How to measure your head-size & head-sizing gadgets

Head-sizing is something really integral to millinery and cap making. But I totally get it's something really foreign and could be a little intimidating if you haven't used it before.

All you need is a tape measure to get going. And all you need is one measurement, around the circumference of your head.

Tape measures

Head measuring used to be way more complicated than this and there are totally geeky gadgets related to it. As a milliner I used countless hat blocks in different hat sizes, as each hat is made to the head size of the wearer. But imagine how many blocks you need in an ideal world to be able to accommodate everyone's head-sizes to make one particular style..

So you also have gadgets like a hat stretcher. Mine, I found on ebay, apparently it used to belong to a fire station in oldham, for stretching helmets. A LONG time ago I'm guessing, way before modern regs on safety gear.

Hat stretcher for altering the head size of felt hats

Hat stretchers open and increase/decrease in size by turning the handle and adjusting the hat size by small increments and are life savers to adjust to a certain particular size, save on buying multiple hat blocks anyway.

Head size increments Hat stretcher handle for altering the size

Other cool gadgets include hat formers. These are now even harder to find. Hat stretchers you will still find on ebay for around £200 a pop. But hat formers are few and far between and even pics are more sparse. A hat former was used to measure the SHAPE of a hat, mainly for top hats. 

They have little markers that go all the way around the head, which transcribes whatever weird oval shape your head has. This was then used to mould your hat to your particular shape.

A hat former in use approx 1810

As for CAPS luckily you only need the tape measure! The main thing to do is to follow these simple points:

  • -hold it horizontal across your forehead
  • -go all the way around the head & make sure to get the widest bit at the back of your head
  • -hold it tight, to get an EXACT measurement. Cm or inches, either can be used to work it out from the sizing table.

Using a tape measure around the head to get a head size Getting a head size with a tape measure

Haven't got a tape measure? Got you covered too. Tape measures available to order here & are sent out straight away.

Cap size chart

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