Why don't hats fit me? Size is just a number; shape is important, too. July 02 2015

Size is important. So is shape.

Most heads are oval shaped, so most hats are designed for oval heads, slightly egg-shaped. The rest are round or an elongated oval, so many commercial hats don't fit well, because, for the same circumference, it will feel tight on the sides of a round head and tight in the front or back on an elongated-oval head. Likewise, for a larger size, there may be gaps in the front or sides.

If you notice that your hats fit uncomfortably for a size that should fit you, find out what shape your head is by bowing forward and asking a friend to tell you. Knowing that, I can recommend certain styles or modify an existing style to fit better. Generally, for example, bowlers and newsboys favor round heads and fedoras and flat caps favor elongated heads, but I can modify the shape.

A third component may be the dome size of a head which neither the circumference nor the shape takes into account. In the distant past hat makers created complex sizing machines to fine tune patterns. However, there's an easier way using a flexible, curved ruler, such as this woodworking tool shown on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1C3uaZc

Place the curved ruler around your head snugly as done to find the circumference (just above the ears and across the forehead) and then place the ruler onto a large piece of white paper and trace the inside dimension. Then position the ruler from the middle of the forehead over the top of the head back down to the nape of the neck and trace that curve onto the blank sheet of paper. Make a copy for yourself and send me the drawings either by email or regular mail. (cherrypat@maine.rr.com or hats@cherrypat.com)

From those drawings and Pi, a hatband and crown height can be fashioned to suit.