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How to Make a Regency Turban
Create the Mood

(with a few short-cuts)
* page under construction, please come back to see more photographs *


1815 fashion print
colour inspiration

1809 fashion print


1816 promenade

This is how I made a turban, with a limited amount of matching fabric and under tight time constraints.
So I used a few short-cuts.

I like to mix-and-match costume items to be able to dress to suit every occasion. The burgandy velvet matches the coat (pelisse) that I had recently made. The gold fabric of the crown matches the under-dress of a 1817 ball gown.


make the maroon velvet roll - stuffing
At the centre of the roll is thick piping cord to give it some solidity.

I measured my head and added a few inches for the overlap.

Once the ends of piping cord are cut they unravel very quickly, so I covered them with duck tape.
[With more time I would have glued the ends. ]
I wished the turban to be flexible in use so that it grips the head lightly. So the ends were not sewn together.

I had changed my ironing-board cover that morning - so used the inside of that to stuff the roll for this turban.

The piping cord laid onto the wadding.

Duck tape held the piping cord in place on the wadding layer before rolling.

Pins held the roll together after rolling.

Herringbone stitch holds the roll together. The roll was checked on my head to see that it was still the correct size.

The ends were tacked into a circle so that the back of the roll is thinner than the front.

A lining (cut in a circle to avoid the inevitable creases) is tacked over the roll to stop small fibres of the wadding working their way through to the outside fabric.

The lining ends were pinned and the roll checked again for size before sewing.
make the maroon velvet roll - velvet cover

I only had a small piece of fabric, unpicked from a bag that was not authentic enough for me.



This fabric was sewn together into a circle. Then both sides were gathered with large tacking stiches.

Velvet pinned onto the roll.

To get the diagonal gathers I pinned and tacked one edge to the roll before starting on the other.

make the crown from gold fabric

The crown is a large circle of gold fabric. For speed I drew around the largest circle I had - an old hat box

But since it was not large enough I added 2" to the circumference

Having cut the paper template, I tried it on my head to check for size.

I cut out a circle in vilene. I used white tailors chalk for contrast when marking on black vilene.

and cut it out.


The vilene circle was then placed onto the wrong side of the gold fabric and ironed with gentle circular actions until the vilene glue melted.

gold fabric circle cut out, right side


I folded the fabric to check the edge to ensure that it was still circular.

I tacked a pattern of stitches from the centre outwards (leaving the outer ends of the threads free), and also a circle around the outer edge.

I knoted the centre ends of the radiating stitches together on the gold side, to make it easy to remove the stitches when they were no longer needed.

put crown and roll together

Gold circle gathered around edge to make the crown.


Gold circle pinned inside the velvet-covered roll with ends of radial tacking stitches loose.

The roll and crown were sewn together inside the roll with large stitches.

A lot of this sewing was done with a curved needle wearing an old leather glove to grip properly

Gold fabric crown and roll, outside
[more photographs to be added here]
stiffen crown

For speed I used a modern nylon hat as the crown
base to achieve the correct profile. I could have used millinary wire.

I removed the brim, to be used in another project, unpicking the machine stitches

and pushed the nylon crown inside the gold circle to keep the shape.
  [more photographs to be added here]  
add the tassel and decoration

I used an old gold tassel long enough to hang down over my shoulder. This was a military affectation of British officers that fashionable ladies copied. The men's tassels were much more elaborate and longer than this one.

I pushed the last bead on the tassel through the open end of the fabric tube and sewed it in place from the outside with tiny stitches that do not show.

to be continued


Create the Mood 's costume craft workshops and practical demonstrations with have-a-go for adults and older children can be organised in the UK. You provide the people and the topic and Create the Mood organises everything else. Contact us to discuss your ideas.


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last updated 25 January, 2012

Create the Mood