Tying Your Own Turban Part 1; The Cat-Ear Turban

Turbans were very popular in 1940s fashion and continues to be a staple in many vintage girls’ styling. They can cover a multitude of ‘bad hair day’ sins, can be used to cover your rollers or pincurls and can be used to create drama instead of a hat. For a more in-depth look at the history of the original 1940s turban hat, please refer to my first blog post “It’s a hat trick!

 In this tutorial blog post, I will talk you through creating one of my favourite go-to turbans that is simple to assemble and yet high impact in terms of style. I am sure there will be a number of different variations of creating this look but this is the way I style it, and so far, it has worked well for me. The beauty of all of the turbans that I will show you is that they are all very inexpensive and easy to recreate, who says style has to be costly?!

This first style is commonly referred to as the “Cat Ear” turban due to the two mounds that resemble ears either side of the head. In order to create the look you will need the following:

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What you will need: fabric (1.5m x 0.5m), brooches, bobby pins and flowers (all optional)
  • Piece of fabric – I source mine from the local market but a 1.5m long piece by 0.5m width is plenty big enough. I prefer to use some with stretch (jersey fabric) to get a tighter fit to the head but this is optional
  • Bobby pins – optional
  • Hair Net – optional
  • Accessories –optional. I like to accessorise my turbans with brooches or flowers but these again are entirely up to you!

Preparation: You want to ensure that the hair that you do not want on show (this could be all of it or most of it) is secured to the head and out of the way. This makes it much easier to assemble the turban but also ensures that the turban will fit the shape of your head more neatly. I recommend using bobby pins to fix the hair to your head or alternatively you can use a hairnet to capture your hair and keep it all together. If you have your hair in pincurls or rollers then this step is not necessary as all of your hair is already fixed to your head. Once your hair is fixed out of the way you are ready to start!

You can create this turban by following the 10 easy steps described below:

  1. Roughly find the centre of the length of the fabric you are using – you want to have approximately equal fabric either side of the head20170122_130025
  2. Place the fabric behind your head and then fold over the front edge underneath so that the turban edge that runs over the top of the head is neat. I fold approximately 1-2 inches over as shown.20170122_130042
  3. Place the fabric over the head, leaving out any hair at the front that you may wish to have on show. I typically style mine with a front roll, either in the centre or to one side as pictured here. Of course you don’t have to show any hair if you don’t wish to!
  4. Gather the fabric over the head and tuck in the hair underneath so that there is no hair poking out at the bottom. Try to make sure that the bottom edge of the fabric that sits under the nape of your neck is also tucked under as this will create a smooth shape and line. Tip: at this stage you may wish to use bobby pins to secure the fabric to your head. I don’t personally but it is helpful when getting to grips with creating these styles as there is less pressure on you having to make sure the fabric doesn’t slip!
  5. Gather the fabric at either side of your head (at the nape of your neck) and then cross them over behind the neck so that the excess fabric on the left side is now passed to the right and vice versa. This will create tension across the fabric covering your head and will ensure that the turban will stay in place.
  6. Take the fabric at either side of the head upwards above your head, cross them over and then tie, pulling tightly.  Tip: when taking the fabric up at the sides to tie, make sure that the pleats are arranged neatly and any side edges are tucked in. This is most aesthetically pleasing!!!

  7. You should now have some excess fabric either side of the knot at each side; take the fabric on the right side, hold directly upwards above your head and roll downwards with the fabric roll at the BACK (i.e. rolling the fabric backwards). In the video I first roll it forwards to show you how to roll it but then I unroll and re-roll backwards.
  8. Find the edge of the fabric in the right side of the tied section and tuck the rolled fabric underneath this. Use your hands to sculpt and mould to the right shape.20170122_130433
  9. On the left side, roll the fabric downwards and again find the edge of the fabric in the tied section and tuck this roll underneath. Again, sculpt and mould with your fingers to create the desired shape.
  10. Tuck any lumps and bumps in the fabric into the base of the turban at the back of the neck to create a smooth profile. Optional: use flowers, brooches, feathers or any other accessories of your choice to finish the look!

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So there you have it, a very stylish cat ear turban in a matter of minutes! Please feel free to use the comments section to let me know how you get on in creating this look.

The video accompanying this tutorial blog is available on my YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/a6TJQZ-Pd-s

Stay tuned as there are two additional parts to this series of DIY turban tutorials, the next turban I will show you is a side-twist turban…..

Sam x

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