Different countries and regions produce different kinds of straw and specialise in different weaves and craftsmanship. The Sauce works with various China based factories to manufacture custom made straw hats and bags; seagrass, raffia, rush, wheat and paper straw are the most commonly used straws from this region.
Hat bodies are woven by hand and are then heat blocked with specific moulds, both processes are done peice by peice. The heat blocking process defines the style and size of each hat by using heated aluminium hat blocking machines which produce steam to form the shape of each hat. Hat blocks can be customised based on specific measurements, silhouettes and sizes. Once the hat bodies have been formed customised embellishments can be applied.
Straw bag bodies are woven by hand and are then sewn with lining, handles and embellished. Straw bags are custom made to specific dimensions, shapes and materials. Contrasting leather, rope and suede handles and trims can be applied.
SEAGRASS is the most cost effective and commonly used straw. It’s a natural fibre with a rustic finish and varies in colour with light shades of green and brown hues and can be dyed to match to requested pantones. Seagrass is quite rigid because it is heavily dried which works well for fedora hats and wide brimmed surf and fishing hats.
RAFFIA is one of the more expensive straws and has a crushable and relaxed rustic feel that won’t crack when dry like seagrass. Raffia is generally hand woven in a crochet style knit, the tightness of the weave can be customised – the tighter the weave the more expensive, most high end hats and bags are made with tightly woven raffia. Wire can be added to the inside edge of the brim to add shape and form and the wearer can manipulate the brim into a cowboy shape or flat brim.
PAPER STRAW has a softer hand feel compared to other natural straw fibres and can be easily dyed to match pantone colours. Paper straw is more pliable than seagrass and can be moulded into a slouchy unconstructed sun hat or cowboy hat or heat pressed into a more structured fedora fit.
PAPER BRAID is a tightly woven machine stitched horizontal weave that has a different appearance to standard paper straw. It’s soft and flexible nature works well for fedora hats, wide brim sun hats and cowboy hats. Wire can also be added to the inside edge of the brim to add shape and form. Paper braid can be dyed to match to requested pantones and contrasting weave/colours can be woven through the crown to create a self-fabric crown band, stripes and colour blocking.
JUTE is a sustainable natural material similar to thick string which is loosely woven into a light fabric. It has a similar appearance to hessian with a softer weave and hand feel creating an ideal surface for print treatments.
WHEAT STRAW is thick and coarse with a slight gloss finish and can be dyed to match to various colours. Wheat straw is one of the most cost effective straws, it’s hard wearing when stiffened and is ideal for structured silhouettes such as boater hats, wide brimmed fedora hats and beach bags.
RUSH STRAW is a thick stiff straw similar to seagrass and is used to manufacture inexpensive straw sun hats. Hats made from rush straw are rigid and have pre-shaped crowns and brims.