Making a straw hat that ladies of society were proud to wear differs from what we normally think when we hear the word straw hat. For most of us we have the Huck Finn image as he makes his way down the Mississippi. But in point of fact, straw hats were quite the rage and were definitely of a fine art. First I'm sharing a tidbit on making Tuscan Straw Hats, then I'm sharing an 1870 image of a variety of straw hats and their descriptions.
Straw-hat Mak'ing. Tuscan straw is prepared
by pulling the wheat while. the ear is in a milky .
state. The wheat is sown very close, so that the straw is thin and short. The straw is spread out upon the ground for three or four days in fine hot weather to dry. it is then tied up in bundles and stacked. to complete the drying. After remaining in the mow for about a month, it is removed to a meadow and spread out, that the do w, sun, and air may bleach it. During this process it IS frequently turned. The first bleaching being complete, the root and lower joint are pulled off, the straw is then Strained, and afterward fumignted with sulphur to com plt‘lie the process.
Source: Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary ©1881
1. Round hat of English straw, trimmed with a double bow of velvet, lace scarf and long tinted feathers flowing behind.
2. Bonnet of Belgian straw, ornamented with tinted roses and border of black velvet; the roses are veiled over with black lace. Necklace of lace, with one lappet fastened at the side by a rose.
3. Elegant round hat of maroon straw, trimmed with three shades of velvet; tuft of mixed feathers and a long lace scarf falling over the chignon,
4. Zerlina hat of maroon straw and crepe de chine; two ends edged with lace are fastened behind and fall over the chignon; a spray of flowers is placed as a diadem.
5. Printanier bonnet of mixed yellow and white straw, edged with mauve velvet and ornamented with elder flowers; strings of mauve gauze.
6. Visiting bonnet of gauffered straw, tiimmed with maroon crepe de chine, a velvet ruche, and bunoh of yellow flowers with tinted foliage.
7. Lauzan hat of fine English straw, trimmed with black velvet and gold braid; a long black feather and curved aigretto at the side.