The good news is that I have made progress with sewing the galloon and that is all done now. I am really pleased that I did finish that within the time frame I had given myself. I am making a real effort now to set myself mini targets and to stick to them as I know if I don't do this, I will never get anywhere with the wig making. For anyone else who is reading this and is thinking about having a go or who is already trying to teach themselves wig making, I would suggest that you do the same. Long term and short term targets are really valuable tools in motivating yourself. My short term target right now is to get this foundation (wig cap/base) finished. My mini goal is to finish sewing my first piece of lace down.
After I finished with the galloon, I started laying down my first piece of lace, which covers the: ear to ear, vertex and front hair line area. It took me a long while to do that; much longer than I anticipated. I think this was partly because I have the kind of head shape that requires some darts. I found it more challenging to lay down this lace than the tulle when I made the prototype. The area is slightly different because when I made the prototype I was constructing a circumference band type wig cap, whereas because I wanted to lessen the amount and appearance of galloon going over my vertex area, I decided to make the real wig cap with only one piece of galloon on the vertex, in addition to the perimeter galloon, and this piece goes over the crown area.
The key to laying lace is to get the front hairline as smooth and flat as possible. You don't want any bumps, lumps, ridges or wrinkles. Instead of stretching the lace to make it taut, you need to smooth it with your fingers and then pin in place. I found myself smooth and pinning, then smoothing and re-pinning as pinning in a new area kept creating undesireable wrinkling in other areas. I took the lace off several times and re-started. I think the key at the novice stage is:
- To have patience
- To not be afraid to re-start
- To take frequent breaks
- To come back again later if you can't do it and try again
I thought I would have a couple of darts running from the galloon at the crown towards the front, however I ended up with one over each ear. When I made the tulle prototype, I believe I ended up with one over each ear and a couple on the top - so in a way, this may be better. The next step, which I have completed, was to sew the darts down. This helps to keep them smooth and flat.
After sewing the darts, I commenced sewing the lace onto the interior edge of the galloon. I have sewed two thirds of that and am just about to sew the last part (once I have finished writing this). I enjoy the sewing; it is quite therapeutic. I have been timing myself and I noticed I am definitely getting quicker the more I do it. I am hand sewing at the moment, but in the future I hope to try doing most or all of it on the sewing machine.
Once I have completed sewing the lace down, I can cut the excess off and start laying the next part down (the crown to nape).
Now onto the bad news...
I have had to make a decision over how to best ventilate the hair when I get to that stage. Several of my online friends and myself have wondered about the correct and optimum length of the returns (that is the piece of hair that is left and can stick out, sometimes called the mustache, when you make a knot with a hair strand). The wig making books that I have (I have 3), and that other people I know who are interested in wig making have, say one thing. Other people - on You Tube and at a wig making suppliers & a hair suppliers for example - were saying a variety of different things. I found this very confusing and completely overwhelming. Having so many different opinions stating this is how you should do it, makes it very difficult to judge which option or path to choose to go down. I started to feel like a cook who was in the middle of following a recipe and then had people saying: don't do that, it won't work out right, do this... The reality is that the length of the returns is important and a crucial part to get right of the whole wig or hair piece making process. Knowing that caused me to feel an intense amount of stress and pressure. No one wants to think they are going to expend all this effort and energy to get it wrong.
I have come to the conclusion that when you choose to attempt to make wigs, that canvas wig block, foundation and hair become your baby. To complete the task, a certain amount of dedication and enthusiasm is required and because most people who attempt to do it have great passion about what they are doing and want to achieve, it is hard not get really emotional about the whole process. For me, the learning curve continues. My lesson of the week has been to realise that I will make mistakes and to be prepared to pick myself up, dust myself down and try again.