The Finishing Process
After each Panador Panama hat is woven, it goes through a meticulous method of finishing. The multi-step process softens the toquilla fibers and results in an uncompromising Panama hat that will retain its classic styling for years of use.
Washing and Bleaching
The hat is then washed individually. Some Panama hats are bleached, others are left in their raw hue, showing a natural straw coloring. One way is not necessarily preferable to the other in terms or wearability or longevity; it's simply a matter of personal taste.
Some specialty Panama hats, such as our exclusive Black Panama hat, are dyed.
Panama hats are dried in the sun, and then ironed by hand to begin shaping them and provide enhanced form to the toquilla straw.
Each hat is then further shaped through the light pounding a wooden mallet, which also softens the fibers and brings out the straw's natural suppleness.
The hat is then blocked and sized. This is rarely done by hand. Instead, a large press is used to give the straw hat its final form and shape, and each hat must be pressed several times to permanently imprint the desired shape.
Few Ecuadorian villages have these blocks and presses. That's one reason why most Panama hats are finished in Cuenca.
Finally, the Panama hat's brim is trimmed and its edges sewn, and the entire hat is lacquered to ensure the hat maintains its shape. The very last step is to sew the outer band into place.
A Quality Panama Hat From The Panador Hat Company™
The way a hat is finished is one indication of its quality. The fineness of the weave is another. But even the very best superfino weave will quickly lose its form if improperly finished.
Before purchasing any Panama hat, make sure you understand how it has been finished, and where. And be assured that some of the finest, most beautiful, and most durable Panama hats are made in Cuenca.