A pleated hair piece (perfect for a racing carnival): a tutorial

Well, hi. Hello there. Oh gawd. That’s me. I feel a bit uncomfortable putting that picture up there. It’s so, well, big. And it looks so bloody posed. Which it is. But it isn’t. I mean, it wasn’t meant to look that posed. I call this photo: “Hello there, my name is Betty and I enjoy long walks on the beach and tinkering with my Maloo”.

But there you have it. Moi. With something in my hair. Let’s discuss.

A few weeks ago on a glorious sunny day, a girlfriend (a particularly hilarious and beautiful one: it’s relevant later) and I headed off to Flemington Race Course for a day at the Autumn Carnival. This is a much quieter affair than November’s Spring Carnival when the famous Melbourne Cup is run which suits me just fine because it means all the glamour and fashion without the huge crowds. Oh, and a horse or two.

Here’s another picture so you can get an idea of how it looks from the front.

See that glint in my eyes? I inherited that look (and the beads, by the way) from Betty. It generally means I am after laughs (even if they’re just my own) at all costs.

Back to the races. If there is one thing apart from fashion that is truly synonymous with horse racing carnivals (and no, I’m not referring to vomiting inebriates and porta loos) it’s hats. This fact sent me into a small panic because I had only one day’s notice to pull together something to wear on my bod AND something to wear on my head.

The bod bit I sorted quite quickly but the head bit proved more troublesome. I didn’t want a hat or fascinator (and despite what I said in this post, I didn’t want to go for a full 1920s-style sparkly headband) but I did want something elegant. But also kind of cute.

I didn’t hit on this idea until late the night before but it was so simple and I like it so much I thought you might too.

It’s kind of a riff on a ruffle. A ruff riff , if you will.

So, I hope I’m not being presumptuous but I’ve gone right ahead and prepared a tutorial for you.

What you need:

  • Strips of a fabric you adore.
  • Tacky fabric glue. I like Super-Tac by Helmar because it is flexible when it’s dry.
  • A clip or comb or some other thing to affix the hair piece to your own tresses.
  • Glue or needle and thread.

What to do:

1. Cut a strip of fabric to your desired length. The polka dot piece is roughly 85 cm x 4.5 cm (which includes a 1/2 cm inch seam allowance so the finished piece is 3.5cm  wide.)

The plaid strip measures 80cm by 7cm and will give you a squatter, shorter finished piece. The yellow is 90cm by 5cm and will give you a longer, thinner one.

2. Fold fabric in half length-ways, right sides (ie the nice sides) together and pin. So, at one end you’ll have a fold and at the other an open end.

3. Leaving a 1/4 inch (or 1/2 cm) seam allowance (I just use the outside edge of my presser foot as a guide) begin to sew from the opening down one of the longest sides, then sew across the short folded end and continue back up the other long side until you reach the opening again. So, you’re basically sewing three sides of the strip – leaving the short edged gap at the end open.

4. Turn out your fabric so that now you have the nice side of your fabric showing and poke out the bottom ends with a chopstick or some such so they are nice and angular. You should be left with a kind of sad-looking windsock affair like this.

5. Iron your poor windsock thingy flat. Prepare to fold.

6. Continue folding until you can fold no more (or have achieved the desired number of pleats) and then flip your pleated failed windsock (carefully so you are still holding the folds in place), and tuck the raw end behind one of the back folds.

If your folds are many and your piece is long, you might find it easier to clip your folds as you go, like this.

7. Glue in the crease of each pleat but only use one or two centimetres of glue in each fold. Like this.

And now glue the second pleat.

You don’t want to glue each pleat all the way down as you’re aiming for movement and flexibility in your finished piece. This is also the reason why we’re glueing and not sewing down the middle. Sewing would hinder its capacity for each pleat to flip up a bit and kind of mold to the curve of your head. And in the end, if it sticks up anywhere that it should be sitting flat, a little bobby pin will do the trick.

8. Once you’ve glue your front pleats, flip over to the back and basically glue into every fold and pretty much any old which way you want to keep it all together.

9. Once the glue has dried, attach a clip or comb or a  bit of chewing gum if you like – whatever is going to keep it anchored to your head. I just super-glued these on. You can see the backs are in keeping with my cowboy approach – ie far from perfect.

And that’s it my friends.

Looks cute on kids too.

So back to the races, we spent the day sipping champagne and generally being frighteningly witty and scintillating. Or so we thought. But we must have been relatively good company as we ended up spending most of the afternoon with some of the Aussie celebs that had been hired for the day to bring a touch of ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the event (over and above what my girlfriend and I were already bringing – so yes, the celebs were a little bit redundant but we didn’t obviously say that to them).

Here I am with my new bff.

Yes ladies, that is the frighteningly handsome, smiley-eyed and extremely lovely Hugh Sheridan. Talk about a triple threat. For overseas readers, Hugh is in a popular tv drama here. I used to love it. But then it kind of jumped the shark. But now that I know he’s such a darling in real life, I’m back on board. And see how he’s kind of reaching up to wipe his chin? I’m pretty sure that’s because he’s just spat out a mouthful of champagne at something insanely hilarious I’ve just said. See the glint in my eyes?

This is George Houvardas. He’s in the same tv show. I am not even joking when I say we had been discussing the Peloponnesian War just before this photo was taken. These young whipper-snapper actors aren’t just pretty faces, I tell ya.

And here is Mr Sheridan and I again.

Can you see that glint in my eyes yet again? I have not laughed so much in a long, long time. I actually had sore stomach muscles the next day. From the laughing, mind. It was one of those magical days that just come out of nowhere and get better and  better. And while we’re on glints in the eye, let me just say that Mr Sheridan was more than a tiny bit taken with aforementioned gorgeous and hilarious girlfriend. Yes, he’s also a man of impeccable taste.

What’s that? Do a whole tutorial just so I can post pictures of me hanging out with some relatively unknown but lovely and pretty Aussie celebs? I sure did girlfriends.

PS: I didn’t personally see them but apparently there were horses racing as well.

8 thoughts on “A pleated hair piece (perfect for a racing carnival): a tutorial

  1. Judging by the picture of Sophia, she has that same Betty glint in her eye my dear…you may have to play wing woman to her at the autumn races in about 7 years (have you seen the tweens on Stakes Day?!!!). You will have to fight off those small screen actors with a very big stick – either that or help her take her pick. Love the clip and the fabulous story! Nice one centurion nice one 🙂

  2. YOu are just as beautiful as ever, gorgeous girl! Even across the ocean that glint in the eye almost blinds me. It’s so good to know that the art of flirting has not died and is still alive in Oz. But really – Hugh Sheridan – sounds (and looks) like he just walked out of a Jane Austen novel.
    (But what, oh what is a Maloo?)

  3. Ahh, you guys, you’re making me blush. I felt quite exposed indeed putting pics like that up there for all to see so I do appreciate your loveliness.
    Arlene – hello! Lovely to hear from you. In answer to your question – a Maloo is a kind of ute (I believe you call them utilities) muscle car thingy. I think. I just love to tell people I’m tinkering with my Maloo because it sounds vaguely suggestive and makes me laugh! Mature, I know.
    Lynne – in answer to your cheeky question, I can tell you what I wasn’t doing and that is tinkering with *his* Maloo. he already has people who do that for him I believe. xxxx

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