The Dress Like Frida Sewalong Week 5; Hair and Head-dressing

One of the defining features of Frida’s look is what is happening on your head.  If you are lucky enough to have long hair part it down the middle, make two long plaits, including ribbon in the mix if you want more bulk, then bring them round to the front and pin to your head. Then decorate with flowers or just leave it simple.

We maybe familiar with Iberian hair styles from our “Brits go to Spain” holidays. I used to love these embroidered post cards and find them very evocative. The Spanish dancers often wear their hair towards the back of the head with flowers at cheek level. The dancers’ thick, dark hair is glossy and elegant. I have had hair envy from that time and place (maybe we always want something we cannot have!)

Embroidered picture post card
Vintage Spanish post card

Frida usually has a centre parting although in some shots she has her hair pulled back from her head into a top knot. In most of the other photographs her hair is pulled towards the back first. Here is some Frida inspiration – I have done a second Pinterest board.


Although there are some loose hair styles generally Frida generally wears an up-do, often with some plaiting and usually oiled to give the glossy look. The simplest look, if you have long hair, is to plait some ribbon or fabric into your hair, tying the ribbons in a fancy bow at the front of your head.

If you have African hair you can certainly do this look but you may need some variations. If you have scant or short gringo hair you may have to build up the look with a cushioned hair band, or crocheted “hair”, or use an Alice band that you can attach flowers or pom poms to. Consider a centre parting, plaiting or anything that gives sufficient bulk to balance the long skirt, wide tops and shawls. It is easier to wear a head-dress if you create a base with your hair first.

Week 5: The Headdress

The simplest way to create a Frida look is to add fresh flowers to your natural hair. If your hair is fairly thick you could just tuck a flower into it. Slightly more permanent is a hair comb, to which you attach fresh flowers. I used this method for the marriage of my son to beautiful Brazilian girl Bianca. I had a crown with cornflowers and little pink flowers for myself and combs for the Brazilian ladies and Esme. I tried to match the flowers to the colours in everyone’s outfits. It was a nice approach, much prettier than hats or fascinators.

Flowers on a comb wedding look
Esme reading at George and Bianca’s wedding

I made a crown for Esme’s wedding too. Basically this involves making a circle that is roughly head shaped from wire. This is wrapped in florists green tape. The individual blooms and leaves are pierced with narrow straight wires, twisted and then arranged on the crown and the thin wire is wrapped around the halo. These wires and ends are then re-wrapped with the florists tape so it is comfortable and safe.

Wedding flower crown
Esme with flower crown and John

For this project I tried to use what natural plant material I could find in the country, free of charge. I went out with a pair of scissors and a carrier bag and three little helpers. We noticed that most of the plant material was green; that purple, yellow and white were the key colours; that some of the best shapes such as thistles and teasels were “spikey” and therefore likely to uncomfortable, or “fluffy” and probably unstable. We looked for wood that was flexible enough to bend into crowns and used thread, wool or fuse wire to hold it all together.

I was very impressed with the work the girls were able to do. They made wearable items with very little help. They shared their flower collections willingly. All of them wanted more colour (me too), so we decided to make some pom poms from those really small pieces of left over yarn that are good for nothing else. We used the fork method as it makes the nicest, smallest pom poms which are ideal for little girls head-dresses (I will explain how next week).

I love the natural look of all these crowns, with or without added pom poms. Of course the down side is that they don’t last very long. So on Tuesday I will post on how to make more permanent crowns with non-perishable material, focusing on the pom-pom. Also have a look at what Fadanista Sue has done with her marvellous knitted roses. She also shows how to make a headband from an old T-shirt.

Grand-daughter Maia with daughter in law Melanie

4 Responses

  1. Elaine Sabin-Simpson

    Lovely images as ever- I’m very taken with Frida’s square neck blouse in the 4th pic- much more wearable [for me] tha the very voluminous unshaped ones. Maybe. Lol the flower crowns are very sweet

    • fabrickated

      Yes I was really attracted to that square necked blouse with lovely, fluttery sleeves. Not hard to copy this in white or cream, worn with a long slim flared skirt in a dark neutral.

  2. Hélène

    Thank you for another rich post Kate! Not only is it informative but also very inspiring. So many ideas in there and thanks for the Pinterest board link. I love to see more pics of Frida K.

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