The thing you'll discover if you haven't already is that when you "find" clothing out in the wild, there's a good chance it's never perfect. Tees will have stains. Jackets require a button or two before being worn. And hats often look rough and misshapen to the proportions of whatever drawer it's sat in for the past two decades.
It doesn't take much to get them back to their former glory, however. Take those drawer-shaped hats, for instance, they're not as complicated as they seem. And for most, a few imperfections actually add to the character of them. But if you find yourself in a situation where the bill might be slightly more wonky than you'd like, try this method before tossing it out.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
- one misshapen hat bill
- one bucket of water
- an iron
- a few towels
- Aleene's Stuffen-Quick Fabric Spray (or any cheap high hold hairspray)
WHERE TO START
For some of your vintage hats, this process will just be a natural last step after washing them. Because to prep the bill to take on the high heat of an iron, you'll need to soak it first in clean water. (If you're also washing it, make sure you've rinsed out any soap or detergents you may have used prior to ironing.)
When it's good and soaked, set your iron to the highest possible setting it goes to without steam. Let it heat up and then iron it like you would a pair of jeans. Take note, however, of what material your hat it made out of. If it's wool, chill out a bit and read up on how to use irons on it. If it's that popular late-'80s early-'90s neon windbreaker material, avoid ironing at all costs. But if it's your standard cotton composite, then have at it.
Also, because you're not sure what material was used inside the bill, you'll want to use your best judgement on when it's done being flattened. Some of them are plastic, some are cardboard. Some are made from literal papers stacked on top of one another until some sort of rigidity took place. And if you're unsure at this point and don't want to burn a hole in the fabric, you can always place an old shirt or towel on top of before ironing.
Once the bill is nice and flat, stuff the hat with towels to shape it and then spray on the fabric stiffener or hairspray and set it out to dry. A few days worth of waiting and you'll have yourself a near perfectly shaped bill again.
TIPS & TRICKS
Don't: leave the iron on one spot for too long. It will burn.
Don't: do this with fragile or heat sensitive fabrics. (Maybe try wetting the bill and then setting a large book or heavy object on it for a few days instead.)
Do: disclose any fixes in the listing if you're reselling. It's the decent thing to do.
Do: find a local craft store to buy your materials from if you can.