Creation Process of Mexican Palm Leaf Hats
In a previous blog post, we went over and showed the process of weaving and creating a Panama hat. This time, we will be exploring how our Mexican Palm Leaf Hats are produced, and we hope you can come to understand the craftsmanship put into each and every one of our straw hats!
In this video, you can see the whole process summarized:
The very first step in creating our hats is actually the harvesting of the leaves. Slender, uncut palm shoots are cut from young trees and sold by the harvesters to palm dealers, who open and lay out the pale yellow inner leaves to be dried and sun bleached. These dried leaves are then sold to braiders, who are usually women, that take the leaves to weave at home. Once the leaves are carefully woven into braids, the braiders sell their handiwork at the market.
Our manufacturers buy these braids in bulk. Once the bundles arrive at the factory, they go through a quality check. The workers are sure to pick the best braids out of the batches by hand sorting through each bundle. The chosen braids are then flattened through rollers in preparation to be sewn into hats.
The sewing process starts with the crown, which is the base for any hat. Spun from the very center and top of the crown, the cap is created. It is shaped and the brim soon follows. The basic hat shape is finished once the edge of the brim is sealed with another thicker braid or folded over and sown in to avoid any annoying sharp ends.
With the basic hat created, it is time for the finishing touches. First, the hat is heat pressed in a mold to further define and help preserve the hat's shape. To ensure the palm leaves' bright color is not lost, a chalky sealing liquid is used to seal the hat. (Note: This seal can be washed off with water and leave the hat rougher and darker but still usable.) After they are fully sealed, the hats are left out to dry under the sun.
Now that the structure of the straw hat is done, its time to add the inner and outer bands. The inner band may be either leather or elastic, but both are sown in and secured. For the final step, the exterior hat band is glued or sown on, depending on the decorative hat band used. With the bands fully attached, the hat is completely finished!
These completed hats are carefully packed up and shipped to us. Once we receive the shipment, the hats are unloaded into our warehouse to be sorted and then brought to our store to be sold.
Need a Mexican Palm Leaf Hat?
Checkout our online Mexican hat selection at latinshand.com for starters! We offer carefully crafted hats at an excellent value. If you want a feel for the hats and happen to be in New Orleans, Louisiana, visit us at the French Quarter. We are right outside of the French Market where you can’t miss us!