What Makes A Hat : Fibres and Fabrics.

Published by Catherine Kelly on 9th Mar 2023


Hats really do mirror culture in their design styles and in highly-detailed ways. They are often referred to, or known as transformers. And for the power that they impart to the wearer, they have never lost relevance. 

But it’s not only the design styles which carry power; it’s what makes a hat, the fundamental materials --- the fibres and the fabrics. In my blog in regular instalments I will draw attention to and put into perspective the materials which are sold through Hatters Millinery Supplies and which comprise Embellish Atelier’s exclusive collection of hats. I’ll focus on the nature of the materials, their origin and their decorative abilities. 

FIBRE AND FABRIC PROPERTIES Our specialist millinery materials are composed of fibres which can be either natural or man-made. These fibres are then knitted, felted, spun or woven into various ‘yarns’ that make creating an original hat achievable. 

With their unique chemical compositions and individual source of origin these fibres have certain qualities which make them adaptable to various conditions and treatments, such as style, purpose, wearability and handling.

Interestingly, the method of construction, such as knitting, weaving and felting employed to transform these fibres into fabrics might also change the fibre’s nature somewhat, making it more versatile. 

Often fibres are mixed or blended together to reinforce them, or compensate for qualities lacking in another.

Knowledge of the qualities of fibres or fibre-content of millinery materials/fabrics is indispensable and is a fundamental tool of a milliner --- it helps you to quickly analyse the composition of the material you plan to use for your next project or design. 

If you have this knowledge you will inherently understand how the fabric might be able to be manipulated, draped, stitched, moulded, dyed, repurposed, restored and fashioned into an appropriate design. This knowledge is important too, if you want to know how to clean the fibre or fabric.

How to identify a fibre or fabric? Sometimes the fibre content can be assessed by a burn test if you can’t immediately recognise it by the look or feel.

What are natural fibres? •Cotton •Silk •Linen •Wool •Leather •Raffia •Twine 

What are man-made fibres? •Polyester •Nylon •Metallic threads 

What qualities are you looking for? This, of course will vary considerably depending on your end use or purpose. Flexibility, durability, strength, softness, water resistance and flammability are all qualities which may be desirable depending on your design or project.

Refer to our Millinery Materials Composition which is listed in the descriptions of our products, all available from Hatters Millinery Supplies.

If you need further clarification of the composition, we are only too happy to enhance your knowledge. So don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

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