What is a Panama Hat? – El Galpon

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What is a Panama Hat?

An authentic Panama hat is completely hand-made, in Ecuador, from the Toquilla Palm. It is woven in a continuous spiral from the center of the hat out to the edge of the brim, then shaped to the desired style.Panama hats are now available in a wide range of colors and styles for both men and women. Because they are hand-made, each one is a unique work of art.

A Hat has to have 4 characteristics for it to be called a Panama Hat.

  1. Completely Hand Made
  2. Made from Toquilla Palm
  3. Concentric Weaving
  4. Has to be made in Ecuador

Aside from the construction of the hat a Panama Hat can be men or womens, any color or size.

Each Panama Hat is unique. Because of their noble material and hand made process no two Hats are exactly the same.

Panama Hats are great for Tropical weather because they have no nylon and since the Toquilla Palm is a natural fiber the hat breathes and maintains the head cool under the sun.


How Panama Hats are made?

  1. First a helmet has to be hand woven out of Toquilla Palm. If the helmet is going to have a specific patterns with different colors then the Palm is previously dyed or bleached before the helmet is woven.
  2. Then they hammered with a mallot. So, that the center of the helmet is soft.
  3. The helmet will be iron branded on the interior.
  4. Once the helmet is made, then it will be dyed or bleached if it doesn’t have a specific pattern or if the color will remain natural. Depending of the specific color is the length of time the helmets will be in baths of dye or bleach.
  5. They are later laid out in the sun for drying. The color will vary because of the weather conditions as well.
  6. Once dried they are hammered once more.
  7. Then they are submerged in starch.
  8. Then they are pressed in a metal and steam form to shape into a specific model.
  9. Now, a seamstress will apply the interior and, label and exterior band
  10. They are now pressed one more time in the steam form.
  11. Ready to Ship!