Friday, April 1, 2016

Guest Post from International Partner: HATalk e-magazine

I’m really excited to have the opportunity to write a monthly guest blog post for the Red Hat Society again this year!

You already how much fun wearing a hat can be, but did you know that MAKING hats can be a blast, too? Well, I am the Editor of HATalk e-magazine (LINK: and the main purpose of our publication is to spread the joy of hat making.  Most people don’t know too much about how their hats are produced, or that with a little training they could start making amazing hats themselves, so, over the next few months, I’d like to take you ‘behind the scenes’ to show you exactly how hats are made.
To start with, let’s explore exactly what hats are made from. Hats can be made out of all kinds of materials, of course, but here are four of the most commonly used "foundation materials"...

For a nice cool summer hat, you can't really beat straw. For hundreds of years, both natural and synthetic straws have been woven into pre-formed hat shapes called hoods which can be shaped over wooden or metal hat blocks. Millinery straw hoods come in many different weaves and weights and each type has a different name, such as sisal, buntal, visca or panama. Straw can be dyed by hand or bought pre dyed in many different colors.

For a warm, winter hat, on the other hand, felt is always a winner. There are two types of felt used for making hats - fur felt and wool felt. Fur felt is made by compressing the fibers of animal fur while wool felt is made by compressing wool fibers. Fur felt is of a higher quality, meaning that it is also more expensive. Felt for hat making is sold in semi-formed hat shapes called hoods which can be shaped over wooden or metal hat blocks. Felt is easy to dye and can be found in a large variety of colors. Felt hoods are also available in many different textures, ranging from very smooth to very fluffy.

Sinamay is a natural material made from the fibers of the abaca plant, a member of the banana family which is native to the Philippines. While abaca has been used for rope making since the 1800s, it was only in the 1980s that people discovered how great it was for making hats. Since then, it has become one of the most popular hat making materials around as it is light, strong and durable. When dampened with steam, a sheet of sinamay can be pulled, stretched and shaped into almost any form you can imagine! Sinamay is sold by the yard (metre). It comes pre-stiffened and is available in a huge range of colors, patterns and texture.


Buckram is a fine cotton or linen fabric which is stiffened with paste or gum. It is sold in its natural color and can be cut into pattern pieces which are sewn together to create strong hat bases which can then be covered with more delicate fabrics like silk or satin.

To find out more about hat making materials and how to use them, subscribe to HATalk e-magazine today (LINK: )! Red Hat Society Members get an amazing 70% off the normal HATalk e-magazine subscription price. Sign up now (LINK: ) to get instant access to over 100 hat making downloads for just $19.95 a year!

Becky Weaver – HATalk Editor

Not a Member of the Red Hat Society?  There's only one, join the fun!

Ready to attend the greatest, most joyful event for women in the world?  Let this serve as your official invitation to Eat Dessert First at the Red Hat Society's 2016 Remember the a la Mode International Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

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