Many of the European turbans pictured in last month's article could be recreated, the same way turbans have been for centuries, by wrapping fabric around one's head with no sewing involved. In this month's article I will show you how to wrap three turbans: one in the 1795-1800's style and two in the 1800-1815 style.
As discussed last month, the turbans from these time periods lend themselves to recreation via simple wrapped turbans, unlike many of the turbans from the earlier and later time periods.
The first turban is made from a simple sheer white silk scarf, 14” by 60” (35 x 150cm), a bandeau and two long ostrich plumes [see below for US and UK suppliers of everything you'll need - Ed.] In the late 18th Century this style of turban could have been wrapped silk, but sheer cottons and nets were also popular choices.
The early 19th Century ones are wrapped from long pieces of fabric and both create a two color turban but in very different manners. I used a combination of both fabric and a sari. The sari I used on the third turban is only a partial sari - it was what was left after the fancier trim edge was cut away for use as trim on another costume. As with the earlier period many of the turbans in the early 19th Century were wrapped with fine cottons from the Orient.
I photographed the turbans below from the back with a mirror in the photograph so that you can see what goes on in each step.
Late 18th Century Crownless Turban with a Bandeau and Ostrich plumes
|Before putting your long curly wig on, pin the upper curls out of the way. That is of course if you were not born with a full set of long curls.|
|Adjust your wig. Notice on the table to the right is the bandeau. The bandeau is just a band of buckram that is wired on both sides that is covered with a long fabric tube that opens in the center front. Coming from the back of the center of the bandeau is a twisted wire “W” that is attached to the back of the band on one arm of the “W” and the other two will support the plumes.|
|Place the bandeau making sure that your pinned curls are above the bandeau in the back and the support for the plumes is in the center front.|
|Pin the center of the silk scarf to the bandeau with a corsage pin. Unpin the bottom row of curls.|
|Wrap first one then the other end of the scarf around the bandeau. In the center front let the bandeau show. Tuck the free ends of the scarf into the other layers of the turban. Make sure you bring the scarf in front of the wire “W”. Unpin the rest of your curls.|
|Place your ostrich plumes on the millinery wire supports. Note: The plumes are each made from two large straight ostrich feathers. They have been sewn together in twos with a modified blanket stitch. Before being sewn together extra material is cut away from the base of the stems. A groove is cut in the front of the back feather and a groove is cut in the back of the front feather so that when they are sewn together there is a hole up the middle. This can be fitted onto the wire. For more on how to join and shape ostrich plumes see Joining, Shaping and Curling Feathers on my own website.|
|Add a decorative pin in the center front of the bandeau and you are done.|
A Two Color Early 19th Century Turban
Full widths of modern fabric do not make the best turbans, but narrower widths of around 20" (50cm) work well. Because this turban was made from fabric that comes 54” (135cm) wide I cut it into bias strips about 16” (40cm) wide and sewed these together with French seams.
I also added a short strip that was on the straight of grain so that I could unravel the edge to create a fringe for the start end.
For the other end I sewed a bias strip of the same width of another color fabric.
A Very Different Two Color Early 19th Century Turban
YouTube videos demonstrating different ways to wrap a turban
I found it very helpful to view some of the many videos the YouTube site has on subject of wrapping turbans. (Ed: See below for some videos of Sikh turban wrapping to compare and contrast with these historical turbans.) There are many ways. Seeing the different ways is a real help and you can pick and choose what will work best for you.
Silk Scarves, Saris, Pashimas
Silk Scarves for under $5: Dharma Trading
Both of these sites carry pashima/silk mix scarves for around $30.
Online silk fabric source
Buckram and Millinery Supplies
Richard the Thread,Los Angeles, Ca, Fax (323) 852-1604, Phone (800) 473-4997
Lacis, Berkely, Ca, Fax (510) 843-5018, Phone (510) 843-7178
California Millnery Supply Co., Los Angeles, Ca, Phone (213) 662-8746
Hats By Leko, 1 800 817 HATS(4287)
Lamplight Feather P.O. Box 867 Fort Jones CA 96032 Call us toll free (within USA) (800) 806-5149
Hollywood Fancy Feathers Co., No. Hollywood, Ca, Fax (818) 982-2919, Phone (800) 828-6689
Eskay Novelty, New York, NY, Fax (212) 921-7926, Phone (800) 237-2202
For corsage pins, beads and trim, try your local craft store (JoAnn's, Hancocks, Hobby Lobby, Michael's, etc.)
Some people swear that it's way better to buy direct from India: Utav Sarees
Also, don't forget that Britain has an enormous Indian population and you'll probably find Indian clothing stores in every major town. For example:
Bradford - Bombay Stores, Gt Horton Rd
Leicester - Belgrave Gate
Manchester - Wilmslow Rd in Rusholme
London - East End, try Whitechapel High St and Brick Lane; also Goldhawk Rd, Shepherd's Bush; Balham High Road, Tooting
Glasgow - the city end of Great Western Road in the West End; in the South Side, Cathcart Road and Victoria Road.
Pashmina shawls and silk scarves
Available from around £20 at both these sites:
Whaleys - Bradford Ltd; Also try John Lewis
MacCulloch & Wallis - the transparent stuff is available per metre
CJ Millinery - download the price list and you'll find millinery wire at the bottom
Ostriches Online - Ostrich, pheasant, peacock, marabou and many more available for surprisingly low prices.
Wigs and hairpieces
"Party" costume stores such as Great Wigs should be able to help you out at a budget price, but the best is Angels the Costumiers
I (Cathy) found a beautiful hairpiece at my local Debenhams in Nottingham - this was much better quality than the cheap "party" type wig.
The Essentials Company or try your local florist
Length of beads or pearls
MacCulloch & Wallis - Beads, also try John Lewis and Ebay
Decorative pins/turban jewels/aigrettes
Some very suitable vintage style brooches can be found for a price at Butler and Wilson - brooches
Also try Treasure Box - brooches and Bejewelled Vintage, and the feather brooches at The Feather Factory
Try asking for a 'kalgi' or turban pin in an Indian or Sikh jewellery store. They're traditionally worn by bridegrooms but will be just the thing for your turban.
Finally, don't forget to try Ebay, car boot sales and antique shops!
Website recommendations are intended as a guide only; YWU cannot be held responsible for your experience with any of these suppliers!