Panama Hats are not as popular as they were in the 1950/60 era but they are still hand made in the Traditional Fashion. We holidayed at Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico in 2007 and I was searching for basic panama hoods to bring home. Obviously no Tourist Stop-overs supply such but now know Becal is the Hat Capital of Mexico.
We saw Toquilla plants growing & thought this was for extracting the Juice for drinks offered in every hotel. The fibre from these plants is as strong & fine as South American Panamas. Descendants of the Maya climb down into moist caverns and weave these hats as in the caves the straw is more flexible and does not crack.
Watch this clip and you will appreciate the weavers skill. A Hat Sculpture alias "The Big Hat" is positioned in the Town square.
Although I have not made a panama hat recently they are always the Choice for a smart Casual hat especially for those who want full sun cover in our Tropical Climate. Instructions on Blocking included in upcoming Lesson about using Pari-sisals.
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