The hats start life off as lowly fibers on a tree and when you see how much work it takes to make them into the crowning glories we see them as, you will wonder why they do not cost thousands instead of hundreds of dollars.
Sinamay is made from ABACA fibers which are harvested from the trucks of Musa Textilis trees. These trees look like wild banana trees and are native to the Philippines.
There are different qualities of sinamay. The cheapest is made into a pulp to make teabags and paper money. Woven sinamay comes in sheets/plies. The cheap tissue like hat you buy at a low end store is made of 1 ply and will feel very flimsy. Better hats like SCALA hats use multi plies to profuse hight quality hats.
Here are some photos from a sinamay hat factory which I recently visited.
Millinery love using sinamay because is is light and can be dyes into beautiful fashion colors.
Sheets with animal print.
These asymmetric brims will have an under brim of pleated netting.
The netting is sewn to the upper edge.
Self bows are oven used as trim on sinamay hats. The sinamay is cut into strips, the edges ironed.
Coq feathers are very popular for hat trims but they are expensive.
There is a difference between the American and British sinamay market. American ladies tend to shy away from indented crowns and also eat/west brims. They seem to have a had time with the stiffness of a classic sinamay.
They seem to prefer a softer crown like this style.
This 3 layered fascinator on a headband is also popular for the Derby.