What is that Material?

Making hats and fascinators is a real art and sometimes we lose sight or understanding of the materials used. Milliners pride themselves on fabrics and trims.

Some materials have specific uses and some offer so much versatility you may see them used more than others.

For the majority, we might not know what some of the materials are so we have compiled a small guide to some of the most common types of materials used which you will see featured in hat listings.

One of the most popular hat making materials is Sinamay – a natural straw fabric made from abaca fibres. From the stalks of the abaca tree this fibre is strong and hard wearing. It comes in various grades and weaves which makes it a very versatile light fabric that is easily dyed, which means colour accuracy when making bespoke pieces.

Millinery Buckram is an open weave cotton fabric that is coated with a stiffener. When the fabric is wet it can be easily formed onto hat blocks then when dry it holds that shape. This material once formed can then be covered in all kinds of different materials such as silk.

Crinoline is a thin, lightly sized open weave cotton or synthetic material used as a support for fabric or straw covered hats. Originally made from horsehair this material is also used as backing for ribbon flowers.

Grosgrain – A corded ribbon of silk or rayon with edges that allow it to be swirled in a circle with a steam iron. The American term for British “Petersham ribbon”

Visca, Sisal, Rush, Xian – all types of straw but in different grades and weaves, all hard wearing and dyeable. Mainly used for hat bases but again easily trimmed with a variety of products.

Raffia is a straw from Madagascar and most widely used in casual pieces like beach hats.

Along with a few materials we might not all know, we also see a large amount of materials used that we do know, Leathers, silks, cotton and polyesters used in both bases and linings to trimmings.

Our milliners will be able to answer any questions you have in regards to materials and if you see a hat you love and want to know more about the materials used then let us know.

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