.

Also, getting made in the USA polyester makes a HUGE difference when it comes to breaking it in.
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DrBoston
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Post Posted: 09/28/16 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Scott8030 wrote:
I've recently had more success shrinking hats in the oven when I do NOT wet the cap.

I don't know if I have shrunk a hat an entire size before using the oven. I wear a 7 5/8 and I have had success shrinking down a bigger 7 5/8, meaning it was between a 7 5/8 and a 7 3/4. I would not buy a 7 3/4 with the assumption I could shrink it a whole size. With a wool hat, yes, but not with a polyester.

If you really like your older, wool Sox hat you should just find a replacement for it on eBay. The wool hats are so much easier to re-size and shape than the polyester hats.

Also, getting made in the USA polyester makes a HUGE difference when it comes to breaking it in.


How long and what temp did you do in the oven without wetting? I was doing 350 oF for 10 min at a time.

I liked the wool better but the poly doesn't bother me much...it's the sizing that's all weird now. I guess it serves me right for ordering it online instead of in a store to try it on Smile.

Which websites/stores have USA-made polys? I want to stay away from imported ones.
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Scott8030
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Post Posted: 09/28/16 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
DrBoston wrote:
Scott8030 wrote:
I've recently had more success shrinking hats in the oven when I do NOT wet the cap.

I don't know if I have shrunk a hat an entire size before using the oven. I wear a 7 5/8 and I have had success shrinking down a bigger 7 5/8, meaning it was between a 7 5/8 and a 7 3/4. I would not buy a 7 3/4 with the assumption I could shrink it a whole size. With a wool hat, yes, but not with a polyester.

If you really like your older, wool Sox hat you should just find a replacement for it on eBay. The wool hats are so much easier to re-size and shape than the polyester hats.

Also, getting made in the USA polyester makes a HUGE difference when it comes to breaking it in.


How long and what temp did you do in the oven without wetting? I was doing 350 oF for 10 min at a time.

I liked the wool better but the poly doesn't bother me much...it's the sizing that's all weird now. I guess it serves me right for ordering it online instead of in a store to try it on Smile.

Which websites/stores have USA-made polys? I want to stay away from imported ones.


300F for anywhere from 5-10 minutes. I sometimes I have to repeat the process 2-3 times. I've found some polys shrink better than others. Most of the shrinking comes after the first heating.

If you're looking for a USA made, polyester, Red Sox hat, you might want to try the local Lids store.
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DrBoston
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Post Posted: 09/29/16 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Scott8030 wrote:
DrBoston wrote:
Scott8030 wrote:
I've recently had more success shrinking hats in the oven when I do NOT wet the cap.

I don't know if I have shrunk a hat an entire size before using the oven. I wear a 7 5/8 and I have had success shrinking down a bigger 7 5/8, meaning it was between a 7 5/8 and a 7 3/4. I would not buy a 7 3/4 with the assumption I could shrink it a whole size. With a wool hat, yes, but not with a polyester.

If you really like your older, wool Sox hat you should just find a replacement for it on eBay. The wool hats are so much easier to re-size and shape than the polyester hats.

Also, getting made in the USA polyester makes a HUGE difference when it comes to breaking it in.


How long and what temp did you do in the oven without wetting? I was doing 350 oF for 10 min at a time.

I liked the wool better but the poly doesn't bother me much...it's the sizing that's all weird now. I guess it serves me right for ordering it online instead of in a store to try it on Smile.

Which websites/stores have USA-made polys? I want to stay away from imported ones.


300F for anywhere from 5-10 minutes. I sometimes I have to repeat the process 2-3 times. I've found some polys shrink better than others. Most of the shrinking comes after the first heating.

If you're looking for a USA made, polyester, Red Sox hat, you might want to try the local Lids store.


I may try it one more time without wetting it. It's already gone through ~3-4 cycles in the oven where I wet it and baked at 300 oF for 10 min (I was wrong above when I said 350). Although at this point I wonder if it's just not going to shrink any more?
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