Both plaits and hats are largely exported.
It is only in certain areas that straw suitable for making plaits is produced.
The most valuable straw for plaits is grown in Tuscany, and from it the well-known Tuscan plaits and Leghorn hats are made.
The straw of Tuscany, specially grown for plaiting, is distinguished into three qualities - Pontederas Semone being the finest, Mazzuolo the second quality, from which the bulk of the plaits are made, while from the third quality, Santa Fioro, only "Tuscan pedals" and braids are plaited.
Tuscan plaits and hats vary enormously in quality and value; the plait of a hat of good quality may represent the work of four or five days, while hats of the highest quality may each occupy six to nine months in making.
Formerly gave employment to many thousands of women and young children; but now vast quantities of plaits are imported at a very cheap rate from Italy, China and Japan.
The plaits are sewed partly by hand and in a special sewing-machine, and the hats or bonnets are finished by stiffening with gelatin size and blocking into shape with the aid of heat and powerful pressure, according to the dictates of fashion.
Many substances besides straw are worked into plaits and braids for bonnets.
Head and cut across in a straight line; behind it is divided into very many small plaits, which hang down the back, and are lengthened by silken cords, and often adorned with gold coins and ornaments.
The hair is sometimes worn plaited (choti), usually an odd number of thin plaits made into one large one, falling down the back and fastened at the end with ribbons.
It has, like the Turkish frockcoat, a very loose sleeve, with many plaits behind.
The mesenteries are provided with well-developed longitudinal retractor muscles, supported on longitudinal folds or plaits of the mesogloea, so that in cross-section they have a branched appearance.
Sonya was a slender little brunette with a tender look in her eyes which were veiled by long lashes, thick black plaits coiling twice round her head, and a tawny tint in her complexion and especially in the color of her slender but graceful and muscular arms and neck.
But before Pierre could decide what answer he would send, the countess herself in a white satin dressing gown embroidered with silver and with simply dressed hair (two immense plaits twice round her lovely head like a coronet) entered the room, calm and majestic, except that there was a wrathful wrinkle on her rather prominent marble brow.