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Archive for September 3rd, 2013

Chub rub and hair rats.

I seem to have done a lot of internet surfing lately and this evening I was inspired to actually put my surfing to good use.

I read, via an article in The Guardian (not my usual reading but I was sent the link by a friend) about Bandelettes designed to stop ‘chub rub’. Having suffered from this complaint even when I was so skinny my bones stuck out and my mother called me ‘Belsen Child’ I was eager to try them, as creams, lotions, talc don’t work long term. Looking carefully at the product I thought “Hmmm, these look like the top part of hold ups. I wonder if I could make do and mend?” Having the (mis)fortune to put a hole in a favourite pair of hold ups recently I fished them out of the rag bag and found my favourite fabric scissors.

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Snip, snip, snip and I had my very own Bandelettes, as modeled by Juno, who does like to get in on the action!

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So, what does one do with the leftover legs? Easy! Use them to make hair rats.

In the olden days, i.e. up to the 1950s and possibly beyond for people who don’t give a monkeys about fashion, these were in common use. The big hair of Edwardian ladies was assisted by rats and hairpieces.

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Those elegant updos that you see in episodes of Poirot use rats

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Victory rolls during the War used rats, if your hair wouldn’t play nicely (asĀ  my baby fine hair doesn’t)

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We have a fab photo of my Granny holding my Dad as a baby (so either December 1944 or early 1945) and her hair is in victory rolls and a queue roll at the back. Sadly the photo is at my Granddad’s so I can’t scan and post it.

The traditional way of making rats was for ladies to collect the hair from their hairbrushes and when they had enough either just wodge it up into a roll or stuff it into a hairnet and shape it as a roll or pad, as needed. I don’t lose that much hair when I brush it so I resorted to Plan B. Hold up legs and toy stuffing!

Take one leg of your hold up and cut off a bit 5″-7″ long, depending on the length and thickness of your hair. Longer, thicker hair needs a bigger rat. You will also need something to stuff it with, I used polyester toy stuffing because that’s what I had.

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Then pin down the middle with two sets of pins, leaving a space in the middle of the pins

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You will cut down this space, leaving you with two hair rat sized pieces.

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Stitch down one short edge and the open long edge. You can do this on the machine, using a wide zig zag stitch, or you can hand sew, as I did. I did one with a running stitch and one with a back stitch and I would recommend the back stitch as the stronger stitch. Turn inside out to make a wobbly tube.

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Stuff with toy stuffing. You can use a fair bit but be careful not to overstuff it as not only will it be too fat for your hair, it will put a strain on the stitches and not last as long. Tie the open end into a knot (or you can sew it if you wish) and you will have an extremely dodgy looking object!

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Roll your hair around your rat to create many and varied hairstyles. Simply pin into place and make sure the ends are covered by hair. If you wanted to do open ended victory rolls for a 1940s occasion try rolling your hair around rat, putting a grip into one end of the curl, making sure you don’t pin any of your rat. Then lacquer it with hairspray and gently pull the rat out one side, holding the roll in place with your fingers until you have pinned and lacquered it firmly into place.

Experiment and have fun!

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