Sunday, July 1, 2012

Turban Tying

I'm in the process of preparing for a renaissance fair that will be taking place up in Shaver Lake, CA in a few weeks and I thought I would go as a "gypsy" for this fair. I tend to do renaissance fairs when I am able to, whether it's for bellydancing, playing a "gypsy" character or going as an English peasant to play in the dirt and have fun. As you can see, I use quotes for the word gypsy because it is a known fact that most who are labeled as such are the Romani who view this word as a slander or slur against them. They are offended by the word, but I use it so people can easily identify a person's character in these renaissance reenactments. So, back to the topic at hand.

I've been gathering my costume pieces together to figure out what I will be wearing and have decided on a brown/beige stripped ghawazee vest I made a few weeks ago (never been used), black harem pants, a chevron pattern tassel belt I made earlier this year and a white top with embroidery around the neck and edges of the sleeves. The costume looks great together, but looking in the mirror I had realized that I am missing an important key factor. The head. What was I going to do with my hair? What was I going to cover my head with? During the renaissance times, "gypsies" and most other cultures had their heads covered both for religious and culture reasons. This does include the English as well. I had to come up with an option to have my head covered and I didn't know where to start. Then it hit me. I could use a turban. Not only will this keep the hair back, but it will prevent the top of my head getting burned since I will be out in the sun all day. My next step was to find out how to make a turban.

Now when you see pictures, you often wonder how turbans are made for dancing. A lot of times you can use an existing scarf you may own or find a cheapy one at Walmart that may work. Other times people may use scrap material from their sewing to make these. Either way, you will need a long rectangular shaped fabric piece in order to make this work. It will need to be wide enough that the beginning point starts at your forehead and travels down to the nape of your neck. The length doesn't matter as long as it is long enough to wrap around your head a few times.

In doing some research on the turban tying and the different ways to tie a turban, I found a wonderful woman on YouTube who does an excellent job of breaking down the steps to tying a turban in not only one style, but three. Below you can watch all three videos she produced.

Any one of these will make the turban secure and give you a look you can play with for performing or as a character you may play for renaissance fairs or parties. You can even go as far as using a couple of scarves to accent colors and textures reflected in your costume. These would need to be varying lengths so you don't have so much fabric to wrap around. The last thing you would want is to have a giant turban on and have your head look tiny. For the base scarf, you will want to be able to wrap it around your head once before tucking the ends and going on to the next scarf which may be longer if you wish to wrap this one around your head 2 times.

Once the turban is on, you can now start playing with looks. You can have feathers, tribal belt/jewelry pieces or pins stuck to the turban to add some flare. I have seen some women who have taken simple tribal belts and tied those around their heads (while tucking the strings away in the turban) to give a nice middle eastern exotic look. The possibilities are endless, it just depends on what you can come up with to make it work for what you are wearing.

Try it out and have fun!

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