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Oh yes, my kids just love Despicable Me. (Evidence of this can be seen here, here and here.) And yes, this year my kids are dressing up as Despicable Me characters for Carnival. And yes, I’m making the costumes. Sofia decided to be AVL agent Lucy Wilde.
Want to know how to make a fantastic bright orange Lucy wig with chignon plus a few of Lucy’s must-have accessories? And want to know how to make them spending a mere €2? Then read on!
For the wig you need an old pair of tights that fit tightly around your head (preferably orange, but use what you have), two skeins of cheap orange yarn and orange thread. For other accessories I used old sunglasses, teal nail polish, a plastic pocket they give you passport photos in, plain white paper and old cereal boxes (not pictured) and stickers from a Despicable Me sticker album of Lucy and her key. I already had all of these materials except for the yarn, which is how I spent the €2. In leiu of the stickers you could always print pictures from the Internet.
Let’s start with the sunglasses. My pair was a hand-me-down from some other kid and pretty cheap, so much so that I was able to just pop out the lenses so that I could paint the frames with nail polish. If you don’t dare pop them out, you can protect them with some masking tape. I gave the glasses 3 coats of polish on the outsides and 2 coats on the insides. When they were dry I popped the lenses back in. Done!
We made a key for Lucy’s super awesome flying-swimming-driving car just because we happened to have an extra of these stickers. I stuck it on the colored side of a cereal box and cut out around it.
What fun is it to be able to flash Lucy’s ID card, right?! While cleaning out some old stuff, I found this cool sparkly plastic pocket from the photographer where I get our ID photos taken. Pretty close to Lucy’s trademark turquoise color!
Inside there were two transparent slots. I made an ID card for Lucy (it was my daughter’s idea to make her only 10 cm tall) sticking on the extra album sticker for her photo and a bit of bar code that I cut out from a cereal box. I found a nice image of the AVL logo here, which I resized and tried to print out, however my printer has been malfunctioning so I used my tried and true tracing-from-the-computer-screen trick to draw my own on white paper. Both of these official documents got glued onto cereal boxes to make them more rigid.
Here are all of the finished accessories. They were all really quick to make, leaving us lots of time for… dum dum dummmm… the wig!
Get your model ready by pulling up her hair and clipping back any bangs or short bits in the back. (You’ll see that my daughter was in a tongue-sticking-out mood for these pictures.)
Turn the tights inside out and stick them over your model’s head.
Let the model goof around a bit.
If you want to be quick, just pinch the legs together at the top of the head and sew across with a zig zag stitch. If you want to do things a little more nicely, thread a needle and sew a basting stitch in a spiral to gather the fabric together nicely. This is what I did the first time. (Yes, I actually ended up making two wigs. More about that later.)
Cut off the legs.
Sew with a zig zag stitch, then trim the excess fabric off. (You can’t see my zig zags, but they’re where the arrows are.)
Turn right side out and stick back on your model’s head.
Mark off where you want the bangs to begin and end with safety pins.
Take off the cap and send your model off to play. Cut a piece of cardboard 14 cm wide and start wrapping the yarn around it without pulling it too tightly.
Cut the yarn and slip it off the cardboard without messing up the loops.
Position the middle of the yarn loops along the edge of the cap starting from one of the safety pins and zig zag stitch them to the cap. You don’t want them to be too thick, so sort of spread them out evenly as you stitch.
This is what it looks like when the loops are all hanging down, as they will eventually be. Spread out the loops again and continue making loops and sewing them on until you reach over to the other safety pin. If there are any bare spots, just fill them in. It doesn’t matter how often you sew over that middle section of the yarn because it will get covered.
When you’re done with the bangs, calculate how long the rest of the hair should be. Measuring with my hat flat from the top to the back edge and to right above the bangs was 16 cm. Now multiply that by 4. (This is where I messed up the first time– not considering that the cap would be stretched across the head, I made the hair too short.)
Either cut out a big piece of cardboard that wide or place two chairs that amount apart and wind the yarn around as you already did for the bangs. This and the next picture are of my too-short hair, so pretend that the loops are way longer. The second time I used two chairs 60 cm apart with heavy things on them to keep them from moving around.
Sew the halfway point of the long loops to the edge of the cap starting from where you left off with the bangs. You might overlap a few strands over the bangs to avoid any bald spots. Continue all the way around the back to the other side of the bangs, again overlapping a tiny bit.
Flip the wig inside out and, being very careful to lay the yarn loops opened flat as they were when you sewed them to the cap, sew a zig zag stitch RIGHT ALONG the edge of the fabric. Go slowly and stop as often as necessary to flatten out the yarn properly before stitching it again. Why are we doing this? So that the yarn goes all the way down to the very edge of the cap, which will therefore not be at all visible when we pull the hair up into the chignon. In the picture above you can see the two lines of zig zag stitching on the inside of the wig.
Now we need to add another row of hair above the bangs. Prepare your long yarn loops, pull the bangs down flat, and zig zag the middle of the yarn loops right above the folded over bangs. In the picture above you can see my first bunch of loops sewn above the bangs, first opened up wide, then pulled up and away from the bangs as it will eventually be.
Here’s another image from a different point of view of how this row of hair will look. Continue sewing this second row of hair above the bangs, going slightly beyond where they start and begin. On my first attempt I sewed additional rows of hair, but then afterwards found the hair to be way too voluminous when pulled up, making more of a freaky Marie Antoinette look, which isn’t quite what we’re going for. The second time around I found that the bottom edge row plus the second row just over the bangs was plenty. However if you find when you are styling the hairdo that there are bald spots, you can always go back and fill them in a bit.
You might notice that, when you pull apart the bangs and the longer hair above them, there is some cap visible between the rows. If this happens, just spread open the long yarn loops and zig zag stitch down the middle again, but this time a little bit closer to the bangs. I suggest pulling the bangs away somewhat tightly so as not to sew over them.
Pull the hair back again and the gap should be closed. If it isn’t, sew again even closer to the bangs until the gap is closed.
Call your model back, slip the wig on her and get a good laugh, both of you!
Make sure the bangs are centered and pull the long hair above it back and out of the way. Take ten or so strands of yarn right next to the bangs and cut them along the jawline, preferably angled downwards. Repeat on the other side.
Pull back the hair on the top, combing it with your fingers to make it as smooth as possible. When you have it nice and orderly, hold it in place with a big clip.
Pull the hair around the bottom up, one section at a time, again finger combing it and holding it along with the top portion of hair. Move the bun around so that the excess yarn loops are more or less even, combing the hair when you move it around. When it looks good, wrap a big hair elastic (preferably one of those softer ones used for younger girls’ hair) around the bun. The looped ends of the yarn recreate that curled chignon look that Lucy’s hairdo has, but if they’re too long, leave the ends not entirely pulled out of the elastic. Snip off any extra bits that are hanging out longer than the others. If you want, cut an extra piece of yarn nice and long and wrap it around the base of the bun to help hold it in place and tie double knots to hold it there.
Now the bangs. Pull the longer side bits behind the model’s ears to get them out of the way. Then cut the loops of the bangs so that the cut ends hang down.
Get into hair-cutting mode. Finger comb the bangs down straight and make sure that there aren’t any stuck under the edge of the cap. Then start evening out the edges of the bangs. As I was doing this part, Sofia reminded me that Lucy’s bangs are perfectly straight. (No pressure or anything!) Tell your model to keep her tongue in her mouth, otherwise she might get yarn fluff on it!
I’ve always cut my daughter’s hair myself and I felt just like I was cutting her real hair. Except the bits of hair on the floor were orange yarn. And the feeling that, if I messed it up, I wouldn’t be able to console myself that it would eventually grown out!
Now just bask in the glory of having made an awesome wig and how much your little gal loves it! (And notice when she strikes a pose similar to a crazed Vermeer model.)
Place her sunglasses on top of her head and send this agent off on a mission to pick up her little brother from school! (Photo from my Instagram account) (Remember the personalized preschool backpack and the Clifford hat?) Sofia worried that nobody would know who she was, but I reminded her that she could always show them her badge! Of course the Lucy costume isn’t complete without her signature coat and scarf, so stay tuned for those as well as Mr. Nicky’s costume! (edit: both of those tutorials are now published, so click on the links to see more!)