Cotton hat stretches out of shape

I was wondering if someone could help me…

I knit the Topi hat from the current issue of Knitty. It fits juuuust right (maybe a tad loose) after washing and drying (although I’m using a tencel blend so I’m not supposed to put it in the dryer!).

After a few hours of use, it starts to sag and won’t stay on my head very well.

Could I sew some elastic or something in there to help hold it into place? If so I have no idea how to do that, anyone know of any instructions?

I’m making another Topi for my son, using Bamboo yarn. Should I just plan on sewing elastic in there? Or since I know ahead of time I might have this problem, is there something I can do? Like, carry elastic along with the yarn or something?

Hi, I am not an expert by any means but my understanding is that anything cotton stretches. Particularly if there isn’t a wool blend in there. You could sew an elastic but I think that you will still see stretching elsewhere. Maybe try knitting the hat with a wool/cotton blend.

The reason for this, in case you’re wondering, is that wool fibers have more “memory” - They like to sit the way you put them when you’re knitting. That’s why wool ribbing will always pull in more than cotton ribbing. Cotton fibers lack the memory that wool has and are happy to sit any gosh danged way you put them - even if it’s not the way you want them to sit. Thus, cotton stretches.


So, you guys are saying that getting some elastic and carrying it along while knitting would not help the issue?

Sure it would! At least, in theory. I think there is even ‘invisible’ elastic thread that might work for this hat you’ve already made. I think you could just thread a needle and run it through your stitches on the inside - maybe 2-3 rows, about one-quarter to a half inch between the rows? It would be worth a shot.

And then for a new hat, you could carry the elastic along with the yarn either for the entire hat or just along the bottom half.


I was going to suggest sewing elastic thread on the inside, too, but since I’ve never done it, I don’t know of any special techniques. It would certainly be worth a shot, though.

:thinking: Couldn’t you ever carry the elastic thread along with your knitting, like doubling up on yarn? I’d think it would be small enough not to cause any change in gauge.

Of course, I don’t know if it would show up. The stuff I’m thinking of is clear. Maybe that’s not elastic thread, though.