Definition of straw:
A natural or artificial heavy fiber used especially as fodder or as material for thatching, packing, or weaving, plaiting, or braiding, making baskets and hats. It has dried stalks of grain. Straw is used as fashion accessories.
Materials from which straw is made:
Straw is a vegetable substance or a synthetic imitation. Natural straw comes from dried stems of such grain as barley, oats, rye and wheat from stems and stalks of other plants from leaves and from bark. Some types of straw are of such fine quality that they are identified by the name of the locality where they are obtained. For example, leghorn straw is a fine, smooth braid plaited with thirteen strands of straw that is made from the upper part of wheat stalks grown near Livorno (called Leghorn in English), a town in Tuscany, Italy, Milan straw is made from the lower part of a type of wheat stalk, called pedal straw, grown near the city of Milan in Italy.
One of the important uses for straw is in headwear. Straw may be woven into bodies of hats a difficult process often done by people who live where the straw is grown. Alternatively straw may be made into narrow “straw braid” that is stitched together in a circular manner. Straw can also be used in handbags, particularly the basket type, in footwear, belts and as trim.
Imitations of normal straw can be made from a variety of manufactured materials such as cellophane, rayon, nylon, polypropylene and various plastics.
Different types of straw defined
There are many varieties of straw used in hat manufacturing, some of which you will be quite familiar with, below you will see a description of each of the most popular straws used. To produce fashion accessories straw is widely used.
Fiber from the leaf stems of the abaca plant that are coarse, creamy white to brown in color, strong and durable. Used to make hats.
A fine, lightweight, expensive straw with a dull finish that is woven in the shandung province of china. It is fashion accessories used as hat.
A vary light fiber, obtained from unopened palm leaf stems in the Philippines, that is used in better grades of straw hat braid.
Plant from Ecuador that is similar to the North American century plant. Fibers are removed from its leaves and used to make handbags.
Generic name, once a trademark, for thin transparent flim made of cellulose acetate. It is used in ribbon-sized strips to cover paper fibers imitating straw or used alone as synthetic straw or used alone as synthetic straw for hats, handbags etc. It is fashion accessories used as hand bag.
The dried outer covering of ears of corn that are sometimes woven into handbags and hats.
Straw made from any vegetable plant or tree grown in the soil e.g. bark, coconut fibers, grass, hemp or palm tree fibers.
Fiber from species of Madagascar palm used for making hats, bags and fabrics.
Fibers obtained from the stems of rice plants.
The stems of some aquatic plants that are round. They are dried and used in making headwear and handbags.
Fibrous veins from the leaves of the toquilla palm tree of Ecuador. Used to make panama hats.
A straw obtain from the tops of bleached wheat stems from the region of Tuscany in Italy. Often woven into lacelike patterns.
This type of straw is very similar in appearance to parasisal straw, visca is a man made straw and originates from Japan. You will usually find visca straw being used for low priced summer hats as its often mass produced and is easily styled and blocked.
A fine, high quality straw often used in place of sinamay for some of the most expensive hats and fascinators. A very delicate straw but durable. Parasisal straw is made using a two over two weave, it also takes dye well. Often used in millinery.
Panama straw originates from Ecuador, the straw is made from the plaited leaves of the Carludovica Palmata plant or locally known as Toquilla Palm. Panama straw is mostly used to produce mens summer hats and is handwoven in Ecuador.
Less popular than parasisal, sisal straw consists of a one over one weave and is just a little coarser. Not so popular in the millinery market but often used in mens summer hats as another high quality alternative to panama straw.
Sea grass Straw:
A natural straw which is very popular for beach hat production. Seagrass straw tends to be stiffened and usually left in its natural colour, a light brown.
A naturally soft straw, similar to a thick string. A lightweight straw which is cool to wear as the air easily passes through the weave. Often left in its natural colour although it can by dyed with pastel colours.
One of the most widely used straws today. An imation of panama straw, toyo is woven from Japanese toyo paper usually seen in white or cream but it of course can be dyed. Easily packed and rolled without damage making it a perfect straw to make hats for holiday wear.
A natural straw which is made of the finest buntal fiber which is extracted from buri palm tree. It is often used in millinery for both hats and fascinators. Easily dyed and blocked, a thick, coarse straw.