I have been obsessed with straw hats. I want one, I want one for each of the children .... and most importantly..... I want them all to be accurate. I started with research, of course, and found that the craft straw hats found today are not what I'm looking for but I picked one up at a yard sale for 10 cents anyway. I wanted to see just how they are put together today and if it was even possible to hand sew on straw. In my imagination I could envision the straw disintegrating with each stitch. You can imagine my delight when the sewing was very easy and the straw held up very well.
In my research I found that the pattern of the modern plaiting is correct but where we use whole straw, they used split straw. The split straw plait is much narrower.... as small as 5mm wide.
Here is a book reference from 1860 about period straw plaiting:
The first neat item mentioned in that reference is a straw splitter made of metal in the early 1800s. You can still pick them up on-line:
As is my custom, I will use this post as a repository for future research on this topic