How to make your hat smaller with 2 easy methods

All items are described as accurately as possible and where available, linked in text. "Shop the look" sliders display exact and similar items. These are affiliates where I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase. See full disclaimer here. Thanks for your support!

Make your hat smaller and fit snug against your head to prevent it away with this is easy tutorial.

I’ve avoided buying sun hats for a long time because every hat I try always seems to be too big.

Some come with ribbon or cord wrapped around the crown in a way that allows you to tighten or loosen it to your fit.

But many styles aren’t adjustable and oftentimes the ribbon is glued on or fastened in a purely decorative way.

I’ve finally figured out how to make your hat smaller for the perfect fit without having to use an unsightly chin strap.

Here are two different methods depending on the style you prefer. The first method is with a visible cord. The second is with hidden hat inserts.

Make your hat smaller with A VISIBLE CORD

DIY how to make your hat smaller with a decorative cord
  1. Secure one end of the cord with a bobby pin
  2. Thread bobby pin into the hat at the crown area (go above where the inner hat tape is sewn in)
  3. Bring the bobby pin back through the next hole in the weave
  4. Pull the cord all the way through and repeat around the crown (I recommend doing this at least 4 times to make a full circle)
  5. You can repeat and go around the crown twice if you wish (which is what I did for mine)
  6. Tie the ends of the cord together and try it on to get the right tightness before tying in a bow to fasten

I chose to go with a subtle cord I found in Kmart that has an exact colour match to the hat but you can certainly try a decorative cord in different colours to make it more fun.

You can even use a cord to insert loops around the hat and thread ribbon through to elevate the style and completely transform the hat.

Make your hat smaller with HIDDEN HAT INSERTS

DIY how to make your hat smaller with foam inserts

This second method is great because you can hide the hat inserts and maintain the original style of the hat.

The hardest part about this method is finding actual hat inserts.

I have only ever been able to find them online and didn’t end up buying them as I thought the price along with shipping was unreasonable for what it is.

Then I found some leftover rubber cushioning tape that I got from Bunnings for a random project awhile back and it worked very well as an alternative. So if you’re cheap like me, get yourself down to Bunnings and pick up a snag while you’re at it.

Flip the hat tape over and stick on a small strip of the rubber cushioning tape. You can use a longer strip if you need, or multiple shorter strips…there are no rules!

Try not to be careless like me and flatten out the hat tape first to avoid sticking over any folds.

The adhesive is not super sticky so I ended up using double-sided tape which helps it to stick better.

You can also sew the strip onto the hat tape if you feel the need to.

Felt hat

If you have a felt hat, you can try steaming it to shrink it. For me, this made a small difference, but not enough for it to fit my head snugly.

Luckily I had plenty of leftover rubber cushioning tape to use on my felt hat also (which I will wear and post about when winter comes around).


  • You can make your hat smaller by tying a cord around the crown of the hat externally.
  • You can also make your hat smaller by sticking hat inserts on the hat tape internally, to hide these adjustments.
  • Rubber cushioning tape is a good substitute for hat inserts if you can’t find actual hat inserts.
  • You can try steaming felt hats, which will shrink it to an extent.

Let me know if you have any questions or found this tutorial useful.

I’ve also got a post on outfit inspiration for styling a wide brim floppy sun hat if you need ideas on how to wear your now perfect-fitting hat.


How to temporarily shorten your maxi dresses
How to remove black marks from white shoes
Outfit inspiration for styling a wide brim floppy straw hat for summer
Outfit inspiration for styling the little white dress


** Linking up with similar fashion and style blogs listed here **

Leave a comment