A fine, high quality
natural straw made from sisal, bleached or dyed to colour, comes in grades from one
through to five. Normally
reserved for expensive hats. Delicate in texture but resilient in wear, takes dye well.
Parasisal is made using two over two weave.
The same as above but using a one over one weave, less popular than parasisal and just a
Visca originates from Japan, it is one of the few man made straw materials to be used for
the weaving of hoods. It is often used for mass production hats as it is easily dyed
and blocked, similar in appearance to parasisal but it is coarser. This straw softens
easily and does not like to be mistreated, normally considered as a one season hat.
Very cool to wear, resilient to crushing and often used for men's hats,
Panama straw comes from Ecuador, however in recent years Chinese bleached palm fibre is
increasingly used to emulate the original. Normally a bleached finish, however it can be
dyed to pastel colors.
A stiff thick straw with a green coloring, normally left in its natural form, again cool
to look at and wear. Smells of cut grass.
This straw is thick and coarse and although can be dyed to colour, is usually seen in its
natural colour, golden brown. It is often used to make cheaper hats, it is hard wearing
and if stiffened, hard to the touch, it has the smell of corn. This straw is easy to shape
and difficult to sew.
Very similar to double wheat, made from the same basic straw but the strands are flatter,
also used for cheaper hats and dyed to colour. Both single and double wheat straws are
This is a very popular straw and comes in a number of forms including, natural, skin of
xian, twisted xian (or seagrass) and bleached. Often associated with beach or holiday hats
this useful straw can also be stiffened and be used in the production of mid quality hats.
In its natural condition it is soft and has an irregular light brown colour with a smell
of paper, a natural straw.
This hood is woven with a natural material similar to thick string. It is loosely woven
and naturally soft, it has to be varnished heavily in order to keep its shape after
blocking. When made into a hat it is light and cool to wear and allows air to pass easily
through the weave. It can be dyed but colors are pastel in shade.
This straw is woven from Japanese Toyo paper. Normally seen in cream or white although
sometimes dyed. Sold as a simple blocked shape this straw can be rolled and packed without
damage, ideal for use as a sun or holiday hat.
Comes in two forms, flat sheet and loosely woven hoods, made from Abaca fibre. (Musa
textilis) Both types need stiffening before it can be blocked. Sheet
sinamay hats are made from a number of layers and are blocked using the same method as
fabric covered hats, woven hoods are blocked using traditional metal pans.
This straw from Madagascar is widely use for the production of budget hats. Heavy to look
at it is a casual straw and much used for beach hats.