Kathy Gaffey of Brim and Dash, Glen Ellyn, Illinois, is making a name with golf caps. She has always loved straw hats and when she picked up golf as a hobby she decided to create her own signature cap for wearing on the course. Before her cap she tried making a full size raffia hat with brim to wear but found it uncomfortable for wearing when swinging a club. She had chosen to work with raffia and so, considering her penchant for Jimmy Buffet she began toying with a cap style with a cloth visor. Through several years of trial and error she has perfected her trademark golf cap.

Supplies for making a raffia straw golf cap

The ball cap visor shape is used for ladies styles (her male customers seem to prefer the flat cap visor) she starts by adding a cotton duck lining on the underside of the visor, sewing it on by machine and creating the curve with hand manipulation while stitching. Step 2 is sewing the leather top piece to visor on wrong side and then flipping over to bring it to the top. Step 3 is attaching the final underside fabric and attaching to the formed raffia braid cap base. The petersham sweatband has a pocket for inserting a tie to pull the hat snug to match your headsize.

She also runs a complementary band around the outside tying it in a bow at the back. This can also be tied more tightly on windy days. On really windy days, while on the course, she will stick a golf tee through the straw braid at the back of her head to secure it even better.

Inside of the raffia straw golf cap made by Kathy Gaffney
Lee St. Mare wearing a Blocked Cloche

She offers a total service to her customers, requesting they return their cap at season’s end for her to launder and tweak in preparation for the next year’s golfing adventures. She loves working with the raffia braid and finds it gentle on her hair. She says the cap does not give one “hat hair”. Raffia contains a natural resin, unlike most other straw products, and remains soft and pliable for many years.

Currently, Kathy is learning to weave her own raffia plaits but in the meantime she uses the raffia braid from Frank’s Supply. They are located in California and carry the polyurethane hat blocks as well as raffia braid. Frank’s also carries several books authored by Ann Fennell of Australia on how to do the braiding. I can recommend the books and the blocks as I used them for teaching how to make raffia hats in the early 1990s. For the braid you are much better off weaving your own from the bulk hanks of raffia offered by Frank’s. The bulk is a better quality than the pre-plaited fiber.

Consider adding this cap to your list of skills. Yes, for some of you, the season is Winter and you may think this does not apply at the moment. But there are many “snowbirds” that head to warmer climes and golf is one of their primary activities. Offering these attractive caps will bring additional sales to these clients.