How to use straw braid machines and missing parts

Hi Millinery friends,

I hope someone can help me. A friend gave me two straw braid machines, Anita B and Dresdensia B made by Grossmann. The factory was taken over by nazis and it was wiped out 1945. My friend was given them in her turn with no explanation how to use them. I have searched through the internet of course but need to know more. The blog Hatstruck about straw braid machines would have been very helpful but the pictures don´t show and the links don´t work either. Any tips on where to find more information is really appreciated.

Dresdensia B at the top pictures, is a chainstitch machine and is missing a second feet that I think guides the straw braid so that they are overlapping when sewn together. I think it should be mounted in the hole on the plate on the presser foot. Can the machine be used without this “guide” or do I need to find one?  How would it be used without the guide? In one picture of a straw machine I saw a lifter at the right of the needle and I’m wondering if I need that too? I read about a thing that was used when the button of the crown is sewn, is that the thing that should be on the side? Below the thread tension there is a lever (red arrow), there is one on Anita B too, what is that for?

Anita B at the bottom, is a zig-zag machine and it does not have a presserfoot and I´m wondering if it can been used without it?  I read that Anita is used to sew wire to the edge of brims and crowns but what are then the guides (red arrows)? Could the machine also be used to join braids side by side?

I also wonder about needles. Does anyone know what needles would fit and should be used? Size? Does it have to be needles for industrial machines or can needles for domestic machines be used? I saw in a previous post that a person made the needles shorter so maybe I have to try that as well.

Except the missing feet I think the machines are in good condition for not being used for a very long time, but they need a very good cleaning. I feel responsible to make them work, get to know how to use them and pass this knowledge on.


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Hi Ninni

I have the opportunity to purchase a Dresdensia Straw machine but the instruction book is for an "Anita B" which appears to be a zig-zag machine. Have you been able to find the Instruction book for the Dresdensia, if so I wondered if you could supply each other the instructions? Also do you know what these machine are worth and anythng I should know about it?

The are beautifully made machines and solid as a rock. Can't wait to get to use one.

Thanking you


Hi Lorraine

Before you buy it, check that it has this second foot that guide the straw braids. My Dresdensia is missing that part and that seem to be quite common. This machine is unfortunaltely sold but you can see that it has the foot:

No, I'm sorry I have not found the instruction book for either Dresdensia or Anita B. I have watched the videos below and think I will be able to use the Dresdensia if I only get that foot. I guess you know about the articles by Marianne Jongkind in The Hatmagazine May 2020 #85 that explain how make hats on straw braid machines. One of them is the same as in her book. Hatlines 2020 autumn #71 has an article about cleaning and repairing hat  machines. I´m trying to look for Willcox&Gibbs manuals for their hat machines as I think they will be very similar but no luck so far.

If it has been hard to find information about Dresdensia it is even harder to find for Anita B. If you buy the machine and get the Anita B instructions I would be very happy if I could buy a copy or if you could share how it is used someway. I will be happy for anything.

I will keep looking for information and post if I find anything.

Yes, they are such nice machines and I wish you Good Luck with your aquisition!


Hi again, 

Just found a link to instruction for Dresdensia but it is in German.


Hi Ninni

I am having so much trouble finishing this reply. Immediately that I try to add a picture I crash this post and am unable to get any further, and lose all that I have written.  This is my third attempt and I was hoping to include photos for your benefit but it appears I can't.

I have an English copy of the Anita B sewing machine if you would like me to send it to you. I may have to do it by email as that is what caused my post to crash for the third time.

Thank you for your advise on the Dresdensia machine purchase.  I am now a very proud owner of a machine in the making. The package which was in the purchase included several extra spare parts, including feet with the second foot guide which I think you are looking for.

You asked about the second guide which attaches under the foot plate. It is an essential guide to ensure the braids are feeding into the machine at the precise position.  I think that the machine could possibly work without the second guide but probably not very successfully for sewing braids. I wonder if it might work to sew turned edge of brims or even sewing Petersham headbands. I have not tried this but I think it will be worth trying

My purchase included enough spare parts to (almost) make up 3 working Dresdensia Machines. I have spent several hours and lots of elbow grease removing surface rust, rebuilding the machines and replenishing the oil supply and am very pleased with the result. It has been a very satisfying exercise, as well as a costly one. I have learned so much about the machines.  All three machines are now working like a charm, chaining beautifully and I have mounted them on chopping boards as suggested by Marianne in the Hat Magazine and I have purchased new sewing machine motors ready to complete the process.  As I only need one machine,  I will be placing two of them on the market, as I am sure that other milliners will be happy to find a working Dresdensia machine, already set up with a motor and ready start sewing immediately after purchase. However, I am missing one of the larger guides which can be moved across the front of the machine by turning the round knob. Its Purpose is to slide it along to guide the braid from the hank to run under the two foot guides which allows a perfect width for sewing each row together evenly. I am also missing two small guides which slide into a small round hole in the larger guide to improve the feed of the braid making the process more accurate and speedy. Consequently, I am calling out for these parts in case someone has some spare parts laying around somewhere that I could purchase, or maybe I can find some very clever person who could manufacture a replica part.

I think I may be able to help you with the foot and guides and the instruction book for the Anita B, and I am hoping that with the enquiries you have been making, together, we might come up with a solution to my needs too. Including an English version of the Dresdnesia Machine for both of us. If I am emailing the Instruction Book, I could also send the photos that I intended to include here. I look forward to your reply.

Thanking you

Happy chaining


Lorraine Gill

Hi Lorraine,

Sorry I didn´t see your reply until now! I thought the system would make me aware of replies but it didn´t. I will add you as friend in Hat Academy email section and then I think we can email each other.



Hi Lorraine A few days ago I bought a Grossman Anita b straw braid sewing machine, there are some things I don't know about how Grossman Anita b works, I don't know if you can help me get Anita b's instruction book, I would be very grateful, Regards

Antonio Moral

Hi Antonio, Lorraine has been very gracious and sent you instruction book she has but I hope you understand French. Best Wishes, Elaine link below 

Anita%20B%20Instuction%20Book%20French.docx   Hi Antonio Lorraine has very graciously supplied the AnitaB instruction booklet but I hope you can read French. Let me know if you are having any difficulty accessing the file Best Wishes, Elaine 

Muchas gracias Elaine por tu ayuda, y también a Lorraine por su manual de instrucciones de Anita b, te estoy muy agradecido, espero algún día poder intercambiar información sobre la técnica de coser trenzas de paja con Lorraine y como armarlas las maquinas en tablas, nosotros hasta ahora cosíamos las trenzas de paja para hacer sombreros con nuestra maquina Willcox and Gibbs, puedes ver algunos de los sombreros que hacemos en nuestro instagram, ?hl 
Saludos, Antonio.

Good evening Ninni, I have problems with the needle of my Grossmann straw sewing machine Anita b, do you know if there is a specific needle for this machine, I had to cut a needle to accommodate it, but I imagine there has to be a specific needle for this machine Thanks in advance, Regards.

Hi Antonio,

I don't know if this is of help but the needle I have for my Dresdensia Straw Machine are a Grossmann brand 10 NADELN 64, No 110/5 (i am guessing that this is the needle size)

Ihave attempted to include a photo but with no success

Lorraine Gill

Hello Lorena, first of all I want to thank you for your help, I imagine that 110/5 means size 110 and that 5 needles come in the package, I need to know the model of the needle to be able to try it, if you add me as a friend in the post office section from Hat Academy, we could send emails and you could send me the photo of the envelope where the needles come, because it will contain the size and model of the needle, or a photo of the needle as you wish, I thank you very much for the manual in French of the anita machine b grossman although it does not mention anything about the needles I hope to find a manual that can talk about the needles since as I have told you I had to cut one because I needed a thinner and shorter needle so that it could enter well and I am worried that it could damage my Grossmann Anita b.

I'm curious how you mounted the machine to the tables, did your machines have the bottom screw to hold them down? In this case there is no problem or you had to make a new thread in your machine to put a new screw, I would like to know how you solved it. Regards.

Antonio Moral


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