When people think of Superfino Panama Hats, Montecristi, or Pile, they imagine the many famous people who wear them. Famous being the understatement to wealthy, as these fine-threaded Panama Hats come with a high price tag.
Did you know the skill and focus it takes to create these unique artisanal straw hats? The technique of making a Superfino Panama Hat is truly an art.
Read on to find out the extraordinary details of weaving Montecristi Panama Hats!
Weaving Superfino Panama Hats
The artisan crafts the Panama Hats completely by hand, a loom is never present during the weaving process. On average, each superfine hat has around an average of 4,000 weaves for every square inch.
I can only imagine how much precision and concentration goes into weaving these Panama Hats. During the process, the craftsperson is always in a complete state of meditation.
Simón Espinal is one of the greatest living weavers of today in Ecuador, a master weaver. In fact, only a very small group of people have the skills to own the title. Some of the best Panama Hats take up to 4,200 weaves and 5 months to make!
There are others that help finish these silky-smooth superfine Panama Hats. In short, the rest of the process continues with the rematador, cortador, apaleador, planchador and the blocker.
The craft of the Superfino is a collaborative effort. Soon, he or she passes the hat on to the rematador.
The rematador is the specialist weaver that completes the process of back-weaving the Panama Hat to seal the brim of the hat. Finally, this finishes the entire weaving process.
The cortador trims away the extra straws along the edges. That is he or she takes a razor blade and shaves away any burrs within the straw.
Sometimes these loose burrs contain discoloration, which is what the artisans call, hijos perdidos. Immediately, the lost straws must be carefully cut out and replaced to maintain consistency.
The Apaleador and The Planchador
The apaleador takes the Panama Hat and pounds it with a hardwood mallet to help fuse the fibers. While the planchador irons it to give it the strength and stiffness it needs to be worn.
Blocking Superfino Panama Hats
Blocking the hat is the final stage of making the Montecristi Superfino Panama Hat. To illustrate, the craftsperson sculpts the hat by hand and makes it into recognizable styles which include the fedora, optimo, and plantation, using wood bases, mallets, and other tools.
The Importance of Knowing the Craft of the Panama Hat
Undoubtedly, after reading this, it will be easy to remember and appreciate all of the detail and craft that goes into making these Superfino Panama Hats.
In light of travel restrictions in place worldwide, the New York Times is turning to photojournalists who can help transport you, virtually, to some of our planet’s most beautiful and intriguing places.
Visit their article A Glimpse Inside the Workshops of the World’s Finest Panama Hat Makers, to view the images of the process of these beautiful hats.
Would you like more information about these hats, or are you interested in purchasing one? reach out to us and we will be happy to discuss the options.