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Thread: Stretching a Forage Cap

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Default Stretching a Forage Cap

    What's the best way to stretch a cap if it's just a tad too tight?
    I have been told to wet it, and the place it over a lid for a pot/pan, bowl, etc. or to just use a hat stretcher. But does any one have any other ideas?

    **Also - how wet should it be? Soaked?

    Any help will be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Western North Carolina


    I think that all depends on the size of the hat in question and the size of the head that's supposed to fit on. I generally wouldn't want to stretch a cap more than about 1/8th of an inch before I would worry about compromising the internal construction. I just bought a new Mike Stiles cap in 7 3/8, which almost fit on my 7 1/2 noggin, but was a little snug. I lightly wet my hand and dabbed the cap until I knew it was all just wet enough, then stuck a hat stretcher inside and started turning. I stopped when a heard a little 'groan' sound out of the wool (which, coincidentally was the "7 1/2" size mark indicated on a brass measure in the stretcher) and let it sit until dry. Now it fits like it was made for me.

    Hope my .02 cents was worth something to you.
    Caleb Miller
    26th NC

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Spring Hill, FL


    Procure a proper hat-stretcher, available in the $10-$20 range, from a variety of vendors to include Dirty Billy or modern hat companies. They are often called "hat jacks". Wet down your cap, tighten the screws on the adjustor and you'll be in good shape
    Ross L. Lamoreaux
    Tampa Bay History Center
    On Facebook at: Tampa Bay History Center Living History Programs

    "The simplest things, done well, can carry a huge impact" - Karin Timour, 2012

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012


    Many thanks, Gentlemen! I too am trying to make a 7 3/8 cap fit a 7 1/2 noggin!

    I wore it for most of the day yesterday and it's already fitting better. I will try your suggestions next.

    Brandon C.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Galion, Ohio


    I've found that to a certain degree caps are like brogans.......neither fits right until you spend a day in the rain. What is unknown is which part conforms most, the shoe or the foot/the head or the hat! HaHa!

    Member 5th Texas Co. A/1st NC Artillery. Disabled Viet Nam veteran, 1970. I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now!

  6. #6



    A "hat stretcher" will work for between 1/8 to 1/4 inch difference.

    Pretty much any thing over than, runs the risk of popping the rear seam.

    Being woolen fabric with the leather sweatband, forage caps can have a tendency to shrink due to sun and rain exposure. Any round shaped object of similar cap size can be used to stretch, but as shared a "hat stretcher" with its controlled expanding scr*w system gives one greater "control."

    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.


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