A recent question came from a chap who wanted to repair a straw hat. He had purchased the hat at an auction, loved the fit and look but it had some damage problems.

Man wearing a straw hat in need of repair.

The panama hat close-up (below) shows where the straw has been cracked from being compressed between 2 fingers when being put on by the original owner. I offered him some basic how to and he took it from there. The straw hat fix I suggested and he interpreted is below.

My suggestions were:

1. Find a heavyweight cotton or cotton blend fabric scrap and cut so it is 1/4″ to 1/2″ longer and wider than the damaged area.

2. Lightly cover the wrong side of scrap with a clear drying glue.

3. Carefully place inside crown over the damaged area. This should add reinforcement and will not damage the hat further.

4. Do this for both damaged spots. That is the simplest option and something you can do for yourself.

Because straw is a natural fiber it will break down over time. There are more complicated ways to rescue a straw weave hat but those methods would require more millinery skill and know how. Sometimes the simplest method is the one to use. And sometimes, there simply is no repair option. Enjoy the hat and wear it until it is no longer serviceable.

For the one time fix-it, one usually has things already in a drawer or shelf that can be substituted instead of buying the product a milliner might use. This is a nice looking hat and I hope you can wear it for years, Richard.

This shows the top of the hat crown with damage.

Damaged straw hat

Same section from inside the crown of the hat.

Inside a damaged straw hat

The tools used to repair the damaged areas, a chamois cloth in almost identical color shade and clear drying glue.

Chamois cloth and clear drying glue for straw hat repair.

And finally the inside of crown after the repair work was completed.

Inside the straw hat after repairs.