Making beautiful things is one thing. Making them really well is another. For us, a thing isn't beautiful unless it's also made right. And this means choosing the absolute best quality - in both materials and workmanship.
We scour the world for the best sources for fabrics, yarns and trim details like buttons, leather trim, metal bits, and buckles. And we continue to work closely with our partners, refreshing the color palette, and tweaking the fit, fiber, shape and feel of each piece until we’re satisfied – even if it’s been in our collection for years.
Hat, scarf, mitten or belt – every thing we make reflects the devotion to detail that makes us Pistil. It’s what sets us apart, and it’s what delights our customers. Maybe only you will know that the lining of your charcoal gray Pistil hat is a bright, satiny pop-orange floral print – because others can’t see it until you take it off. And maybe only we know that a certain belt buckle took us 10 years to perfect. But these are the things that give us pleasure to do, and it’s why people love their Pistil things. When someone writes to tell us about the spark of delight they experienced in a just-so, felted-flower detail on their favorite hat, it just strengthens our conviction that the details really do matter. It’s all part of making our things have that special, indescribable something.
When we refer to a piece as being knit by hand, it means a person made it, Some knitting machines can’t handle super chunky yarns, or certain kinds of yarns, so hand-knitting actually opens the door to more yarn varieties, more colors, more textures, and different fibers. And it expands our creative parameters when coming up with ideas for new hats.
After 13 years in the business of making the small but special, we are convinced that the art of making things right is the art of making things well. And we remain committed to designing simple, clean and flattering pieces, in materials that feel good and hold-up over time. Here is a little background on some of the materials we use...
Paper straw is made by rolling paper into a yarn that imitates the palmata plant straw that’s used to make Panama hats. Paper straw has the same look and feel as palmata plant fibers, plus, it’s super durable, light in weight, and can be dyed any color. Paper straw is an affordable alternative to palmata straw.
Modal comes from the fibre of a beechwood tree. It is a semi-synthetic cellulose fiber made by spinning reconstituted cellulose from beech trees. Modal fiber feels similar to cotton or silk. It is super soft and comfortable, skin-friendly, lightweight and easy-care. Modal is used alone or often blended with other fibers like cotton or spandex, and can be found in many home textiles, clothing and accessories.
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Raffia is a natural fiber which comes from the long frond leaves of raffia palm trees. Perfect for hats, it is light weight, naturally light brown in color, can be dyed, is strong and beautiful. It is widely used throughout the world in twine, rope, baskets, hats, shoes and textiles. It is native to Madagascar and grown naturally in the eastern coast of Africa.
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Papyrus is a tall aquatic plant. It is strong and green hued. It has a very long history of use by humans, notably by the Ancient Egyptians...it’s fibrous strands taken from the stem of the plant were used to weave baskets, sandals, mats. Also called Nile Grass, it is the source of papyrus paper, one of the first types of paper ever made. It grows throughout Africa, Madagascar, and the Mediterranean.
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Jute is a natural vegetable fiber obtained from the bark of the jute plant. Natural jute fiber is a golden color and is the second most widely used fiber in the world, next to cotton. It is a soft fiber that can be spun into a more strong or coarse thread, making it very versatile. Jute can be found in everything from clothing and hats to fabric, bags and carpet. The majority of the world's jute is harvested in Bangladesh and India.
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Seagrass is actually a flowering plant. It grows in shallow sea coasts in nearly every part of the world. Most seagrass straw that is woven into hats comes from the reed-like marshes of the China coast. The natural color is often green hued to light brown and is rarely bleached.
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Like wool, linen is one of those naturally-derived materials that has so many attributes, it’s never gone out of style. The fibers used to make linen fabric are derived from the flax plant. These fibers don’t stretch, and they’re much stronger and more lustrous than cotton. In fact, they’re so durable, linen is actually stronger when wet than when dry. Cool to the touch, and highly absorbent, linen is often used for clothing designed to be worn in hot, humid climates. It has a smooth, abrasion-resistant surface, making it virtually lint-free.
Viscose is a rayon fabric made from viscose rayon fibers – which are created from a combination of natural (regenerated wood cellulose) and man-made components. Structurally similar to cotton, it is breathable like cotton, but has a silky look and feel, and a beautifully sensual drape.