The Creation Process
Now the weaving of the hat can begin.
It starts with 4 interwoven strips that are gradually expanded with the addition of more to create the 'plantilla' (the circle that forms the top of the hat).
When the plantilla is big enough, it is placed on a wooden block. The weaver bends over and places his chest on top of the block, holding it in place as he continues to weave the hat. When the weaver then reaches the very outside of the brim he leaves five or six inches of excess straw around the edges.
The 'rematadora' then completes the brim by weaving the straws in towards the crown, in order to create a band around the outside.
The hat is then tightened by the 'azocador'.
After washing and bleaching, it’s over to the 'apaleador' to pound the hats with a wooden mallet, to soften them. This allows the hats their flexibility and ability to roll without snapping or cracking.