Friday, January 12, 2007

Wig Making This Week

No, it's not another moustache (one was quite enough for me right now) I was eager to get on with the real deal! Remember, last week I learned how to make a custom cap and pad out the head block. If you click on the photos, they will enlarge and you can see the seams and darts. This is not the way Victoria makes her caps. I am trying an experiment on this one, using my 18 plus years of experience covering human breasts with fabric, and applying what I learned to the silk mesh (called 'lace) used for wig caps. For us knitterly types, 'lace' has a different meaning!

Heads are actually easier than boobs. Larger (mostly) but without the added complexity of having to hoist them up and keep them in place!
See the tiny teeny weeny little mesh spaces. The hairs are tied on individually to the thread that forms the mesh. The black lines you see are on the taped form underneath the mesh. These lines are used to keep the form aligned. You slash the tape perpendicular to the black line, stuff in batting, using a dental spatula, and then re-tape, making sure the lines come back together perfectly. This way, there is no distortion of the head. Hopefully. The lace cap must fit perfectly smoothly to the taped form.

Transparent nylon thread is used to sew the seams (semi flat feld seams) and darts. Vikki and her girls use the ventilation hook to sew the seams. I, being so much more adept with a needle, used a fine beading needle. (and my trusty thimble) You must sew across one thread only on the right side, so the comb won't get caught in the stitching.

Here is the bottom edge at the nape. About 1/2" needs to be double knotted because the hairs are thicker (2 or 3 hairs tied together here - the 'root' will never show) and going through more layers - there is a 3/8" hem all the way around a cap. The hairs are tied through all the layers, but over only one top thread of the lace. Very difficult. Also, getting into the neck with the tool is difficult. This is the hardest part, and learning with the kinky hair makes it even more of a challenge.

Tying the knots is exactly like putting on fringe with a crochet hook, only instead of folding the hair in half and ending up with 2 strands, you just fold over about 1/2". Hair has a 'grain' (cuticle) and must be applied with the root end at the cap and the cut end at the...end. If not, it will never lay smoothly or in the case of Afro-kinky hair, the cuticles going north will lock with the cuticles going south and make a huge snarly mess. Or so I am told. I don't want to find out, as it takes about a million hours to make a wig. What you see here (just the ventilation) has taken me about 12 hours so far. I am actually getting faster!

The double knot is made like a single and then a chain one, to use crochet tems.

And in case you were wondering, yes, I am still into this!

But not to the point of (ever) giving up my knitting. See the next post.