Veronica Main MBE - Hat Plaiter and Hat industry historian
About Veronica Main MBE - Hat Plaiter and Hat industry historian
Traditional Straw boater hat
Making the 25 yards (23 metres) of straw plait required was only part of a much longer hat making process.
The plaiting straws were prepared into short, evenly matched straws from three sheaves of wheat straw. Then the bundles of plaiting straws were taken to Luton, Bedfordshire where they were bleached and dyed. Next I began work to produce the traditional pattern of Rustic plait. Once completed the plait was machine-stitched together, stiffened, blocked and trimmed at the Olney Headwear factory in Luton. The whole process took nearly three weeks of work.
This boater has a double brim to provide extra strength during wear. The black and white rustic boaters were popular men’s fashion wear in the first half of the 20th century. Public school boaters made from black and white rustic plait were still be made by Olney Headwear until the early 1980s.