The process began by taking lots of photos of the hat from many angles. In that way I could remember the shape and any trimming placement. I also purchased some new petersham ribbon to have on hand. Petersham is different from grosgrain ribbon. It has a scalloped edge on both sides, allowing you to steam curves into it easily. I steamed a curve into the new petersham sweatband so it would fit smoothly into the curve of the hat.
I removed the existing inner petersham ribbon sweatband, but left all the trimmings on the hat in place. Fortunately I didn’t need to remove anything else. Using my garment steamer, I steamed the inside of the hat thoroughly.
To protect my hair I placed a very glamorous piece of plastic wrap as a barrier between the steamed hat and me. From that point, it was a process of smoothing the crown. Gently coaxing it over my head, starting at the top and working my way down, did the trick. This was a slow and gentle process, as I didn’t want to risk tearing the damp felt. Then I left it on my head, smoothing it every now and then in case the wool decided to shrink. After about an hour, I took the hat off, stuffed it full of a towel to hold the shape and let it dry fully. Once dry – a perfect fit!
I attached the new petersham to the inside, since the crown was now larger. The exterior ribbon was stitched back in place, hiding the gap in the now too small ribbon in the folds of the hat. A perfectly-fitting hat of my dreams. A professional milliner would likely shudder at my method, but it worked for me and for my pocketbook. I’ve since done it for another hat, a woven 30s hat. Fortunately my risk-taking paid off and this big-headed gal now looks pretty swank!
I should add as a side note that I have since purchased a 24″ hat block. And it still isn’t big enough.