How to Repair a Straw Hat

[dropcap2_large]Q[/dropcap2_large]uite a few times I’ve mentioned my trusty Panama hat that I’ve had for years. I think I bought it in 2012. It managed to lose it’s band during my trip to Grand Cayman last year, but I still love the way it looks. Beyond that, the top has cracked from years of love and wear (see also: the pinch hat grab). I am not one to give up things I love easily, so I decided that I would repair it.

After doing some research about how to repair a straw hat, it seems like it would be easy enough for me to attempt, so I gathered up some materials and patched up the problem. If you’ve got a Panama hat on the fritz, you can likely repair yours too. It was super easy, and materials can be purchased at a local craft store or online. Here’s how…


  • Broken hat (don’t fix it if it’s not broken!)
  • 14 Aida Cloth in Ivory (used for repair, found in cross stitch department.)
  • FabriFuse (or any other quick dry, flexible fabric glue that dries clear)
  • Scissors


  1. Cut your cloth to a size about 1/4 – 1/2″ larger than the spot you’d like to repair.
  2. Apply glue to one side, then glue cloth on the inside of the hat, pressing at the seams and shaping until it is the right shape.
  3. Hold in place until glue has a chance to dry a little.
  4. Fill in and reshape the top of the hat using the glue and your fingertips (I used the scissor point).
  5. Allow to dry and enjoy your hat again!

How to repair a broken straw hat

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Responses to “How to Repair a Straw Hat”

  1. I have at least three hats I need to fix-thank you!!

  2. awesome!! i didn’t know there was such a thing. I will def keep this in mind 🙂
    Southern Elle Style

    1. Thanks so much for this. My beautiful Panama hat developed a split, and I’ve just fixed it! I’m delighted, thank you x

      1. You’re welcome, I’m so glad it helped! 🙂

  3. I had no idea you could even do this! What a simple way to repair it – it looks brand new!

    Amanda ||

  4. […] am a huge fan of hats, and this one is a favorite that I repaired awhile back. It transitions so well between the Spring and Summer seasons, so I’ve been […]

  5. […] the repair is something that you can do on your own or if it requires professional help. I recently repaired a favorite hat and it went well. You’d be surprised at the amount of repairs you can do on your own if you […]

  6. I bought a bunch of “bands” in Peru when we went-basically just local weaving. I replaced all my bands with colorful ones when I got back.

  7. Patricia H.

    Thank you so much for your tips. Didn’t know you could actually repair a straw hat with the materials you’ve suggested. Your hat looks like it never needed repairing. This makes me hopefully that my hat will looks the same.

  8. Imed Trabelsi

    Thank you so much for all your tips. I’m definitely going try it on my Panama hat.

  9. This technique saved my very old, very well worn and much loved Panama hat. Thank you.
    What I found was that unless someone looked very closely or if I pointed out where I repaired the hat you would never notice it at all. The actual procedure seems simple, and it is but the patch I had to use was on the large side, so it would cover more than one worn out area. This meant holding a rather large patch with my fingers while the glue set but this particular does not set quickly, in fact It seems to take two days to set (to where its not tacky anymore) in my environment. After a minute of holding the patch down (my patch was around the most carved part of the crown, which is the most challenging spot to patch) the glue dod not how the patch down so the patch lifted up. I had to keep pressing down, waiting a minute then lift my fingers slowly (because the glue stuck to my fingers) to see if the glue held the patch down, each time it did not so I had to press the wet patch down again. This process took many minutes, so I pass this experience along so others know that it takes a bit pf patience, but in the end I wound up with a hat that looks good and the repair (surprisingly) is not noticeable despite having had rather large hole in it.

    1. I’m glad to hear your hat is saved! Sorry it was a little difficult for you. It’s hard to predict the nature of how this will turn out because every repair is different.

  10. I just spent $20 on the fabric and glue you recommended and wasted (?) an afternoon working at it (because your idea seemed so good and I couldn’t afford to spend $50 for the repair kit from Panama Hat store) and it doesn’t work at all. The glued fabric doesn’t stick to the straw no matter how long I hold it on. Anytime I think maybe it’s holding; I watch the fabric peel away from the hat faster than the time I’ve spent holding it in place.
    I’d like to know what your magic trick is? Was something left out from this article that we should know? I followed your instructions carefully and it’s not working at all. 🙁

    1. Hey I’m back. Unlike yours my hat was severely damaged. After some hours and making a good pattern, I think it’s repaired as good as it gets; THANK YOU! Your method paid off. I’m very grateful to know I can wear my hat again.

    2. Hi Mary! Ahh, sorry for the delay. I’m pretty sure I didn’t leave anything out, it has worked for quite a few other people. I’m so glad you got it to work in the end and you can wear your hat again! If you came across any other tips I should include for this repair I’m happy to include them in my post.

  11. Laurie Gordon

    Thank you so much! I used your technique and was able to repair two valuable Panama Hats that belong to my husband. I did do one little thing that made it easier: I wet the cloth used for the patch, then blotted it so it was just damp, not very wet but also not stiff and dry. Then I applied the fabric glue and because it was damp and flexible it was easier to press into the areas (especially the pinch in the crown).
    when it dried it became stiff again but with just the right shape!

    1. I’m so glad it helped, and that’s a great suggestion!

  12. Brad Bathgate

    Good idea.

  13. […] size: 683px x1024px […]

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