How to Make Sinamay Hats

    by Daemion Nelson

    About the Author

    Daemion Nelson is an information technology manager who graduated from Lehman College with a B.S. in computer science. He has made many written contributions on the topic of technology. When not working, Nelson's love of golf and basketball takes up much of his spare time.


    Sinamay is a somewhat new material that is becoming increasingly popular because unlike the other established millinery (hat) materials such as straws and felts, sinamay is light, flexible and easy to use. Most times, if you are skilled enough, you don’t even have to block sinamay; you can just craft it with your hands.

    Things You'll Need

    • 2 1/2 yards of sinamay
    • Wooden hat block in the design of your choice (covered securely in Saran Wrap)
    • Blocking pins / white cord
    • Bone from corset
    • Scissors
    • Needle and thread
    • Grosgrain ribbon
    • Wire joiners and pliers
    • Hot glue gun
    • Flower (same color as sinamay material)
    • Pot of boiling water / Milliner steamer
    • Iron and ironing board
    • Millinery sizing (to make hat firm)
    • 19-gauge millinery wire

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    Cut sinamay material to exactly 2 yards. Fold material over so one yard rests directly on the other yard.

    Dip sinamay into hot water quickly to soften and allow a few seconds to drip without allowing to dry. If using a steamer, steam material until soft, limp and pliable.

    Drape soft sinamay over hat block and begin to pull to remove all creases.

    Use your upper body to hold sinamay in place while you use your hands to pull and fold material under block and pin. Pin all around the block, pulling all the time to remove creases, leaving at most 1 inch between pins. If using a wooden hat block with a groove, tie white cord in the groove tightly. Since sinamay is not in a hood form, you will have lots of folds at the base of your wooden block. It is not necessary to remove these creases; they will be covered when dressing the hat.

    Place wooden block in oven, preheated at 250 degrees, for 6 to 8 minutes. When sinamay material is dry, it will be molded to your block perfectly.

    Spray millinery sizing on hat in a ventilated area while hat is still on block. Allow 10 to 15 minutes to dry. This sizing will help the hat maintain its shape through many wears.

    Remove sinamay hat from the block by using the bone from a corset. Gently push between hat and block until loose, then lift hat off the block, being careful not to distort shape.

    Cut away the excess fabric from the hat, leaving an inch of excess to use in finishing the hat.

    Measure the millinery wire to fit your head or the head of the person who will be wearing the hat. The average hat size is 22 1/2 inches. Cut the wire, allowing an inch for the wire joiner.

    Push wire joiner onto one end of the wire and insert the other end of the wire into the wire joiner. Use pliers to close down both ends of the wire joiner.

    Insert wire into the fold at the bottom of the hat and reinforce fold by pushing it up against the inside of the hat all the way around.

    Use the same measurement as the wire to cut the grosgrain ribbon. Sew this ribbon onto the excess inch of material that is now folded inside the hat using the back stitch. The grosgrain ribbon is now what is called the sweat band of the hat.

    Fold the top of the rectangle halfway down by width and fold the bottom of the rectangle halfway up to meet the other fold. Iron on the ironing board to secure folds and to give a finished look. This hat band will be wrapped around the base of the hat so folds are not visible anymore. Sew to keep the ends in place.

    Hot glue the flower over the ends of the hat band to finish your sinamay hat.

    • When your sinamay hat is finished, you can add veiling, rhinestones or whatever you like to make your hat more appealing.
    • Be sure to double the sinamay material when using it or the finished hat may be too transparent.