Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sewing Update: late 18th Century "Hedgehog" Wig

Styling a wig to wear with my recently completed chemise de la reine was one of the many "short projects" that I had on my to do list to get ready for Costume College.  I needed something that would look a bit like this:  

Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Marie-Thérèse-Victoire de France, dite Madame Victoire (1787)
Anne Rodbard, Mrs Blackburne, ca. 1787.

Go big or go home, right?  Frizzy fluff-tacular with trailing barrel curls in the back.  Not possessing a significant amount of hair myself, I had to go to a full wig.  I started with the "French Curl" wig from Amphigory, mostly because I already had one on hand that had out-lived it's original purpose.  It was my default generic Victorian-ish thing for a few years and the trailing curls in the back were starting to get a bit mangled from being pinned up into elaborate up-dos.  So, yay for re-using.  

I'm liking this cut/style for a starting point not only because of the curls, but because of the LENGTH of the curls.  On the crown of the head, the hair comprising the curls was only about six inches long.  In the middle, it was ten.  And I didn't measure the trainling ones in the back, but as you can see, they were fairly long.

Here's what I started with.  A little worse for the wear, but still serviceable.

I took a hand full of the nicest-looking of the trailing curls and wrapped them in a plastic bag for safe keeping.
This way, I wouldn't damage them in the back-combing adventures to come.  You can see where the teasing process has started on the left.

Midway through teasing the wig beyond all recognition.  I was seriously giggling my way
through this process, because it felt so awful to abuse the wig in such a fashion.
All I have to say, is thank goodness I never had to do such an atrocity to my own hair.

Opps!  Missed one.  I went over the entire head a couple of times, and any pieces where I could identify an individual curl got teased again.

Once I'd achieved a satisfactory amount of fluff, I needed to manage some width.  So I took the longest pieces of fluffed hair and pinned them back up into wig's foundation with wig pins.
Pinning up sections of teased curls with a wig pin.

Now it's time to see how it looks on my head.

Urh my god, it's so fluffy!  I felt ridiculous.  Seriously, I did this in the middle of the night and it took every ounce
of self-restraint I had not to wake everyone up and show them my ridiculous hair.

Trying it with the hat and that is MUCH better.  I'm going to the leave the trailing curls bagged up
until I get to con.  The less opportunity to mess them up, the better.

All of the tips and instructions I could find on the internet recommended using ridiculous amounts of hairspray at every stage in the styling process.  As I still need to pack this sucker for flying across the country, I'm not going to be able to store it on the wig form and protect it's shape.  (All of the space/wig heads available for such endeavors are already earmarked for the wigs of ridiculousness that goes with the court ensembles for the gala).  Instead, I'm just packing plenty of cheap hair spray and the styling combs and will touch it up when I get to the hotel.  As there's nothing much to be done with the curls hanging down the back, I've left them bagged up as well.

And that's one more thing checked off the to do list.


  1. Okay, trying this to see if LJ is still preventing me from commenting, since I think they were the problem, not your settings. :)

    Really great job on the wig. I love that you were able to repurpose it. For some anime wigs in the past, rather than using massive amounts of hair styling gel or hair spray, I used clear resin spray from the hardware store to "fix" the style one I had it how I needed it (Astro Boy comes to mind, although that one was done in the hour before I left for the con). May work for you. I found that resin-sprayed wigs really didn't suffer during traveling.

    And for the record, when I first read in the title "Hedgehog Wig," I honestly thought you were going to whip out something cerulean blue and spiky. :P

    1. I was tickled that I was able to pull something from the storage for this. Did you use the resin to style "natural" looking hair, or crazy sculpting? Sculpting I can totally see the use for, but I'd be afraid that fluffly hair might settle on one side during transport and I'd be stuck with permanent bed head. Might be worth considering for the barrel curls that will clip onto the sides of the court wear wigs, though. Hmm...

      And I was sorely tempted to try to find a giant stuffed hedgehog plushie that I could wear in place of the wig, but giant and hedgehog seem to be mutually exclusive.

    2. The stuff I was styling was more of the anime variety, aka, "Not Affected By Gravity or Physics and Stiffer Than a Viagra Overdose Victim." It probably wouldn't be too good for any parts of the hair that you want to be fluffy and move with your head.

      On the other hand, once it dried (I tried to give it at least an hour outside to do so), I could fold the hair up and it would be able to pop back into the original shape with a tiny bit of fussing. Heck, on some of the stuff I used spray paint on (yes, I did that), I had to concern myself with the damage the wig could do to my clothes it was packed with (especially the gauzy stuff that could snag), not the other way around.

      If you still want to do the giant stuffed hedgie, I may be able to help you out. I am actually in the middle of messing with some plushie patterns for my neighbor's craft fair, and I'm sort of teaching myself how the designs look once together. Just something to think about in the future.

      I'll answer your email as soon as Hotmail stops jerking me around and I can sit for more than a few minutes. :P