14th-15th Century

Adventures in Hair Taping

I am only just barely allowed to carry a girl card. I have long hair (mid-back).. but I pretty much lack clue about how to do girl things with my long hair. Recently I find myself fascinated with hair taping. Specifically it seems that hair taping is exactly the base needed to keep ear irons, a tudor coif and finally a round bonnet and frontlet in place. To that end I’ve started doing hair taping under my medieval head dress. In doing this I’ve run into a few issues.

Method 1: From “The Tudor Tailor” p. 142
The model’s hair is waist length. Requires two tapes cut long enough to go twice around the head.
– Run a part down the center of the whole head.
– Start braiding each side just behind the ear.
– Incorporate a ribbon into the braid. The braid is bound and tied off leaving a length of ribbon hanging free.
– The plaits are crossed over the top of the head and secured with a couple of hair pins.
– The ends of the ribbons are crossed again at the nape and tied together at the top of the head. The loose ends are tucked in and pinned.

Method 2: From “The Tudor Child” p. 140.
The child model’s hair is probably shoulder length. The braids start on the back of the neck and end at the top of the head. Tieing the tapes together is sufficient to keep the braids on top of her head.
– Lay the tape across the back of the neck.
– Run a part down the center of the whole head.
– Incorporate the tape into the braids.
– Pull the braids up to the top of the head and tie the tapes together.
– Use pins to hold down stray hair.

Method 3: From Tudor Tailor “Off With Their Hoods” demonstration at Costume College 2015 (Photo set from FB Elizabethan Costume Group)
Jane, the model, has very long hair. Possibly butt-length.
– Lay the tape across the back of the neck.
– Run a part down the center of the whole head.
– Wrap the hair with the tape (or incorporate the tape into the braid itself)
– Smooth the tape down the hair and then end the braid with a half hitch to hold the tape in place.
– pull the braids up and over the top of the head.
– Stitch remaining tape around braids to hold them in place.
– Once the stitching reaches the bottom wrap any remaining tape around the front of the braids until you can tie it off at the top of the head.

My issues:
– As always doing this to yourself is a PITA. Issues may have been resolved by getting someone else to do this to my hair but that’s not a good long-term solution for me.
– I found that coiling the tape around the hank of hair to be highly insecure. Once the hair hanks were wrapped pulling on the tape to secure the braids to the head caused the tape to slip off the braid. I’ve “fixed” this by going with the second method and instead incorporating the tape into the braids directly.
– My hair is shorter than Jane’s hair. I suspect that some of my “falling out of the stitch” issues are occurring because I can only wrap the braid once around my head with the tail ending up just above the opposite ear.
– Where should the braids start? behind the ear, base of the skull, low on the back of the head? I’ve been starting right behind the ears. I’ve had best luck when I start off super-tight with the braid. If the braid is too loose the hair just slops about on my head.
– How do you keep the braids affixed at the crown of the head? When I’ve stitched the hair onto the top of my head I’ve noticed the braids slipping towards the back of the head. I currently have no solution for this other then using more bobby-pins.
– How do you keep the braids from slipping out of the loops with which they’re sewn onto the head? During the day I’ve noticed the braids slipping down towards their starting point. Do I just need to sew tighter or is there some trick I’m missing? The best I’ve come up with is to be sure to pierce the braids occasionally when stitching them on.
– Is there some magical way to take this out without ending up with a snarled mess?

All that said, once my hair is up it makes a fine base for a coif, round bonnet and frontlet.

Recreating Veils and Hairstyles of the Middle Ages: 14th Century Italian Hair Styles

3 thoughts on “Adventures in Hair Taping

  1. When I wore my hair in braids wrapped around my head, I secured the top with a small comb — pushed in slightly under the braids. Both braids were then pinned firmly to the comb with U-shaped stout hairpins. Nearly invisible, and stayed up most of the day. Since my hair ran sideways from a center part on both sides, there was at least some resistance to it slipping backward on my head.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.