• Extraction of the buds or toquilla-straw wrappers.
• Treatment of the fiber.
• Sales of buds ready for weaving the hat.
• Hat weaving.
The straw hat consists of three parts: body, crown and brim. Weaving starts with the body and in in the center it has a circular shape. To weave the body and the brim no instrument is required. However, it is essential to use a block to shape the hat.
As mentioned previously, the artisan sends the semi-elaborated hat to the city where the hat is finished (remate). Once the hat is finished (remate) it is washed and perfumed, using the same process when treating the fiber. The crown of the hat is accommodated on a block with a leather headband around it. We then apply water and glue to allow shaping.
Finally, the hat is covered with a perfectly clean canvas blanket and then carefully ironed. The hat is then removed from the block, rinsed with sulfur to bleach and lastly, it is brushed. To give the desired shape, the hat is glued again and blocked as wanted. Model is subject to the creativity of the artisan.
The fineness of the hat is measured in grades (the higher the grade, the higher the fineness of the hat). Obviously, pricing is determined by the quality and the grade of the hat manufactured. The best known models include: Montecristi, Brisa, Cuenca Liso, Calado, Semicalado, Tropical, among others. Also there are a wide variety of colors for straw hats, such as white ivory, honey, different shades of cafes, colors cakes, among others.
Origin of straw hats is mistakenly attributed to Panama, therefore PANAMA HATS. This huge mistake was originated since the beginning of our century. Montecristi hats did not have a label indicating their real origin and Panama was the biggest importer and seller of those straw hats. This situation led to this confusion. The genuine and mistakenly called “Panama Hat“, which is marketed in over 30 countries worldwide, is a product of Ecuador and it hand woven in the town of Montecristi, province of Manabi. In EcuadorianHands.com is working to help regaining their true hats identity.
The (paja toquilla) straw hat becomes an ideal accessory for protection from the sun, allowing its owner to look more elegant. It markets with its natural color or dyed with bright colors.
Other products are made from toquilla straw, such as scarves, handbags, ornaments, headbands, necklaces, fans, dolls, bowls, baskets, animals typical of each area, and much more.