Instructions for Weaving Straw Hats

Updated February 21, 2017

Straw hats are useful and delightful pieces of apparel that keep the sun from your eyes and smell like summer. The latter is especially true when you weave straw hats from straw that's been cut from a field, rather than purchased in a store. It's a fun process and you will be pleased with the result: a lovely straw hat.

Acquire rye straw. You can do this by buying the straw directly from a farmer or by cutting it in a field yourself (with permission). Look for nine, long and even stalks of rye straw that are as close to resembling each other in colour and other regards as possible.

Allow the straw to dry before continuing. Hang the straw in a cool, dry place for a few days to a week.

Place the straw in a basin and pour water over the strands until they are submerged. Let the straw soak overnight.

Take the straw from the basin and arrange each stalk flat on the table. Tape or bind the ends with string, then separate the straw into two sections: five straws on the left and four straws on the right. Try to separate each straw from the other while keeping the two sections apart. It should look like an inverted "V".

Pick up the straw that's on the far left and bend it over so that it lays on top of the two straws beside it. Pass it beneath the last two straws on the left and let it rest in the middle.

Go to the second pile, or the right leg of the inverted "V", and pick up the straw on the left. Pass it over the one beside it and tuck it beneath the last two straws.

Pick up the straw on the left of the left section and pass it over the next two stalks beside it, then under the two remaining straws on the left. Pick up the straw on the left in the right section and pass it over the straw beside it and then over the two remaining straws. Continue on weaving the two sections together until you have a length of flat, woven straw that's nearly 300 inches long. Try to keep your weaving neat and even, but not too tight. Tie off the ends once you reach the bottom of the straws.

Soak the straw in water for a little while before continuing.

Lay the woven straw flat on a work table and coil one end of the straw into a flat circle. Use a curved upholstery needle threaded with double twine to sew the circle together so that it retains its shape. Continue sewing the woven straw around the circle until you make a larger and larger circle. This will be the crown of the straw hat.

Allow the woven straw to curve downwards as you create the side bands of the straw hat. Fit the hat as you sew it to make sure you are making it the right size.

Sew the woven straw at a right angle to create the brim of the straw hat. It is up to you how you wish to shape it. You can make the brim even all the way around or slightly wider at the front.

Tuck up any ends toward the inside of the straw hat and sew them up and from sight. Finish your straw hat by tying or sewing on a ribbon band.

Things You'll Need

  • Rye straw
  • Large basin
  • Water
  • Upholstery needle (curved)
  • Double-twin string
  • Ribbon
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About the Author

Marjorie Gilbert is a freelance writer and published author. An avid researcher, Gilbert has created an Empire gown (circa 1795 to 1805) from scratch, including drafting the gown's patterns by hand.