Vintage rag curls: Updated!

Hair in Rag Curls

Carli’s hair in “rags”

Approximately 30 years ago there lived a little girl whose mother read her one chapter of the Little House on the Prairie book series every single night before bed. Okay, that was me – I just didn’t want to give away my age. Teehee! Anyway, Little House on the Prairie introduced us to the idea of “rag curls” which are essentially long strips of fabric that you roll your hair around then tie to secure. This process is done when the hair is wet or damp and then normally slept in and removed in the morning. As a little girl, I loved it when my mom put my hair up in rags, but as I grew older the curls were a little bit too tight, kinky and uncontrollable for my taste.

Rolling Hair in Updated Vintage Rags

As a mom who used to get her hair wound up in rags quite often,  I felt duty-bound to create a rag type curler for my girls that would be comfortable enough to sleep in, like mine were, but wouldn’t create the tight, uncontrollable curls that I disliked. Secretly, my two younger girls – who ask me to curl their hair all of the time, could probably care less about a kinky curl. In fact, they’d probably prefer it.

Hair Curlers or Rollers with no heat

Hair in Vintage Rag Curlers

At any rate, I recently created an updated version of the vintage rags that I grew up with. Mine allow for cushioned curls with cute little ties! I was able to solve the tight and kinky issue, making looser curls! Yay! Here is Ivy’s hair after having her hair done up in my new rag curlers for several hours. As you can probably tell, her hair wasn’t completely dry when I took them out but it still worked pretty well! She loves them and maybe I can even put them in my hair again like the good ‘ole days. I’ll just need my mom to do it for me.

Sewn Rag Curlers for Hair

Next Thursday I’ll post the free pattern and sewing tutorial so stay tuned,  Crafty Curly Friends!

UPDATE: As promised, find the sewing pattern and tutorial here – Vintage Rag Curlers Pattern & Tutorial




  1. says

    Ooh, I’ll be looking forward to that tutorial! Overnight curlers are the only way my hair will hold curls for any length of time, but I was never a fan of the foam and plastic curlers my mom used on me.

  2. says

    Hobbit and I can’t wait for the tutorial… I just hope that they are “Sewing for Dummy” oriented since that where I would fall. I have a test of wills with my machine every few months but she usually wins.

  3. says

    We did this when we were in high school
    and, yes, overnight
    Nowadays my hair is way short
    no time for curls.

    Thanks for the memories.

      • Kate says

        No way. I thought maybe a brother. So that makes me think that Julie is either a cradle-robber or a child-bride. Not that there’s anything wrong with either of those :-)

        In that picture you look a lot like Ivy-Petunia (who is beautiful).

        • Carli says

          haha! This picture must have been taken right around 1980 since I can see my younger brother in the background who is definitely under a year old. My parents were quite young (and AMAZING!). My dad was probably about 24 in this picture which means my mom would have been about 20 or 21. I love that I had a young mom!

          Thank you, Ivy is a great little girl. Full of personality and so much fun!

  4. Margarita says

    OH– those are cute! I tried them growing up (I do have curly hair but hate having a wet head in the morning to get them) and wasn’t excited about the craziness that came with them. Looks like an easier alternative —and the fabric is too cute, too! Can’t wait to see the tut!

  5. Elise says

    I was just thinking about doing this the other day but decided against it because they turn out too frizzy. So I’m looking forward to the tutorial!

  6. says

    I can’t wait for this tut. My girls LOVE rag curls…just like I did when I was younger. I put a sock bun in their hair at night to give them softer curls, but I like rag curls so much better.

    • Carli says

      Too funny, Cinda! Ivy is 5 too and I know just how insistent they can be! Almost done with the tutorial. I’ll have it posted on Thursday.

  7. says

    Tuesday I will be posting my True Story of Rag curls in the First Grade and my mother did not know that photos were to be taken that day.
    I like your softer version that gives nice lovely curls. I do hope since you have share buttone, that it is alright for me to mention your blog on my story on tuesday.
    Here is my site

    I also have a Blog Hop “Tell me a True Story” Link opens Monday evenint at 6:00pm. There are many lovely stories that you will find there.

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