Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How to Make a Tibetan Lamb Wig

Aahhh, a day off work. I see it's been awhile since my last post. I really should be working on a doll right now (ODACA Day / UFDC Convention is just around the corner), but thought I should get a quick post in first.

I thought I'd describe how I make a wig from Tibetan lamb. I'm sure there are other ways, I just haven't figured them out yet. I start by draping a paper towel over the doll's head. Pinch darts in the paper towel to get a good fit. Pin the darts and trim the paper towel so it matches the natural hairline. I like to fold under the front edge of the wig to make a nicer hairline at the face, so take that into account if you want to do that. Remove the paper towel, cut the darts so there's a seam allowance of about 1/8 inch, and use this piece as a guide to make a pattern with a little more symmetry.

Now use this new pattern to make a cap of felt, and sew the darts with your sewing machine. Fit the felt cap to the head. Does it work? If not tweak it (it's more cost effective to test the pattern with felt than to just cut into your hide).

When you're satisfied with the fit of the felt cap, you're ready to cut the wig from Tibetan lamb. Pay attention to the natural direction of the hair on the hide. I try to position the pattern so the hair flows away from the face. If you've made the pattern piece from freezer paper, just iron it to the hide. Take great care when cutting the hide, to avoid cutting the hair.

I just made a wig for a doll class - I'd already packed all my scissors, so I found a scalpel - specifically, a pointed #11 blade. I drew around the ironed-on pattern with a pen, removed the pattern from the hide, and cut along the line with the scalpel - not flat on the table, but holding the hide up a little. It worked much better than the scissors, and didn't cut any of the hair (nor did I cut myself). While I have easy access to scalpels at work, I don't see why an exacto knife wouldn't work.

With a 1/8 inch seam allowance, sew the darts right sides together, sliding as much of the hair fibers out of the seam allowance and to the right side of the wig as you can. Sometimes the hide doesn't slide well in the sewing machine, so I put the hide on a piece of tissue or pattern paper, sew the dart, then tear the paper away.

For my Verity doll with most of the head painted, this wig needs to be glued onto the head. I glued the front edge of the wig under about 1/4 inch. Fabri-Tac works well, as does Grrrip glue. When that sets, glue the wig to the head with white tacky glue. That glue will give you a little more time to position the wig.

If the doll is all cloth - that is, the head isn't painted - the wig can be ladder stitched in place. Don't glue the front edge under. Just use a fine but strong needle to sew the wig to the head. The cut edge of the wig will be turned under as you go - all the way around the head.

After attaching the head (and all the glue has dried), comb out the hair. This makes it super fluffy and frizzy. Carefully wet the hair (don't saturate the hide) and towel it dry. Add a tiny bit of hair mousse, then comb it out again, styling it a little, then let it dry. All the pretty little curls of the Tibetan lamb come back.


Unknown said...

Hi Deanna,
I like coming over here to your blog as you always have such useful and informative entries. A month ago, I purchased your Averil and Cecelia and Verity patterns. I read them all and made a doll. The first doll's face was mostly done, but needed a little touch up on her lips.....disaster! the red paint pen was too wet and red paint spilled out messing up my beautiful doll's face.....back to the drawing board...made another torso and head....that finished doll is pictured on the header of my blog....She is the cute pixie looking baby doll! If you get the chance, would you take a look and tell me what you think. Before you say it, had I taken the time to apply the messy mix, I could have simply wiped her face of the excess paint and just moved on....giggle....just not ready for the messy mix yet....but I will get there! Thank you for the inspiration and I will use those patterns/ideas for years to come! By the way, is there way to FOLLOW your blog? Take care and keep making these gorgeous dolls...

Unknown said...

Okay...I swear that I am not mentally impaired....I did see the FOLLOW and now I am a FOLLOWER...lol

Deanna Hogan said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks so much for following my blog. I hope to continue putting up something helpful now and then. I'm glad you figured out how to follow it. Before I'd added that "Following" gadget, I found a service that sends email notifications of new posts. That one's called "Email Subscriptions" and if found under the Astoria Weather box.

Your doll turned out beautifully! Your face is so sweet and expressive. It sure doesn't look like you had any trouble figuring out how to make the doll. I really like her clothing, too, the colors, layers, etc. You used something different for hair, too. We talked about using alternate types of hair at the last Verity class I taught.

I've been working on a Verity doll, too, and hope to get her finished today.

Keep up the good work!


Liz in Kansas said...

Great tutorial! You have a nice concise style that makes the steps sound clear and easy. I especially like the tip to make a felt cap first. Why didn't I think of that?!

Temp said...

Thank you so much for this turtorial, I've been wanting to put this on one of my dolls for a while now but couldn't figure out the best way to do it.