100 Pleats, 100 Days

A 100 Day Challenge, 1 French Pleat at a time…



Variety is the Spice of Life

Hello Pleaters, today is Official Day 85! Can you believe it?

As you’re all such experienced, practiced pleaters now, I wanted to throw you a little curve-ball for this weeks challenge.

At least once this week, I’d love to see you make a chignon, bun or topknot with your hair. You can use any accessories you like, but to get the most out of this little practice, I would say try a U Pin/Fork/Hair Stick, and don’t use an elastic to hold it in place.

Don’t panic! Everything you’ve learned about your hair, and how to make a secure French Pleat over the last 85 days is going to come in handy for this.

The technique to create a secure bun or chignon without an elastic is *exactly* the same as the one you’ve learned to make a pleat.

Here’s a few pictures to show you how:

  1. Gather your hair into a ponytail. This can be low down by your neck, mid-way up the head, or even up on your crown; wherever you start will end up being the centre of your bun, so keep that in mind.
    Photo on 14-12-2015 at 16.21
  2. Hold the head-end of the ponytail in place with one hand, and twist your hair with the other.
    Photo on 14-12-2015 at 16.22
  3. (If this was a pleat, this is where you’d fold it up against your head) Instead, using the hand that was holding the head-end of the tail in place, allow the twisted tail to wrap around itself. It should look like half a doughnut at this point!
    Photo on 14-12-2015 at 16.22 #2
  4. Using up the length of your hair, keep wrapping the hair around itself in a spiral.
    Photo on 14-12-2015 at 16.22 #3
  5. Tuck the ends underneath the spiral of hair, and above the same section, catch a small bit of hair from the top of the spiral.
    Photo on 14-12-2015 at 16.23
  6. Using the same motion that you would for a pleat, turn the stick over, and push it through the body of the bun. (slippery hair tip: I like to wiggle it a bit in a sewing motion to make sure I catch a lot of my ‘wraps’. As my hair is super-slidy, this helps support the style throughout the day)
    Photo on 14-12-2015 at 16.23 #2


The really important thing to make this style work is where you put your ends. To firmly secure these in place, you need to put your accessory of choice in over the top of them, as the ‘back-scoop’ motion traps them between your accessory and your head.

It may take some practice to get them where you want them to end up, but it’s worth the effort.

I’ll be in touch with everyone individually this week, it’ll be the last time I let you know where you are, and if need be, how many pictures you need to send in to be on target.

Remember, if you need a helping hand, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Ring me on the Hair Clip Phone on 01732 883820, or send me an email at

I hope you’re having a great week!


Neat as a Pin. A U Pin, that is…

U Pins (sometimes called old fashioned pins, or amish pins) have been around for centuries. They’re one of the oldest, and kindest ways to put your hair up.

The fact that we’re still using them today, is a testament to how well they work. After all, I think the saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”!

Following in the footsteps of their horn and bone ancesters, our Sourire French U Pins are our most popular pin style. Brilliant for long hair of all types, these little pins pack a punch.

Click here for more information on our Sourire U Pin.

Here they are in action…

’tis the Season

It’s a brand new week and a brand new month, pleaters. You’re on the home stretch!

Today is day 71, and you’ve got just 29 days of the challenge left.

One of the best things about this challenge for me has been sharing my pleating skills with everyone, and riding along with you. You might have noticed that I like to talk about hair, just a little bit… no?  Well, I do. 🙂

It has been amazing to come into the office every day, and my inbox is filled with comments, questions and pictures from people who are enjoying their hair as much as I am, and I’m so proud of the progress you have made.

So, this is your challenge of the week. I have shared my own tips, and tips from other entrants, and now it’s your turn to pass on the French Pleat love.

This week I challenge you to find a willing guinea-pig friend/co-worker/daughter, and teach them how to make a french pleat.

You may use a picture of their hair as one of your entries for this week. Of course, you can do it for them, and you can use your clips, or theirs – it doesn’t matter what you use, it’s all about passing on the French Pleat Happiness.

I can’t wait to see how you get on!


Forktastic French Pleats

We put one of our brilliant Stone Bridge Classics in our Day 50 goodie box – the much loved Allegro French Hair Fork.

Perfect for long hair of all types, this hair fork has been loved by thousands of our customers, and now all of our #100pleats entrants too.

Click here to see more information about this hair fork.


Tying myself in Knots…

Hello Pleaters! How are you doing?

Today is Day 66, which is another hotspot where it can be easy to lose your motivation, so I wanted to give you something new to try.

I’ve been working on another great style for long hair this week. It works well for all hair types, but the finish is very pretty in straight hair.

It came about because I’ve been wrestling with the challenge of working with my hair straight, not it’s natural curls, and because my hair has grown a lot since I last bought any hair accessories. (*gasp*) It means a lot of my beloved clips are just too small, and don’t hold all my hair well any more, and so I wanted to come up with a way to still wear my old favourites.

I’m sure I’m not the first to try it, but I’m calling this one the French Knot Pleat. Here’s how you do it…

  1. Divide your glorious mane into two sections…
    Photo on 26-11-2015 at 11.59
  2. Tying a simple ‘shoelace’ knot, pass one section across the other, and through the loop. Gently tighten by pulling the ends…
    Photo on 26-11-2015 at 12.03
  3. Repeat to use up as much length as you can, and pull up against the head…
    Photo on 26-11-2015 at 12.07
  4. Secure with your hair clip of choice…
    Photo on 26-11-2015 at 12.10
  5. Sip tea with satisfaction on creating such an intricate-looking style in 60 seconds.
    Photo on 26-11-2015 at 12.14Photo on 26-11-2015 at 12.11

This lovely Splendide Bow hair clip is our 8cm clasp size, making it best for fine to medium hair. Sadly this little beauty has NO chance of holding all my hair at it’s current length, which needs a Large or Extra Large clip.

However, by using up the bulk and length of my hair by making the knots, I’m just left with a small tail to secure, which this barrette holds with ease. As you can see, the fact that my hair is straight means that you can see the knots clearly, and so you get a pretty, and intricate-looking finish.

So there it is! This is my challenge for you this week, show me your French Knot Pleats…

As always, if you need a helping hand, just holler! You can ring the hair clip phone on 01732 883820, or email me at

Happy Pleating!

Weeee-ooooo! Weeee-oooo! Day 50 Alert!

Congratulations on making it to Day 50, you lovely people!

Remember, if you’ve got any entries to catch up on, I need to have all 50 on your record by 5pm tomorrow, 11th November.

If you do, you’ll get a Super Stone Bridge Goodie box sent out in the post to you! So get those pleats coming in…

I know I’ve spoken to so many of you over the past 50 days, but I just wanted to say thank you for making this challenge so much fun to manage.

I’m so amazed and thrilled by the pictures that have flooded into my inbox every morning for the last 50 days. I’ve seen veteran pleaters find new styles, newbie pleaters put their hair up for the very first time, and pretty much everything in between – and every single entrant has made progress…

I know we can all be very critical of our own efforts, and our own hair for that matter. It’s too curly, too short, too thick, too fine – sound familiar? But I just wanted to say today that all of you have done brilliantly.

I think your hair is beautiful, and I’m not the only one. Check out the lovely comments going on on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WordPress to see what lovely things everyone is saying.

Keep up the good work! Here’s to the next 50 😉

— Claire

Roll Up! Roll Up!

(… Get it?)

Alright, I’ll put the pun-machine away… This week I’m talking about the Edwardian Style French Pleat, or as it’s more commonly known, the Gibson Tuck, or low chignon. Lots of our entrants have given it a try already, but I wanted to show off this super-easy style as a great way to add some variety to your pleat-making.

This was popularised by the Gibson Girl illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson in the 1890’s, but the fashion for this gently sweeping style lingered on through decades afterwards.

Take a look at our tutorial video below, that shows Melissa making this style in easy steps…

I have had a go this week, and I think I’ve made some progress…

Photo on 29-10-2015 at 14.17 Photo on 29-10-2015 at 14.54

Now, I did make a few tweaks here and there. As I’m sure you’ve seen already, my hair is normally in big loose natural curls, but this week I have had to wear it straight (sadly I’m having to brush it a lot, due to a flare-up of psoriasis…) but it did mean that my hair was super slippery and much harder to work with than normal.

In my first few attempts (left hand picture) I found I really needed an elastic to hold the initial loop in place, and rather than using a traditional French Pleat Comb for this style, I used a Side Comb.

(As a note, I would *not* recommend this for everyone. French Pleat Combs are specially designed to take the additional weight and tension in your hair that comes with making a french pleat. I have seen a few pleats made with side combs, but I would only recommend this if your hair is very fine. Side combs are only designed to hold small sections of hair, and so those that are worn to hold pleats in place can warp and break after just a few months of use. I wouldn’t want you to have that experience – broken clips make me sad!)

After a few days of practice, I did come up with a method that worked well for me. Rather than using an elastic, instead I decided to use a flat bobby pin to grip the side sections in place while I made the rest of the style. I held it in place with a larger, arched barrette that could accommodate the double-thickness of hair that I was trying to secure, and then I pulled the bobby pin out.

Not too shabby, even if I do say so myself! I think this style definitely needs more practice than a traditional vertical pleat, probably because of gravity. If your comb or clip isn’t in the right place, it just unravels.

Here are some of our great entries using this style…

06 - R Anderson - 3313 - S Morgan - 719 - M Ayres - 4312 - C McNeill - 31

So, if you’ve not tried it yet, this is my challenge to you this week – Attempt the Gibson Tuck at least once. I can’t wait to see what you come up with…

Remember our Day 50 treat, too! Keep sending your daily images in, if you’re on track with 50 entries by 5pm on the 11th November, (that’s next Wednesday!) I’ll be sending you a French Pleat goodie pack in the post.

If you’ve got any questions, just let me know. Ring the Hair Clip Phone on 01732 883820, or send me an email at

Have a great week Pleaters!

A little pick-me-up…

Has your mojo vanished? Are you lacking in inspiration? Don’t worry, it’s not just you!

I know from my own creative challenges, that the path of learning doesn’t always run smooth. It’s quite normal for you to feel dips in your inspiration over the 100 days, and I wanted to talk to you today about how to overcome that.

Having spoken to my lovely fellow 100-day-challengers, the first speed bump normally happens between days 30 and 40, and it can be easy to fall off the wagon. What’s really important here is not to lose your momentum; keep trying, keep posting, keep going.

Often you can lose your oomph because you’ve begun to criticise your own efforts; which isn’t good, as we are all our own worst critics. I guarantee that the style you’re feeling grumpy about is being admired by other people! If you’re feeling uninspired then you don’t have to experiment wildly, you can fall back on old favourites, and just keep doing it. If you keep showing up, giving it a go, after a while the mojo shows up too…13 - S Morgan - 30

My friend Amy has a great tip to help push yourself when you’re feeling uninspired. She says, set up a reward or treat for yourself, but arrange it for a day just beyond your reach. So if you think you could manage 10 more days on your ’empty tank’ of oomph, then set your treat at day 12. You’ll find that the thought of getting a reward by pushing that little bit longer can really motivate you.

This absolutely worked for me in my challenge; I had a dip at day 60, and arranged for a taster morning at my local art centre with some of my challenge-comrades. Not only was it great fun, but it took the pressure away, making my challenge seem less like hard work, and I felt much more enthusiastic about what I was doing afterwards. 09 - A McKie - 30

Now, I’m going to make this easy for you.

For EVERYONE who makes it to Day 50, I will send you a little pick-me-up treat in the post.

Yep, you heard me. All you have to do is have sent me 50 pictures in total by 5pm on Wednesday 11th November, and I’ll be packing up a surprise gift for you…

How could you possibly give up now? 😉

Seriously, all you have to do is keep trying, and I know how great you’ll feel when you do.

Melissa and I are here to help you succeed, so if you need help, just ring the Hair Clip Alarm. Send me an email at, or give me a call on 01732 883820, and I’ll be there with pom-poms to cheer you on…

Day 25 – One Quarter done…

There’s nothing like a little experience to give you some confidence, and this week I’ve seen a lot of you tackling styles that you’d never tried before – which is brilliant! There have been some excellent technique-swapping conversations going on on Twitter and Instagram, and some, er, eccentric? french pleats popping up like these…

p1030771Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 10.39.20

Yep, that’s a pair of scissors! It really shows that with a little bit of practice (and some imagination…) you can do a french pleat with just about anything.

I know that not all of our entrants are at this stage yet, and I have had some emails positively green with envy, asking how to do french pleats like these, so today I wanted to talk some more about the technique that makes it possible.

Ready to get nerdy? Here goes…

We call it the “back-scoop” method, which uses a tiny bit of hair from your french pleat roll to ‘anchor’ the style into place with your chosen hair fork/stick/letter opener. Just describing it, or writing it out like that is pretty confusing though, and so I’m going to show you what I mean instead.

Sue, one of our lovely Twitter friends, had never used a hair stick before and couldn’t work out where she was going wrong. We had a chat, and from what she described, I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t working – it sounded like she was doing the exact right things. But, it was still falling out, so she decided to send me a short video…


She’d got it all right, except for the direction. No matter what style of accessory that you use, to make it secure, your final push into the hair needs to go over the edge of your roll.

Now it’s my turn, here is what it should look like…

(That’s a Crochet Hook, not a hair stick!)

Can you see the difference? Practice is all it takes, and once I’d shown Sue this little video, she’s managed to achieve a pretty good pleat…


I hope that’s given you a little more inspiration – if you’ve not done one yet, I challenge you to grab a hair stick, fork, or even just a pen, and give it a go. I can’t wait to see your pictures…

Remember, if you need some tips, or if you’ve got any questions at all, just let me know. I’m here to help. 🙂

Have a great weekend!

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