Hat Tricks – Hat Making Tools and Approaches


Making a hat of any design is not a simple project for the beginner. But like projects of any sort, hat making involves a sequential series of small steps, each one of which we can study and eventually understand. To quote Mei Lin Wong-Gary “Repetition is the mother of Retention”. Within each step there is a wide range of approaches. And this diversity can be a little overwhelming to the beginner. So we’ll begin with relatively simple projects so that the sequence is more approachable.

In the previous section, we introduced a tool for practicing different weaving techniques and then used the tool to demonstrate a change in maka ‘o’eno (twill) direction and then three different ways of adding in koana ( adding in two piece koana, adding a folded koana and adding a bent koana ).

In the articles below, we focus more directly on the different parts of hat making as I understand it. Again, please let me emphasize that there are many different ways of doing the same step or even beginning the whole process of hat making. The articles below are just one way and will hopefully provide opportunities for discussion.

Listing of Tools, Tutorials and Embellishments

The list below shows a number of the subjects to be covered as time allows. There is no specific time period for finishing each one but I intend to make steady progress.

Hat Molds ( Ipu ) – Making your Own

Making a Simple Hat – 1

Starting a Pāpale Pāʻole or Garden Hat

Making a Smooth Edge on the Crown of a Pāpale Pāʻole

The Most Basic Piko

A More Complex Piko

A Piko to Pā Transition

Adding Koana to the Hat Brim

Whakakitaratara – a Serrated Hat/Mat Edge

Sewing Sweatbands into Lauhala Hat

Uncle Peter Park’s Little Helper

Uncle Ed Kaneko’s Handsome Hatband

Adding in Love Knots

When the Hat Came to the Society Islands