What you'll need:
This is just a guide to what you'll need, and most people will already have a lot of these items.
Cling film (transparent sandwich wrap)
Sharp craft knife
A pencil or pen
Craft glue which I will speak more about later (ignore the Tacky Glue in my photo above, you don't need that!)
A small piece of cotton fabric
A piece of paper to draw a pattern on
Sewing needles, preferably designed for sewing leather
Thread to match your lambswool
A piece of lambswool or you can also use faux fur
A doll as your model!
Firstly we're going to make a pattern, if you already have a pattern for your particular doll then you can skip this bit, but I didn't so had to make one.
Taking a piece of cling film/sandwich wrap, cover your dolls head and face right down to the neck, tie something around her neck to keep the film in place, pulling it down nice and tightly. This really is to protect your dolls face and forms the basis of the wig pattern.
(Don't worry, she won't suffocate as she is not really real! ;) )
Then you want to start applying the masking tape, tearing it into thin strips, you wind the tape around the dolls head covering the cling film. I usually start at where I want the hairline to be.
The great thing about masking tape is how stretchy it is, so you can easily stretch it around the tops of the ears, as shown below:
Take it down low at the back, to where you would like your finished wig to sit. You want it just low enough that it sits naturally without folding or bunching up if the dolls head leans back:
And across the forehead at the front:
And over the top too. You want to cover the whole head with tape and a few thin layers work best:
Don't worry if yours doesn't look too neat, don't forget I've done this before!
At this stage, before you remove the newly formed wig cap from the doll, you want to mark out where you want to cut the pieces. Using pencil I've marked roughly where I'd like my seams to be on my finished wig. I've also marked the pieces with F for front and B for back. You'll see that I've gone from the forehead, roughly a few millimetres in from the end of each eyebrow and then up and over the top of the head and down the back. You don't want your centre piece to be too wide, so if you feel your own head towards the crown, you probably have sort of 'corners/ bumps' roughly above your ears at the crown? You want to pass through those on your doll.....if they have a name I'd love to know it!!!
It doesn't matter at this stage if those lines aren't perfect, you can see that I've redrawn mine a bit higher in the photos below:
Mark each piece with back and front, it just makes it easier when the pieces are cut out:
Now we're ready to remove the masking tape 'helmet' from the doll, so just carefully snip into those back seams a little, just enough at this stage to pull the cling film off the dolls head. Below is what it'll look like.
Then trim all the cling film off from around the edges, only leaving that which is inside the 'dome' underneath the masking tape.
The photo below is of no importance whatsoever in this 'tutorial' but I thought Ellie looked quite cute.....like the Mekon in the Dan Dare stories, only not green and not evil!!
Now you want to take those scissors and carefully cut along the lines that you've drawn on your masking tape 'wig cap'..... the centre piece is a bit bumpy because it is moulded from the rounded part of the top of her head, but just flatten it down nicely and you now have your three pieces which will now become the basis of your pattern:
If you're confident about adding seam allowances as you go along then you could use your template above as your actual pattern but if like me, you are prone to gaily cutting away and then afterwards remembering the seam allowances....or lack of them, you might prefer to draw around the above pieces onto ordinary paper and then add your seam allowances on to the pattern before cutting it out. You will need seam allowances on both sides of the top centre piece as well as the front of it, and the same goes for the two sides, along the top curved edges and then along the straight bit leading to the curve which goes around the ears. I've added about 5mm but you could get away with less. You don't want to have to trim the seam allowances after you've sewn your wig together, so use as small a seam allowance as you feel you can cope with.
Cut out your pattern and then at this stage I suggest making a cap in a scrap of fabric so that you can check your fit.
I used a piece of ordinary cotton fabric, mark your 'front' and 'back' and then sew it together.
You can see that the fit is good on Ellie so now I can proceed. Awww she looks like a little Novitiate!
It was at this point I decided to make the centre part of the pattern into two pieces for a better fit at the crown. I forgot to take photos of where I marked the cutting point in the pattern, so I will explain it. Going back to those 'corners' on the crown of our heads, I just cut straight across there on my pattern. I then retraced those pattern pieces onto paper and added a seam allowance to the cut edge.
Below is the piece of lambswool that I'm going to use. It is lovely and curly and measures 16cm wide by 11cm deep. This is just big enough for a size 7 inch wig. Anything bigger and you'd probably have to get a seamed piece. This piece is seam free but if you get a piece that has a seam it isn't a problem and the wig can be made in just the same way. I got mine on Etsy, from FUNwithTROLLDOLLS, this seller ships very fast from the US and doesn't charge a fortune for shipping either.
Lay your piece of lambswool down with the skin facing you. You want your curls to be lying in the natural direction of growth as this will determine how you lay out your pattern pieces:
The two side pieces are laid out with the hair falling below them, just as natural hair would look at the sides, and the other two pieces, the centre front and centre back, are laid out so that the hair goes towards the front in both cases. I hope you can see in the photo below what I mean:
As my pencil didn't show up well on the skin, I used a biro and drew out my pattern pieces.
Then using a very sharp craft knife I carefully cut around the pattern, you don't want to cut off the hair, you're almost 'scratching' the skin rather than digging deep into it with the knife. So carefully cut around all the pieces and then pull them away from the skin, the hair should just pull apart from the rest and not tear or be cut away. You can see below that the cuts aren't really deep, they are slightly ragged as I've torn the 'cut' pieces free.
We now have four pieces of the wig, a left side, a right side and the two centre pieces, 'CT' below is for 'centre top':
Now it's time to start sewing up the wig. You will need to use a strong sharp needle and thread that matches the colour of your lambswool. I used brown thread and a needle designed for leather. Taking the two centre pieces you want to line them up and sew them together, leaving the seam allowance. Try to keep as much of the lambswool pushed down between the skin as possible as this makes it easier to sew. It was at this stage, having stabbed myself three times with the leather needle (yes, it works really well on skin too!) I decided to go over my hand sewing with my sewing machine. Again, if you are going to use a sewing machine, use a special needle designed for leather as other needles might break or damage your sewing machine.
Once you've sewn the two centre pieces together at what will become the 'crown' of the wig, you want to pin your sides in place. You have to carefully pin so that the curves match and your front and backs line up.
Once you've sewn your side pieces to your centre piece, turn the wig the right way out and try on your doll. Yes, sweet little Ellie IS in there somewhere!!!
Now you want to glue up the seam allowance along the front of your wig, all the way around from in front of one ear to the other ear. Turn the seam allowance to the inside, and hold it there until glue has dried. You are basically making a neater edge to the front of your wig so that when the hair is styled to one side you don't see the skin of the lambswool.
You will need to use a glue that isn't going to come undone if the skin gets damp, I used Beacon Fabri-Tac which I bought on Ebay UK. It can be used for lots of craft projects and is a permanent adhesive, but I do believe you can also use a hot glue gun and glue sticks.
Try to keep the glue from spreading into the hair, but if a little bit does go into it, you can carefully snip off the affected hairs, as long as it's not great clumps that you're removing!!!
Once the glue is dry, which with the Fabri-Tac was pretty quickly, I sprayed my wig with plain water and just shook it out to separate the curls. You don't want to drench the skin itself in water, just the curls. And then you put the wig on your doll and style as you wish!!!
And here you have it! The finished wig being modelled by Ellie my beautiful Little Darling, hand painted by Dianna Effner!
I hope that this tutorial on how to make a lambswool wig has been useful, I do sometimes struggle to explain things so hope it's also easy to understand. If you need anything clarified, please either leave a message below for me or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks very much for looking, I hope you all have a lovely week ahead!