Hat elastic - avoid pulling of material

Hello fellow milliners,

I have a questions regarding hat elastic on felt hats. Quite often I face the following problem when I make a cap or a hat that needs hat elastic for secure fit: 

When I sew the hat elastic to the insides of a felt hat, that I don’t want to stiffen too much, the moment I put the hat on you can see small dents on the outside from where the elastic is pulling the material. Obviously I’ve tried to make the elastic even longer/looser so that this doesn’t happen but that results in the hat sitting way too loose on the head and falls off very easily. A comb or hat pin is not an option either. 

Do you have any tips for me on how to avoid the dents from the elastic pulling? Do you attach the elastic differently? What are your secrets?

Thank you for any help you can give me. 

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.


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Hi Susi, Are you lining the hat plus adding the Petersham head band? If the elastic goes into the headband it should not dimple the felt. Blocked felt hats usually fit so snugly & they do not require the hat elastic but can understand you may need if very windy. The Petersham band on outside would hide any slight dents. If you are not stiffening, the hat is more prone to movement and shape change. Hope this is helpful 

Hi Elaine,

A happy New Year and a wonderful 2016 to you!

Since I’m new on this platform I somehow missed your reply until now. Thank you for your help.

The felt hats I usually have problems with are the ones that are not made to fit the head but sit on top of the head (similar to the french/american 30s or 40s felt styles).

I sew grosgrain/petersham into all my hats and line most of them but usually don't add a band to the outside since the styles don't allow for it. When you say “the elastic goes into the hatband” do you mean you don’t sew the elastic to the inside of the actual felt itself but to the hatband which sits inside? Do you then have a little trick to avoid the hatband from turning inside out (as it is only stitched on the bottom) when pulling the elastic over the head?

Thank you so much for looking into this. 

Best wishes



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