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Georiana Cavendish by Thomas Gainsborough

Georgian Hair Pouf

Hair is a wonderful way to bring a bit of the past into a modern look. Here is a way to build up some extreme period hairstyles, to compliment your gothic, lolita or other theatrical fashions!

When we think of the 18th century, we think of the enormous hairstyles, that overshadowed the even bigger skirts. As an English lass I've always been particularly drawn to the crazy wild curls we see on the ladies artists like Gainsborough painted.

Desperate to force my tresses into such a style, but conscious of the damage to the environment and my hair such a treatment would wreck, as well as living in a dress and go (and bath every day) kind of world, I came up with a way to get the style in 10 minutes or less for a night out! It just requires a bit of work on the front end.

Getting the Style

Ladies back in the day would use all kinds of poufs and props to build their hair styles on top of, to get the height, shape and size of their monstrous hair dos. Here we can make an updated version of such a pouf, as well as take a bit of the styling work out of the hair dressing when it's time to get get dressed....

  • For this project you will need: Buckram, Hot glue Gun, Weave clips, Human hair weft (to match your natural color), Hair net, Spray paint (close to your natural Hair color), Soft toy Stuffing, Needle and Thread
Buckram Base
Step 1: Make a base for your puff by cutting a strip of buckram and hot glue gunning in some pleats to fit the contour of the head (a styrofoam head will help you work this out) Then sew on some wig clips front and back, and either side.
stuffing base painted base
 Step 2: take some stuffing like you would use for teddy bears, and glue this to the buckram  Step 3: Next chose a spry paint color similar to your hair color and spray all over the toy stuffing. (You might want to glue a hair net or 2 over this once dry for extra stability.)
Ratted Hair Puff
 Step 5: Now with your hair weft, back comb and rat out 2 pieces, one as long as your base front, and the other as long as your base back. Step 6: Glue the ratted hair all over your puff.
You can just use a puff like this to go under your natural hair, much like ladies would have done in the past. For those of us short on time, or short on hair, it's easier to cover it with the rest of your weft as in the next section...
Curls Curly puff
Step7: Tightly curl your weft on a small hot curling iron with extra strong hair spry. leave it to dry for a while, come back and separate the curls with your fingers. Step8: Now start to glue down the curled weft to the puff, starting at the front, and making each layer set back from the last, just far enough that the curls from the first line will cover the woven weft of the next line.
stitch Side
Step 8: with a needle and thread start to sew down the curls from the line in front, to the weft on the next layer behind. Try to cover the puff and wefts as well as possible with the curls all over. Step 9: leave a few curls hanging down at the side for a more natural and romantic effect.
Step10: I fixed some large curls to the back to frame the area where I shall style my natural hair in the back Your finished Georgian pouf is now ready to wear!

Wearing the Pouf

Pouf worn front view
Pouf worn back view
I styled my hair is a slightly more modern way, but you can pull all of your natural hair in the front back for a more period accurate look

To wear I simply braided my hair from temple to temple leaving the back and front down. Secured the braid flat across my head, and clipped the hair piece over this braid to secure.

I then curled the front pieces as I did the curls for the hair piece, and with bobby pins secured these curls to hide the base of the hair piece.

I then took 2 sections on either side from the back, and curled them into ringlets to hang over the shoulders.

The rest of my hair I bunched together at the end, and fastened the end under the hair piece to form a loop fashionable during the 18th century.

This is s slightly trickier tutorial than most so far, but i hope it will help you achieve your big hair dreams! Ladies used poufs of all shapes and sizes, so experiment and find the right pouf for you!

Additional hair Styling links!

Marquise [Instruction on different 18th century hair styles, german text]

Historische Frisuren:[More 18th century hair instructions, also in German]

Demode: Tall 1770's style pouf, this one's in English!

Bibliography

Nihongami No Seki: [Ishihara ] (Traditional Japanese hairstyling and period european hairstyling are surprisingly similar)

The Techniques of Ladies' hair Dressing of the 19th Century [Campbell, Mallemont]

 

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