Glossary of terms for materials sold.

Grosgrain Millinery Petersham Ribbon is a ribbon designed specifically for the millinery trade. It is woven in a non-needle loom weave with serated edges allowing it to be sewn into a circle without it creasing. The make up and weave of this ribbon allows milliners to shape the ribbon (either by the use of a slightly damp sponge or the use of a steam iron) around the brim or crown of a hat, thus ensuring the ribbon lies flat to the crown. It is made from 70% Viscose and 30% Rayon; the material is a natural fibre and therefore will take direct dyes.

Hat body shape descriptions:

  • A Hood or Cone is the term used to describe a hat body in an almost Fez like shape, normally used for a brimless or small brimmed hat.

  • A Capeline or Flare are hat bodies used to make hats with medium to large brims. The difference between a Capeline and a Flare is that a Capeline has a definitive Crown and Brim compared to a Flare which has a crown which merges out into a brim (like the flared jeans from the 60's and 70's!)


Felts are normally made from wool or animal fur and the fibres are not woven but matted together in steam and soap or alkali, and therefore can be stretched in every direction.

Wool Felts:

AA Cones or AA Hoods are woolfelts in the Fez like shape with the AA denoting the size (or amount of material) in the body.

#5 Flare is made from woolfelt with the #5 denoting the size (or amount of material) in the body.

90/110/130g can be found in either flares or cones with the number denoting the weight of the hat body and not the size as the body. Can be smaller but thicker or could be larger but thinner.

Berets are a flatish circular cap made from felt, traditionally woolfelt.

Fur Felts:


This rabbit fur felt has a soft, velvety pile sometimes known as velour. It is obtainable in capeline or flare and cone-shaped hoods. It needs careful handling and blocking to avoid damaging the nap.


This is a high-grade fur felt, with a pile longer than a peachbloom with the hat body having flecks of different shades.


This is another high-grade rabbit fur felt, with a longer pile than the peachbloom and mohairs but has a consistant colour throughout.

Animal Prints:

An animal print is effectively a Melasine with an animal print design.


Sinamay is a stiff coarse open textile woven exclusively in the Philippines chiefly from the Abaca plant. (The Abaca plant being a variation of the Banana tree.)

Pinok Pok is a variety of high-quality, tighter-woven sinamay also made from the fibres of the abaca plant.

Window sinamay is similar but woven with a window pane effect.

Twine Sinamay Capelines are capeline hat bodies, made from a mixture of Sinamay and string (the string can be made from cotton or hemp).


Pari-sisals are made from the Sisal Grass and is woven into a 2x2 weave starting with a cross on the top of the crown.

Fine-sisals are also made from Sisal Grass but is woven into a 1x1 weave, again starting with a cross on the top of the crown. The weave type is also known as a Linen weave.

Buntals are traditionally made from the Tailpot Palm and can be woven in both Para and Bakov weaves. Production of this type are very scarce today making them notoriously difficult to obtain resulting in some high grade Sisals being called Buntals.

Ramies are a rougher straw made from the plant, woven in the Linen weave.

  • Dash Ramies are the same as Ramies, except they have a Dash pattern going round the body.
  • Knotted Ramies are again the same as Ramies, except they have knots of straw covering the body.

Wicker Sisals are also made from the Sisal Grass but are made in a fish net weave, normally found in the Flare shape. Can also be found to be made from paper in the same weave and shape.

Raffias are made from the Raffia Palm tree native to Madagascar, usually found in the 1x1 weave.

Wheat Straws are made from wheat straw and usually found in the 1x1 weave.

Pedal Straws are also made from Wheat Straw and were tradiotionally made in the Herts, Beds and Bucks region of the UK, more famously in Luton and Dunstable amoungst others. Woven into a straw braid initially before being sewn together into circles to form a hat body.

Dog Paw Sisals are straw hat bodies in a 1x1 weave with a pattern of a Dog Paw gap in the weave.


Papers, exactly what it says on the tin, a hat body made from woven paper. Blocks and works in the same way a straw would but slightly more delicate when dampened for blocking. Can be woven using twisted paper similar to a Wicker Sisal or in a 2x2 weave.

Viscas are hat bodies made from 100% pulped tree bark, formed into strands and then woven into a hat body in either a 1x1 or 2x2 weave.

Brimreed is millinery wire made from plastic.

Metal Cotton Covered Wire is again, a millinery wire with the base made from stainless steel and is covered in cotton.

Ferrules are brass attachments to connect a single piece of millinery wire (metal or plastic) to remove the need and time for sewing.

Hat Elastics are made from rubber covered in cotton thread and are used to keep a hat (typically a Fascinator) to the wearers head.

Fascinator Bases are pre-made bases in a circular shape and are used as the base of most fascinators giving the milliner a fixed point to attach the accessories to. Can be made from nearly any material and can be found with or without a hat elastic.

Combs can be made of plastic or metal and are used to keep the fascinator in place on the wearers head.

Leather Headbands are bands of leather which are sown usually into the inside of the crown of a mans hat (sometimes known as a leather sweatband).

Stiffener is the name of a chemical which is used to give rigidity to a hat body, activated with steam and heat (the more steam the better!).

Hat Linings are normally made from polyester 6" deep in the shape of a cone, used on the inside of the crown.

Laichow or Straw Braid is the base material for Pedal straws, made from standard wheat straw and plaited into a braid.

Merry Widow Veiling is made from Nylon woven into a fish net weave or diamon pattern.

Oasis Spray is a pressurised spray can used for colour any material from sinamay or straw to feathers and real flowers. The main difference between Oasis Spray and standard spray paints is it is a much finer paint and was originally designed to spray real flowers with meaning it will not globulate as easily.

Alice Bands are a flexible band of metal or plastic used by women and girls to hold back their hair.

Polypropylene Capelines are capeline hat bodies made from Crinoline, which itself is made from Polypropylene.

General Shapes & Info

Abacca: (Musa textilis) A plant grown in the Philippines that produces the fibre used in the production of sisal and sinamay.

Abraham Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln’s hat was a silk stove-pipe which was made for him by George Hall of Springfield, Illinois. He wore it because of the President’s lack of interest in his appearance!

Ammana: Large wound turban worn by Muslim's.

Bandeau:A headband of material, structured or unstructured.

Baseball cap: Cloth cap with brim. Originally worn by baseball players ,now worn as a general leisure hat.

Beaver: A expensive felt hat made from felted beaver fur.

Bearskin: A large furry high crowned hat, which is part of a uniform worn by the Coldstream Guards

Beret: Cap made from felt, felted jersey or fabric with soft, wide, circular crown.

Best stuff: 19th century term for rabbit fur, including the backs and the best parts of the sides mixed together.
Bicorn: Hat of the late 18th and early 19th century: wide brims were folded up to form two points.
Biretta: Square cap worn by clergy the crown has three or four projections.
Block: A wooden form used as a mould to shape, by hand a brim or crown.
Blocking: Is the term used to describe the action of molding a hat shape.

Boater: Flat-topped hat with small flat brim. traditionally, made of stiffened straw braid.

Bonnet: Women's or girl's head-dress, with deep brim and ribbons to tie under the chin.
Bonnet rouge: Red cap worn during the French Revolution as a symbol of liberty.
Bowler: Oval hat with round, rigid crown and a small, shaped, curved brim. Also known as a derby, because the style was made popular by the Earl of Derby in 19th century England.
Breton: Women's hat with domed crown and brim turned-up all around.
Bridal veil: White or ivory veil worn during wedding ceremony.
Brim: Projecting edge of a hat.
Buckram: Stiff netting used to make hats. May be blocked or sewn. Once used by milliners to make blocks for limited use.

Bumping: Term used for the process of final felting of a hood, further compressing and felting of hoods done in a bumping machine.
Calotte: A close-fitting skull cap as worn by the Roman Catholic Clergy.
Canadian Mountie's Stetson: Official head-dress of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Canotier: Boater (French).
Cap: A hat with a small brim at the front.
Capeline: Roughly shaped crown and brim of felt or straw, to be blocked into hat shape.
Carroting: Preliminary treatment of wool or fur with acids, to curl the hairs. Produces a reddish-yellow colour which is the origin of the name.
Catherinette: French term for milliners. Named after St Catherine the patron saint of milliners. The 27th of November is St Catherine's Day.
Caul: Historical term for a a net or close-fitting indoor head-dress, or the plain back part of the same.
Cavalier hat: A wide-brimmed, with a plume, worn by cavaliers in the 17th century: the right side of the brim was pinned up to the crown so that the wearer's sword arm could move freely above the shoulder.
Chef's hat:White, starched bonnet with tall crown . French tradition states that a chef’s hat should have 100 pleats to represent the number of different ways in which a great chef can prepare eggs.

Chira: Indian Turban
Cloche: Women's hat of the 1920's. Close-fitting round crown, with no brim or a small flare at the brim edge.
Coalman hat: A short visor cap with a protective flap at the back, derived from a hat worn by English coal deliverers to protect their backs from dust.
Cockade: Ornamental rosette of ribbon or cloth, worn on a hat as a badge of office or as a decoration.
Cocked hat: An old-fashioned three-cornered hat.
Cocktail hat: A small, often frivolous, hat for women, usually worn forward on the head.

Coif: Head-cover worn by nuns as part of their habit, often with long veils.
Cone: Conically shaped hood of felt or straw used as a base for blocking small hat shapes or crowns.
Coolie hat: A shallow conical straw hat with a large brim to protect wearer from the sun.
Coronet: Small crown worn by members of nobility as a symbol of rank.
Cowboy hat: Hat with high crown and wide brim, originally worn by cow hands. Usually made of felt or leather.
Crown: Head-dress usually made of gold and worn as a symbol of sovereignty by monarchs. 
Crown: The top part of a hat.
Crush hat: A collapsible opera hat.
Deer stalker: A hunting cap with visors at the front and back, and ear-flaps that can be tied up over the crown. Made famous by the fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes.
Derby: Another name for a Bowler hat.
Doff: The action of partially removing a hat by males as a sign of respect.
Diadem: A jewelled headband.
Easter bonnet: Women's hat: A new spring style to be worn at Easter.
English driving cap: Low-profile cap, originally only for men, with small brim at the front. Crown may be tailored with side panels, or gored.
Esparterie: A flat sheet material used for the making of blocks and as a stiffening in the construction of hats.
Feather head-dress: Ceremonial and symbolic head-cover worn by chiefs of North American Indian tribes.
Fedora: A brimmed soft felt hat with a tapered crown that is dented lengthways. It comes originally from the Austrian Tyrol and is named after FEDORA a play by the French dramatist Victorien Sardou which was shown in Paris in 1882.
Felt: Cloth made from wool, fur or hair, compacted (felted) by rolling and pressing, in the presence of heat and moisture.
Fez: Brimless, conical, flat-topped cap with a tassel attached at the top centre. Men's head-cover, made of red felt, worn in Islamic cultures.
Fillet: A band for the hair.
Fish tail: Ribbon with a decorative v-shape cut at the end.
Forage cap: Military cap with a small brim.
Fulling: Tumbling and pounding of cloth in hot water to induce felting.
Fur felt: Any hood or capeline of felt made from fur fibres.
Gainsborough Hat: A high crowned big brimmed hat decorated with feathers and ribbons became popular in the 1780's

Garbo hat: Slouch hat. (a soft, broad-brimmed hat)
Gaucho hat: A black felt hat with a wide flat brim and shallow flat-topped crown.
Gibus:Collapsible top hat. (French, from the maker's name.)

Glengarry:Highlander's cap of thick-milled woollen cloth, generally rising to a point in front, with ribbons hanging down behind
Hat: Item of dress worn on the head, from a word of Saxon origin meaning hood.
Helmet: Protective or ceremonial head-cover: for soldiers.
Hennin: A high conical hat with a veil attached at the top, worn by women during the 15th century.
Hijab: A covering for a Muslim woman's head and face, sometimes reaching the ground, often accompanied by the niqab (face veil).
Homburg: A man's hat, made of felt, with a narrow upturned brim, and a depression in the top.
First worn at Homburg, town in western Germany usually trimmed with a band and bow.
Hood: Cone of felt or straw for making hats.
Horsehair: Hair from a horse's mane or tail; a mass of such hairs; a fabric woven from horsehair.
Jockey cap: Cloth cap with close-fitting 6-panel crown and wide brim at the front.
Juliet Cap: A round close-fitting skullcap worn by women. the style dates back to the Renaissance.
Jute Hood: Cone, capeline or sheet materiel made of jute fibre.

Kalpak: A triangular Turkish or Tatar felt cap.
Kippa: Skull-cap worn by Jewish men. Also known as yarmulke.

Kufie: Islamic (Muslim) prayer cap.

Leuring lathe: Turntable with a block to support a felt hat. The hat is placed on the block and, as it turns, it is then polished or "leured" with a plush or velveteen pad, to impart a shine to the felt fibres, particularly on the crown.
Liberty cap: Phrygian cap.
Mad Hatter: Famous character of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" also see Mercury below.

Mercury Usage: Mercury Nitrate was used to soften the thicker and coarser fur (guard hair) from a rabbit or hare. This was to make the finished felt hood as soft and fine as possible, before it was made into a hat for the obvious reason that it would be of a higher quality and price.

Mercury Poisoning: Mercury is acutely hazardous as a vapour and in the form of its water-soluble salts, which corrode membranes of the body. Chronic mercury poisoning, which occurs when small amounts of the metal or its fat-soluble salts, particularly methyl mercury, are repeatedly ingested over long periods of time, causes loss of memory, irreversible brain, liver, and kidney damage. paralysis, mental derangement and eventually death.

Mandel: A turban woven with silk and gold.
Milliner: Artisan who makes and sells hats.

Millinery: The craft of making hats.
Mitre: A high, pointed headdress, cleft crosswise on top and with two ribbons hanging from the back. The right to wear the mitre belongs by law only to the pope, the cardinals, and the bishops.

Mortarboard: Flat, square head-cover worn by professors and students for solemn academic occasions.
Nap: Short fibres extending above the surface of cloth, fabric or felt, creating a soft, downy effect such as on velvet.
Night cap: Men's cap worn informally indoors from the 16th to the 19th century. The cap had a deep crown made of four segments, with the edge turned up to form a close brim.
Niqab: Face veil worn by Islamic women, together with the hijab (head-cover).
Panama: The name given straw woven in Ecuador, as well as Peru and Colombia.
Panama hat: Straw hat made with Panama straw .
Paper panama: Cone or capeline made of Japanese Toyo paper, woven to imitate natural Panama can be 1x1 or 2x2 weave.
Pari-Sisal: A two over two weave of sisal fibre used to make cones and capelines. Available in 5 grades, depending on the fineness of the fibre, it is lightweight, resilient and takes dye well.
Peak: Visor.
Phrygian cap: Conical cap with the top bent forward, named for an ancient people of Asia Minor. Worn as a symbol during the French Revolution, it is now also known as the cap of liberty.
Picture hat: A hat with a very wide brim.
Pile: Nap.
Pillbox: A small brimless cap with a flat tip and cylindrical side. Polo players in the Bois de Boulogne wore pillboxes tied under their chins in the early 1900’s.

Pith helmet: Helmet of cork or pith (dried spongy tissue from the sola plant), covered with cloth.
Planking: Rolling and heating the hoods to complete the felting process.
Plush: (Hatters Plush) Cloth of silk or cotton, with a longer and softer nap than velvet.
Plush hats: Men's hat, usually Top Hats of plush, an imitation of napped beaver hats.
Pompom: Pompom a fluffy or woolly ball, tuft, or tassel.
Puritan: Black felt hat with high conical crown and narrow straight brim, worn by the Puritans during the 17th century. It was usually trimmed with a buckle at the front.
Raffia: A natural straw from Madagascar, the Raffia palm or its leaf-bast. available in cones, capelines, braids and hanks.
Raising card: Small wired instrument to raise nap on felt.

Rastafarian Hat: The Rastafarian hat is called a "Crown" and has religious significance, the knitted version is usually coloured red, yellow and green, the colour of the Ethiopian flag.
Royal Ascot: The world famous English horse race meeting at Ascot, dating from the early 18th century, is particularly renowned for Ladies' Day, a unique occasion and setting to flaunt the most spectacular hats.
Rush: Capeline made of a stiff thick straw, usually left its natural green colour.
Shako: A tall, nearly cylindrical military cap with a plume, flat-topped.
Sinamay: a plant grown in the Philippines the fibres are woven into sheet or hood forms.
Sisal: Comes from the fibre of the Abacca (Musa textilis) and is used to make cones & capelines.

Sisal Hood: Cone or capeline of sisal fibre made with a one over one weave.
Skull-cap: Small, close-fitting cap of fabric.

Skimmer: (see Boater)
Slouch hat: A soft hat with a high crown and drooping flexible brim. Also called a Garbo hat, from the name of the actress who worn this style in many films.
Smoking cap: Men's pillbox shape cap, worn during the 19th century to prevent the hair from smelling of tobacco.

Snap brim: A brim that turns down sparingly.
Snood: A band for the hair, once worn by unmarried women in Scotland as the badge of virginity; an ornamental hairnet supporting the back of a woman's hair.
Sombrero: Mexican hat with high, conical crown and very wide brim. Usually of straw or felt.
St. Catherine of Alexandria: Patron saint of Milliners in France, + c. 307 A.D., celebrated November 25th.
St. Clement I: 3rd Bishop of Rome, + c. 100 A.D. Patron saint of hatters in England, celebrated November 23rd.
Stiffening: Originally gum Arabic, mucilage, shellac or gelatin, now superseded by cellulose or PVA based chemicals. It is applied by hand or dipped, to stiffen felt or straw.
Stocking cap: Knitted cap, usually conical, often finished with a pompom.
Stovepipe hat: A tall 19th century top hat, made popular by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.
Suede felt: Fur felt hood or capeline with short nap: surface texture resembles suede.

Tip: The top part of the crown.
Top hat: Man's tall cylindrical hat with a narrow brim, made of silk plush. Also see: Abraham Lincoln. Very early top hats were made of beaver felt. Also called a "Plug Hat" in the USA.

Toque: French term for a chef's tall white hat.
Toque: Small hat for a woman, close-fitting brimless or nearly brimless hat.
Tricorne: Men's hat of the 18th century: wide brims were folded up to form three points.
Trilby:The Trilby is a soft felt hat, usually made of fur felt (rabbit) it has a dented crown and flexible brim.

Tuque: A Canadian cap made by tucking in one tapered end of a long cylindrical bag, closed at both ends.
Turban: Typical head-dress for Muslim and Sikh men, constructed by winding a long scarf around the head.
Turban: Women's head-dress resembling men's turbans.

Vanities: 15th century British term for hats.
Veil: A covering of fine fabric or net, for the head, face, or both, for protection, concealment, adornment or ceremonial purpose, especially the white transparent one often worn by a bride
Velour felt: Fur felt hood or capeline with uniform nap and velvet-like surface texture.
Visca: Cone or capeline of rayon fibre, made to look like parrasisal with a 1x1 or 2x2 weave.
Visor: A partial brim, usually extending out at the front of a hat or cap. Also known as a peak used as a shade against the sun .
Wheat Straw single or double: A stiff coarse straw, usually left its natural golden brown colour. Single wheat is 1x1 weave double wheat is 2x2 weave.
Widow's peak: A close-fitting cap with a point extending down at the centre of the forehead. Originally worn as a mourning bonnet by Caterina de Medici. Also a point of hair over the forehead, like the cusped front of the widow's cap formerly worn.
Willow: A woven and sized material made of esparto grass and cotton, used for making the base of fashion hats.
Wimple: A veil folded so as to cover the head and neck and closely frame the cheeks, a fashion of the Middle Ages that remained part of a nun's dress
Xian: Made from an oriental straw.
Yarmulke: The skullcap worn by Jewish males, especially during prayers or ceremonial occasions.

Zucchetto: Skull-cap worn by Roman Catholic clergy: black for priests, purple for bishops, red for cardinals, white for the pope.