Jipijapa Hats: The Different Weaving Qualities

4 min read

Did you know? An authentic jipijapa hat is a material, not a shape. Its name refers to a braid made from the straw of the Carloduvica Palmata, a plant widespread in southeastern Mexico, the country of origin of jipijapa.

Handcrafted by hand, the quality of its braiding depends on the fineness of the palm leaf and the way it is woven. Consequently, there are several types of braiding quality, ranging from the most classic to the most luxurious, such as jipijapa deluxe. For lovers of panama hats, we'd say montecristi quality is the most qualitative.

With a finer straw and weave, the hat is lighter and more pleasant to wear, drying out much less and becoming more resistant, while gaining in suppleness.

Our number grading system

Our system is based on a recognized grading system set up to try and judge the qualities of all the hats in the world. The rule is simple: the higher the level of finish, the higher the quality of the hat. This finishing grading on a scale of 1 to 5 is based on the density of stitches present per square inch of the hat.

In our classification, this mesh density equates to a specific level of finish ranging from 1, for the standard jipijapa hat, to 5 for the top-of-the-range hats.

The finer the straw and the tighter the weave, the greater the number of meshes and the higher the quality of the hat.

Some models can take over 1 year to make and cost thousands of euros.

Here's a table to classify your hats according to your finishing scale and categories based on the mesh density/inch² system:


How to measure the fineness of a jipijapa hat?

To determine the fineness grade of a Premium or Deluxe jipijapa hat, count the number of weave rows in an inch horizontally (or 2.54 cm), place the measuring tape on the side of the hat, in the middle of the crown.

determine the fineness grade of  jipijapa

Then proceed in the same way, but this time vertically. Finally, multiply the 2 values to obtain the number of meshes, i.e. the density per square inch.

Types of braiding


There are 2 main types of braiding: cuenca braiding and brisa braiding. The former is braided in a herringbone pattern, the latter in small squares.

"Cuenca" jipijapa is a herringbone weave. This type of weaving gives the hat a sturdy yet high-quality appearance.

The jipijapa "brisa" is a cross-braided hat. The weave forms small squares. It takes a craftsman at least 3 days to produce a standard-quality brisa.

Finally, the jipijapa Luxury is a top-of-the-range hat considered to be the crème de la crème of jipijapas. Its ultra-fine, tight weave and light weight make it both foldable and waterproof. Manufactured in the town of Becal, in the Campeche region, the work required is extremely precise and refined.

It takes an average of a month and a half to make, in an underground cave that provides a good level of humidity to facilitate the meticulous work of the young palm fibers.

where jipijapa hat are made

The color of the hat is also important in determining the quality of the work. The color must be as even as possible. Depending on the type of straw used, the color can be lighter or darker.

Generally speaking, the young shoots of classic Carloduvica Palmata tend towards an off-white color. However, it is possible to dye this straw in a multitude of colors: black, brown, blue, yellow, pink, etc.

What is the jipijapa hat?

The jipijapa hat, known worldwide as the Panama hat, is a quality straw hat made from Carloduvica Palmata, the scientific name for the "paja toquilla". Many stars wear them to the beach or to prestigious ceremonies.

A summer trend on the heads of Brad Pitt and Diane Kruger, vintage with Jean-Jacques Belmondo in "Borsalino" or timeless with Michael Jackson, this all-purpose hat can be worn for any occasion!

The origin of its name can be traced back to the construction of the Panama Canal between 1882 and 1914. During the long years of construction, workers wore this Ecuadorian straw hat to protect themselves from the sun's rays and heat. This hat became known as the "panama".

However, it's important to note that the Jipijapa hat is actually the same as its Ecuadorian counterpart, known as the Panama. The name of the hat differs from region to region: Ecuador > Panama; Mexico > Jipijapa.

Despite these different names, the hat is made using a similar artisanal process, from the same toquilla straw, renowned for its lightness and timeless elegance.

how we make jipijapa hat

It takes time and expertise to make. Once the toquilla palms have been selected, the master craftsmen cook them in a large vat with sulfur for a few hours. Then it's time to dry. The young palm shoots are dried in the sun as soon as they come out of the vat, before being hung to dry completely for a few days. The completely dry fibers are then cut, classified and finally woven over many hours into the hat we all know!

Now that you've learned all the secrets of the jipijapa hat, all that's left to do is choose your own. If you're still undecided as to which style of jipijapa is right for you, we suggest you get in touch with one of our experts for guidance on how to customize your hat, where a multitude of colors, shapes and textures await you.

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