This tutorial began a long time ago, in a galaxy right here, at a time when it was prohibitively expensive to purchase reasonably priced wigs in New Zealand. I ave since used this method for a lace front wig and will use that in a tutorial on detangling wigs instead!
For my costume based on the Gentle Giant version of Leia I needed a wig. At this stage (and still now) I could only find a black wing in the length and fullness I needed. So I decided that I would have to think a little laterally. I had seen a few websites on how to adapt wigs (links at the bottom of this page) but they all suggested buying separate wefts of hair. This is a great idea for use in expensive wigs which can probably be matched easily with the same quality yet all I could get at this time were cheap halloween style wigs designed to be worn once and then thrown away. Not really something I felt like filling with expensive wefts I would need to order in from overseas!
Matching this hair would be easiest done by purchasing an extra wig or two. So I did exactly this. Two long wigs in a deep burgundy toned brown. Unfortunately in my haste I bought one shoulder length and one long wig by mistake. So unfortunately my plan to wear this wig was halted for a time.
2x $10 wigs in burgundy-brown
8x matching $2 hair pieces
Matching polyester thread
I put one wig on my head form and parted it down the back. From there I sewed two vertical rows of wefts (I unpicked from the other wig)each side of the centre line.
It is not obvious but these were sewn with a whip stitch so they could be rolled over to lie in the opposite direction, the second photo shows the weft on the right has been rolled so the hair lies across the left. This is important for the styling later: it will hide the net cap effectively.
I then turned the wig inside out and sewed lengths of wefts all the way around the edge of the cap. These are used to cover the elastic and raw edges of net and ends of wefts.
Again they were sewn with a whip stitch but with a quick blanket stitch every needle length or so for a bit of additional security.
The weft is sewn to the inner edge of the elastic rather than the outer also to help insire it does not flip or pull to the outside.
These wefts however stuck out once the wig was tunred right side out due to the fibres being quite firm and inflexible. So I pinned the hair back and into the direction it would lie when worn and poured hot water from a just boiled kettle over the new hairline. While the hair was styll hot I combed and smoothed the hairline and made sure the elastic was still lying flat. I then left it in the wind to cool and so set into the new style.
I started with the nape of the wig first and then the front of the hairline.
Once the wig was dry I again brushed the hair smooth from the hairline and started to style the part. This involved taking 1cm sections of hair from the vertical wefts and crossing them over. I did this for the entire length to create a herringbone pattern down the part. The wig had a nice part near the front so I kept that and started the herringbone pattern from about the crown towards the nape.
I also started putting the lengths into a bun but realised I did not have enough in the wigs I had.
I then remembered I had several shortish ponytail falls I could use to fill out the buns- by this stage the store I bought the wigs from had closed down. By twisting the wig ponytails into the outer ring of the buns I had the beginning of a frame to build on. These were sewn in place with monofilament thread and matching polyester thread.
I unpicked two ponytails from their D shaped netting and stitched these around the inside of the rings on the wig. I then wrapped them over the rings and stitched them down on the other wide. The extra I then wove under the ring and stitched in place.
The rest of the ponytails were unpicked and restitched into a different ponytail by rolling the wefts and stitching them across the tops into shape. I made three for each side and carefully rolled them into shape in the centre of the ring. Again they were sewn down with monofilament thread.
I then sprayed it with copious amounts of hairspray and some gel. The hairspray worked best as it dried quickly. I have since pinned a hair net over the buns to keep them nice while in storage and wear.