What is Sinamay?

Sinamay is one of the most popular hat-making foundations in the world. It is woven from the processed stalks of the abaca tree, a type of banana native to the Philippines. Abaca fibre is three times stronger than cotton or silk, and a fabric made from 100% abaca can last for over 100 years. As a result, sinamay holds a very firm shape. Because it is a natural fibre, it holds colour beautifully.

Varieties of Sinamay

There are many different types of sinamay (sometimes also called ‘pinok pok’). Although they are all made from Abaca, it is the different weaves that dictated the type or grade. “A grade” is not necessarily better than “C grade,” it’s just more densely woven or has a higher thread count (DPI). Just like your sheets, the higher the luxurious it becomes DPI (dimples per inch) the more threads per inch and the more. Here at Millinery Hub, we stock it as below:

  • Extra Fine or Pinokpok – 32/23DPI – This sinamay is woven tightly and has a beautiful sheen to it. We recommend this sinamay is used without being stiffened, on this bias and following along with what it naturally wants to do. It is at home in a turban or bow.
  • Fine or A Grade – 23/23DPI – Sold stiffened, used for blocking or making structured bows and trims.
  • Regular or B Grade – 20/20DPI – Our most popular stiffened sinamay, used for blocking or making structured bows and trims.
  • Open or C Grade – 17/17DPI – A loose weave often used in pre-manufactured sinamay hats. Care needs to be taken when blocking this variety as it can fray more easily.

Any sinamay can be stiffened so that it will hold a firm, sturdy shape, or can remain soft for free-shaping and lose folding.

It can be found in many different weaves and textures. Some popular varieties include basketweave sinamay, cobweb sinamay and crochet weave sinamay.

Sinamay in Millinery

Sinamay is a versatile foundation material which can be used to create all kinds of stunning hat shapes. The uses of sinamay in millinery are impossible to count. It can be used to create complex layered constructions as well as classic brims and sturdy hat bases. It is also pliable and can be used to stunning effect in free-shaping. With its gorgeous and expanding range of colours, its firm yet pliable texture and its boundless versatility, it has since become one of the most popular foundation materials for hat-making.