Try french braiding your hair then folding the tail in half and half again. Repeat as needed to make a handy little bobble. Secure with rubber band and decorate with clip of choice. You can also use a hair net over the bobble if you have short ends from layers. Has been my go-to style for years.
Alternatively, you can tuck the tail of the french braid up under the main braid (close to you scalp) and use your decorative clip or bobby pins to hold it in place. This one is great for medium length hair. I use it when the tail of my braid comes out all scrawny looking from my layers.
With the hat fitting part, try starting the braid farther back on the head and braiding lose. The top of your hair will be less secure but hairspray can fix that and the hat will help. If your hair wont hold a braid loosely, pull the top back with a plastic hair band then use that little pony as one of your starting locks.
Also look at a dance supply shop for bun nets that are much smaller and make to disappear against the hair. They are held in with bobby pins.
Last edited by Jsutton; 06-28-2012 at 08:46 AM.