Monday, 23 May 2011

Introducing: "Teach Myself Wig Making" & "The Wig Making Diva"

So I guess a first post should typically introduce the writer/blogger and set the tone for the blog...

Right? Okay, I'll give it a go! Perhaps rather disturbingly, I shall now interview myself with the questions I think someone might want to know the answer to...

What's this blog about then?

This blog is going to be about wig and hair piece making.


I began a journey a while back – can't even remember when, but some time last year – to teach myself how to make wigs and hair pieces. Primarily I am attempting to learn to do this because I have alopecia, which means that (in my personal case) I have lost some of the hair on my head. As a woman with long-term alopecia, having 'something' that replicates hair is pretty important, even if, as in my case, you don't choose to wear it all the time.

So why don't you just buy a wig or hair piece?

Well, in the past I have done so, many times. However, to be honest, there are a number of factors involved in such a purchase that have to be right in order for the wig or hair piece to be satisfactory for the wearer. In my case, I need something that is the right density and, for some reason, this is hard to get right. Also, I would prefer human hair, but in the colour I want this tends to be quite (read: very!) expensive unless it is heavily processed and the type of wig or hair piece I would want in human hair, is out of my budget. I also have a head that is difficult to fit because it is in-between sizes, meaning that generally stock wigs are too small for me, which necessitates buying a custom made piece. Lastly, for comfort reasons I love the feel of a hand-tied wig and they are not easy to find in a size that fits me unless I purchase custom, which again is too expensive. The only way I could get what I want is to buy a lace wig, however, the hair quality on lace wigs is generally poorer than I would like and I don't want a lace wig as I don't want to bond the perimeter in any way. I actually have a full lace wig, but for varying reasons I don't wear it on a frequent basis. 

Due to all the above factors, I decided that if I can't get what I want, then why not try making it? I love working with my hands, am quite creative and inventive (even if I do say so myself), so I feel and felt that it is worth a shot. I also feel that, if anyone knows what I need in terms of density and colour, it's me. So again, I feel that I have my own best interests at heart and I will put a lot of love into making something for myself.

Anything special or different about your approach to learning wig making?

Well I am trying to do my “learning” on a budget. I have been lucky in that some people have given me bits and bobs that they don't want or need that I could use. I have bought the bare necessities to learn ventilating with (which is the term for knotting the hair to the foundation material) as I figured that this is probably the most important part to 'get down' before I start doing anything else. The ventilation makes or breaks the wig and I reckon is of equal importance to the foundation (the wig cap that the hair is attached to). So if you want to do wig making on a budget, perhaps you can pick up some tips from me!

All of my learning thus far is self-taught, again for budget reasons and also for practical purposes because there are no wig making classes or courses nearby. Plus it seems that wig making courses are very expensive over here in the UK. I am not discounting the idea of attending more formal learning at some point, as there are some elements I would love to get professional guidance in, but for now I am happy to continue with what I have been doing.

What is your 'plan of action' for the future?

I started off practising the knots I will be using – single and double knots. I have since learnt how to do a split knot also; although opinion is divided over whether this is a “real” wig making knot. So to begin with, I was just doing rows of random knots. My next stage/latest project has been to construct the first inch of the back, the crown and the vertex -  a bit like a “mini hair piece”. To most people this would look a bit like a small topper or closure. My reason for doing this is because, rightly or wrongly, I believe that these areas are the hardest to get right and to perfect. They require practice and in doing lots of this, I am actually learning how to achieve the various special effects needed to create a piece or a wig the way I would want it.

I intend to finish this piece of work shortly and I will be posting information and pictures to show what I am doing. Once I have finished this, I hope to have obtained or be in the process of obtaining my professional materials in order to move onto the next stage of my education, which is: how to make a foundation. Making the correct foundation is important because I have specific needs that I have to address when I make it. I am sure it will be a bit of trial and error. Once I have nailed that, I can move on to actually making the wig.

What's been the hardest aspect of your wig making education process so far?

Two things: the research element and double knots!

Research element – I have spent literally 100s if not 1000s of hours researching wigs and wig making. It's almost embarrassing to admit how many hours I have spent looking for information, watching videos, reading books and so on. I guess having a slightly obsessive personality helps! It's a lot of work and commitment required and more so because I am doing this alone. The upside of this is that it is very satisfying to find the correct information and everything you end up doing really has meaning or a little story behind it.

Double knots – I am sure that most people don't find them hard, but because I was unwittingly using the wrong (in my opinion) needle, I made the task a lot harder on myself than it should actually be. I am not a fan of double knots even now I know how to do them as I find they are quite bulky. 

Anything else you care to say right now?

If you are interested in learning more about me and like You Tube, you can find videos on my channel:

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