How to Shrink or Stretch Beanies, Headbands, Skull-caps etc - Casualbox Japan Blog

Posted by Tari Ina on

tim and eric small hat

Do you have that one accessory in your closet that you just don't want to let go of but it's stretched so bad? Or maybe you bought the perfect headband, but it squeezes the life out of you - Don't worry, there are ways to fix this! Read on...

Problem: Overstretched Headwear

My beanie is so stretched out I could probably swaddle my pet bulldog in it - Help!

Okay, maybe not that bad. Sounds pretty cute though!

But in the case where your beloved beanie has stretched to timbuktu and you want to bring it back to life, here are some pointers!

Firstly, you need to be careful. What material is your beanie made from? We will write advice on material groups. Look for yours below...

Cotton, Acrylic and Wool:

Run a short cycle in your washing machine with hot water. This should loosen up the fibers in your head-wear, making it malleable for reshaping. Then pop it into the dryer to medium-high setting until dry. 

I would recommend the medium setting if your beanie doesn't need much shrinking, and you would like to check the size of it after the first tumble dry.


Linen doesn't tend to stretch, but by some weird occurence it does - Just put it in the wash and it should shrink up a bit. White linen at 60 degrees celcius (140F), coloured linen at 40 degrees celcius (104F). Roll up in a towel and air dry.

Organic Cotton:

Same as standard cotton but please wash your beanie, headband or skull-cap by hand. Organic Cotton is also not treated, so do not put it in the dryer on high heat. If necessary, put your dryer on a delicate cycle.


Silk tends to retain shape, is very strong and does not stretch easily. Stretched out silk could actually be a manufacturing problem, so contact the store first before trying this method. Also, remember Silk is a beautiful cloth that should be treated as such - Try not to be rough with your silk garments. But if you really wish to tighten the silk a little bit, leave it in water for a long time. This causes the silk to tighten up. Do not leave your silk garnments out to dry in a sunny area, it can cause some discolouration.

Problem: Shrunken Beanie or Headband

Help! My headband is squeezing the life out of me and my eyes are popping like that opening scene in Total Recall!

Okay you probably need to go to the hospital after taking off your headband.

Anyways, here is a few methods on how to stretch your headband or beanie...

The classic break the head-wear in method

As many people do, just wearing in the beanie, headband or skull-cap will slowly stretch the fabric for a perfect fit. This is the best method for wool.

Wrap item around a circular object

I have had a few customers and friends try this nifty method - Melon stretching. Or any circular object that is a similar size to your head! Place your head-wear around the object for about 12 hours. After time's up, I believe your beanie should have stretched some. Be careful not to place it on something that's too big, as you may over stretch it!

Stretch then set

After a wash, place the item after gently towel drying it on some parchment paper. While slightly moist, stretch the head-wear gently to the size you wish and place heavy objects so it stays in place until dry. Make sure you use both hands and equal strength so you do not cause any warping in the material.

Materials that do not agree with stretching are Linen and Silk. Linen tends to shrink after the first wash, so always check the size before purchase. Silk on the other hand tends to keep shape, so the size it had arrived in will stay as such.

If any of the items you are dealing with are tie-dye, be careful as the colours do and will run. This is at your own discretion, as with trying any of the previously mentioned methods. 

Last but not least - Always check the size of the beanie, skull-cap, headband, bandana etc before purchase. This will save you the hassle of trying these methods. And always hand wash and drip dry!

If you have any other questions, feel free to comment below or message!



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