The Covering of the Shapes - The Manipulation of Straw - Different Makes of Straw

In the last lesson the wire frame was complete and ready to be covered with straw. Packets of straw in various makes and patterns are obtainable at the majority of drapers'. Two packets are usually required for a fairly large shape, and care should be taken to select a light, pliable straw that will not be likely to break or split in the working. The pattern chosen must be in accordance with the season's fashion, although "Yedda" or "Tagel" straws are generally safe selections. A good Yedda costs from 2s. 11d., and Tagel, which is the better straw, from 4s. 11d. to 5s. 6d. per packet. Packets of straw can, however, be bought from is.

Untie one packet of straw, and proceed to bind the edge wire, commencing from the back. When the edge wire has been bound, do not cut off the straw, but continue sewing it round the top of the shape (Fig. 1).

Sew the straw round and round the shape until the top brim has been completely covered, taking great care not to drag or pull it. Allow it to fall quite easily and flatly, or by the time the hat is finished the brim will have lost its original shape. Take small, even stitches, and lap the straw over just sufficiently to hold it in place. (Fig. 2.)

When the top brim has been covered, cut off the straw, and commence the under brim, starting from the back. Proceed on the same lines as the top brim, handling the wire frame lightly, as it is more apt to develop unsightly curves.

It is often advisable to cover the wire crown with net before working on the straw. This makes it firmer, and more able to stand the strain of the hatpins. Cover with net as plainly as possible, or it will make the straw look clumsy (Fig. 3).

Bind the bottom of the crown, starting from the back, as seen in Fig. 3. Do not cut off the straw, or it would make an ugly join, but continue working up the crown, gradually drawing the straw inwards so that it fits over the crown.

Arriving at the extreme centre-top, cut off the straw, leaving just sufficient to neaten. This is done by making a hole in the net and pushing the straw through.

The brim and crown having been covered separately with straw, now sew the crown on to the brim. Place the front wire of the crown to the front wire of the brim, back to back, side to side, etc., and slipstitch on.

The hat now is quite finished, with the exception of the headlining. A headlining can be bought from any draper's for 3d., and is sewn in, starting from the back.

After stitching the headlining all round firmly, then slipstitch it up the back (see Fig. 4). Make a small hem at the top, then thread a bodkin with baby ribbon, which is slipped through the hem and drawn up.