How to Hand-Shape a Panama Hat

A Panama hat is a brimmed hat made from plaited leaves from the toquilla straw plant. President Theodore Roosevelt made the hat popular after he picked one up during the construction of the Panama Canal.

Create steam. This will help you hand-shape your Panama hat. You can use an iron steamer, steam from a traditional iron, or steam created on the stove from a pan of water or tea pot.

Don't burn yourself! It is easy to burn yourself with steam, so be careful.


Surround the hat with steam, yet do not get it wet.


When the hat is soft and manageable, patiently reshape. Re-steam if necessary.