Do you know how to tie a headscarf in a number of ways to look attractive and elegant in any situation? However, wearing a headscarf in only modern ways can be not so interesting. Create an elegant and always trendy gele, and you will look stunning!
What is a traditional Nigerian gele?
A gele is an authentic headpiece that is a part of a traditional western Nigerian “Buba” outfit. The invention of this head decoration dates back to ancient times, yet, today gele is a part of many incredibly fashionable and lovely wedding attires and everyday outfits. There are many ways how to tie head ties but pleating is the most popular. When you master this skill, you will be able to create the so-called infinite pleating when many layers of fabric lie close to each other, creating a stunning effect.
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It’s much easier to pleat the gele on somebody else so if it’s your first time, you can practice this way. Later, you will be able to create your own gele on your own head. Before you start, you need to make sure that you have a piece that’s big enough. As a rule, headscarves for a gele are 8” to 34” wide and 54” to 80” long. It’s recommended to start practicing with some cotton fabrics like Ankara that keep the shape well and don’t slip out of your fingers.
Way #1: How to tie Ankara on the head of another woman
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a gele on another person’s head. It’s pretty simple, so you’re likely to manage it from the very first attempt.
- Place the headscarf onto the woman’s forehead. The right loose end of the cloth should be longer than the left one. The folded end should be placed right against her forehead.
- Get both of your thumbs at the bottom edge of the cloth, closely to the woman’s eyebrows. Keep your forefingers under the headscarf so that they touch her skin.
- With the help of your forefingers and thumbs, start pleating the fabric. Move the fabric with your forefingers towards your thumbs, creating pleats and pressing them against the rest of the fabric. When the pleat is ready, smooth it and keep on creating new ones behind it.
- Ask the woman to help you and extend the pleats towards the right side of the wrap and then to hold the already created pleats closely to the left side of her head. Make sure that the pleats you are creating look neat and taut. If you are now working on how to tie head gear with Ankara, make sure the pleats don’t steal the beauty of the pattern.
- Move to the backside and cross the ends of the fabric behind the woman’s head. Take the already pleated end (the one that’s longer) and cross it over with the other end (the one that’s shorter).
- Put the pleated end over the top of the woman’s head and rearrange the pleats. Refold them neatly from the right side over the crown down to the left side. Have the pleats tight enough while the fabric above them may be quite loose. It’s necessary to ask the woman to keep the shorter end out of the way while you are working with the other one.
- Now, it’s time to tie both ends behind the woman’s head. Arrange the pleats in such a way that all the fabric edges that are facing the floor are quite tight while all the upper parts of the pleats are rather loose.
- Make sure that the pleats on top of the woman’s head look good. There must be plenty of loose folds over the top of her head by now. Make the gele look like a halo around her head. Leave a part of the fabric that’s supposed to cover the top and back of the woman’s head.
- Now, you have the ends hanging down from the back of the woman’s head. You can either leave it loose in order to demonstrate the brightness of the Ankara fabric or create a big loose knot and hide the ends.
Now, when you know how to tie Ankara on the head of somebody else, it’s time to try doing it with you.
Way #2: How to tie head tie with Ankara if it’s your own head
- Fold the headscarf in two lengthwise. It’s better for it to be quite long. At best, you should be able to hold each end of the cloth in each of your outstretched arms while the scarf lies on your head.
- Fold the fabric on your forehead. Make sure that it hides your forehead hair. Either end of the fabric should be of the same length.
- Pull the ends back and cross them next to your neck. Make sure that the fabric is taut but you feel comfortable. The scarf is supposed to cover both your ears up to the lobes.
- Pull the right end of the head tie over your forehead. Put the fabric in such a way that its bottom edge is above the edge of the previous level. If there are creases on the fabric, it’s great. Your Ankara gele will look even better if there are many small creases and pleats.
- Pull the right end of the scarf over the left ear and cover it with the left end. Help the ends stay in place with your hands.
- The left end now goes across your forehead and towards the rear part of your head. The bottom edge of this strap should be located above the bottom edge of the previous layer. The more creases and pleats are created by this, the better.
- Tuck the loose ends under the layers of the fabric next to your neck. If your gele is tied tightly enough, you may not worry that it will slip.
- Now, arrange or refold all the pleats and creases on the front part of your gele. If some of them are big enough, tuck them into the rest of the fabric to make them smaller. If some of them need looseness, carefully pull a little outwards. There are no precise rules about the size and number of pleats. It’s up to you to decide what looks good.
- Finally, adjust the gele on your head in such a way that it exactly covers the front hairline but opens the forehead.
Head tie styles and fashions
There are many ways to tie a head tie, depending on what you want to create on your head: a halo, a crown, a gele that looks like it’s made out of paper, and so on.
Once you master a gele made out of Ankara fabric, move on to satin and silk. Geles for special occasions like weddings or other celebrations are usually made out of luxurious headscarves with stitching, incrustation, embroidery, and so on. It’s easy and interesting to develop your artistic taste by creating something elegant and practical.
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