By Rajendora @ Sewing Box Designs
Wigs are a wonderful thing. Change a wig and your doll’s whole personality seems to change. How many of us have searched for the perfect wig for the doll we have in mind, even resorting to making our own wigs to get that perfect wig? If you don’t have time to go through the trouble of making your own wigs, or the money to have them custom made, being able to do a simple alteration on a too tight or too loose wig is a brain saver. Also, some of us have had our dolls and their wigs for a long time. The edge elastic might be getting a little worn out on a favorite wig that is otherwise still perfect. Or the wig company makes great wigs, but doesn’t put any elastic on the edge of the head cap, putting you through the trouble of a silicon head cap. Here are some basic corrections anyone who can thread a needle can easily do. And it’s a start in the basics of making your own wigs.
What you will need:
A longish needle (milliners’ are best), thread to match your doll’s hair, a ball of sewing wax to drag your thread across to keep it from sticking or knotting up in the elastic, a thimble, and woven type elastic for hand sewing. It will say woven on the package. This is about 5/8 inches wide, which makes a nice snug fit on the doll’s head. You can also use lingerie elastic that is soft and fuzzy on one side, which is what I find in a lot of wigs.
To use the sewing wax, just thread your needle and draw the thread under your thumb along the wax at least 3 times.
If your wig is too big:
Remember these? Some of the companies used to send a piece of faux fur and a pattern with their dolls so you could make your own wig. This was the inspiration for my first doll wig alteration. I wanted a blue grey wig, but my doll’s head is an odd size and after a year of hunting, I decided to buy a wig that was a size up. What I got was one that was a bit too much of a size up. So I used the concept of the faux fur wig to alter the new one.
Put the wig on your doll inside out, and determine where it actually is too big. Some dolls have a deeper lower back head, or a wider face, or a high dome to their heads and tightening the wig in the wrong would make it fit even worse. Take a critical look at your wig by molding it to the doll’s head with your fingers, pinching it together along the edge, and using a few safety pins laid open on the table next to you before hand to mark the points where the wig needs to be taken in to fit right.
Now thread a needle with thread that matches your doll’s hair color, and carefully hand stitch with a back stitch up the dart you’ve made in the wig. It’s just like sewing with faux fur. Just sew it up and pull the hair that gets caught in the seams out again with a needle or pin. If it’s just a very small amount you might consider just changing out the elastic as shown in the third part of the tutorial, but if it’s over 1/2 inch, putting a dart in will work. After you’ve stitched over the seam at least twice, very carefully trim off the excess on your dart seam. If it’s still a bit loose you can put elastic on as shown further down in this tutorial.
Once again, perfect wig, but wrong size. My doll takes a size 9-10 and this wig was a 9 and no further. It was just a tiny bit too snug. This is a tricky one. This operation is best done in the very middle back where the potential for thinning out your hair won’t show so much. If it has elastic on it, pick off a strip of it right along the back of the neck area. Most elastic has a bit of an overlap back there and mine had a half inch overlap to undo. By undoing the overlap I found the wig would just barely fit.
You may find that once the elastic is off, you have a stretchy fabric, held in place by the strips of hair (wefts). Snip the weft and carefully pick out the stitches to loosen up the wig some more.
Now sew down the cut wefts again securely so that brushing your wig won’t cost you any hair. That little gap won’t show at all, once the wig is on.
Sew down the elastic edges to the original elastic. You may end up with a little bit of a gap in the elastic band, as I have here. Sew it down carefully. Or add in more elastic to cover a wider gap.
If you have a seriously too tight, but once again, absolutely perfect wig, you might add in a bit of stretch fabric then sew the wefts and a piece of elastic back on. Don’t panic, it’s just a type of fake fur, you can do it!
No elastic at all:
If your wig has worn-out stretch or no elastic to start with and is too loose, this will help.
My Jiji lives in this wig, it’s her, but it’s for an Iplehouse EID guy! Which means it’s a few sizes too big, and Iplehouse doesn’t put in elastic bands that I’ve seen. So this one is getting elastic!
Start by measuring your doll’s head with a piece of elastic and leave a 1/2 inch overlap. (I use white because it shows better in a tutorial and won’t be showing on the doll anyway.)
If you’re replacing old elastic, carefully pick out the stitches in the original elastic with a seam ripper or Xacto knife. Some of your wefts might come off with the elastic, set them aside to replace after you’ve completely removed the elastic. Once you have all the old elastic and threads off, thread a needle and replace any wefts that have come loose or off in the process.
Stitch your elastic closed in a circle and mark your elastic loop into quarters with pins. Pin your elastic to the wig at each quarter mark, making sure you stretch the wig as much as possible and pin them evenly. You can also do this with the wig inside out on the doll. Folding the hair out of the way, use a loose slanted stitch to baste the elastic onto your wig. It’s easier to start with the top of the elastic first, with the hair out of the way.
Then sew along the edge of the wig, holding the hair out of the way with your thumb. You want your stitches loose enough to allow the elastic to stretch, but not so loose that there are loops in it when it’s not stretched.
Now that you’ve adjusted the fit of your wigs, it might be a bit difficult to get them on if you’re used to just popping them on. Position your wig on the doll’s center front hair line, holding it with your thumbs and with your fingers, spread and pull the wig down over the head. A gentle tug on the back of the wig while holding the wig and head at the temples and your wig is now snuggly in position.
So, that’s how to alter a wig. Now that you’ve gotten comfortable with handling wigs and found the process not so scary, you can move on to making your own wigs. There are lots of great tutorials out there (including this one).