Have you ever gotten a new wig only to try it on and find that it doesn’t fit? As someone with a pretty small head, I know this feeling. The wig ends up blocking my ears and looking comically large on me. It’s pretty disappointing. But what if I told you you could easily remedy this with only a needle and thread?
The same goes for a wig that is too small for your head. While it’s become more common for wigs to come in larger sizes nowadays, many standard-size wigs are on the smaller side of average. If you find that your wig is too small, there is also a simple way for you to remedy this too.
You can adjust the size of your wig to be bigger or smaller by removing the wefts in front and in the back of the ear tab or adding a piece of elastic in the back of the ear. This way you can custom fit whatever wig you have to your head’s size.
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How to make a wig smaller
If you’re like me and you have a small head, then you might find that the wigs you get tend to be too big. This isn’t such a big deal if you have a wig with bangs all around, but if you want to show any part of your hairline or create an up-do wig, then the large size is pretty noticeable. I also find that properly sized wigs are more comfortable, especially around the ears.
1. Try the wig on
The first thing to do is try on the wig so that you have an idea of how big the wig is and where it seems to be big on you. For me, the wigs tend to be big all around, but especially around the forehead. This causes the ear flaps to sit on top of my ears instead of in front of them like they should.
If you find that the ear tabs are sitting correctly on your head, and the wig is only big in the back, you can skip steps 3 and 4.
2. Turn the wig inside out
Now that you know where the wig feels big on you, we can take a look at the inner workings and edit it. Turn the wig inside out and take a look at how the wig is made. You’ll see rows of wig wefts sewn along lines of elastic. The part we are going to look at is the outer elastic on the front and back of the ear tabs. This is the area where any edits to the wig will be least noticeable.
3. Clip open the seam in front of the ear tab
The first thing we’re going to do is shorten the forehead area of the wig so the ear tabs sit where they should, in front of the ears. To do this, you will need to detach the ear tab at the point where it is sewn to the front of the wig. Snip the thread along the seam until you get to the next horizontal cross seam.
I recommend using a seam ripper (one of these) so that you don’t have to cut the actual wig cap. Instead, you’re cutting through the threads that connect the two pieces. You can use a razor blade as well, but they’re more difficult to control and you’re more likely to accidentally cut your fingers.
4. Remove two rows of wefts and sew closed
Now that you’ve opened the seam you want to remove some of the wig wefts (lines of wig hairs) so that you can sew the wig to make it smaller. Snip two rows of wefts that are going parallel to the seam you cut. Be careful not to cut the wig fibers in the process.
Remove the two lines of wefts and then pin the area closed again. Overlap the forehead area and the ear tab by about half an inch so that area will be smaller. Using a thread in the same color as your wig (or a neutral-colored thread that won’t stand out) reconnect the ear tab. I like to use a curved wig needle to make it easier to sew without catching the wig fibers in the thread. However, a straight sewing needle will work if that’s all you have available.
After you’re finished sewing everything up, try on your wig. Make sure that the ear tab sits in front of the ear, and check the seam to make sure the sewn area isn’t visible from the outside. You also want to decide if the back of the wig still feels too big. If shortening the front already makes the wig fit better, you can skip steps 5 and 6.
5. Cut open the seam in the back of the ear tab
Shortening the back of the wig is a little bit easier since the lines of wefts in this area are further apart and easier to see. Any edits are also less likely to be seen from the outside of the wig, so you don’t need to be quite as careful with this part.
Like what you did for the front, you want to separate the ear tab from the outer band behind it. You can use a seam ripper to snip the threads if you want the end result to look cleaner, but you can also just snip the band about half an inch in the back of the ear tab for a quicker method.
6. Remove two rows of wefts and sew closed
Remove the first two rows of the wefts on the elastic band. If you need to make the wig smaller, you can remove 3 or 4 as necessary. I usually just snip the elastic right below the second row, then snip the wefts at the next seam in.
Pin the end of the elastic band to the bottom of the ear tab and then sew them together. Use a thread in the color of your wig or a neutral color (such as the color of the wig cap). Make sure to securely sew them in place because this area will have to stretch a little bit when you put the wig on, and you don’t want the thread to snap. It doesn’t need to be pretty since no one will see this part when you’re wearing the wig.
Most wigs will have an elastic hook that can help with some simple resizing. You can leave it in if you want, but I usually remove it since it’s not needed anymore for my custom-sized wig.
Once you’ve finished, try the wig on to make sure it fits properly. You can always remove more wefts if you feel it’s still too big.
7. Repeat on the other side
Now all you have to do is go back through the process step-by-step on the other side of the wig. Try to make both sides as even as possible, but don’t worry. No one will notice if one side is a quarter-inch different from the other. As long as it fits and you’re comfortable with how the wig feels, then you successfully edited your wig for a smaller head.
How to make a wig bigger
Some of you will have the opposite problem. The wig will be too small for your head, and you’ll need to adjust it to be a size bigger. This is actually a more common issue unless you’re using a brand that is known for having larger wigs (like Arda Wigs). The good news is that it’s usually easier to size a wig up than it is to size a wig down.
1. Turn the wig inside out
Turn the wig inside out and look for the ear tabs on the side of the wig. You’ll see the ear tab is a separate section that’s sewn to the elastic band that goes around the back of the wig. What we’re going to need to do is elongate this back section with a piece of elastic so that it can accommodate a larger skull.
2. Cut off the wig resizing tab (or use another piece of elastic)
You can use a separate piece of elastic for this tutorial, however, if you don’t have any available look no further than the inside of your wig. Most will have a long tab of elastic with a hook at the end connected to the back of the ear. Since this is used as a simple way to size the wig smaller, it’s not useful to you.
Go ahead and cut off that wig resizing tab. Measure about 1-2 inches off the end and snip it. The 1-2 inch section of elastic will be what you use to enlarge your wig.
3. Separate the ear tab from the back of the wig
Now, go back to the ear tab of your wig. Either snip the elastic band about half an inch behind the tab or use a seam ripper to cut the threads more carefully until the ear tab and the back of the wig are separated. Be careful not to cut the wig fibers in the process.
4. Use your elastic piece and sew it behind the ear tab
Take your small elastic piece that we got in step 2 and pin it between the ear tab and the back of the wig to reconnect the two sides. Sew the elastic in place using thread that matches the wig or matches the color of the wig cap. It’s okay if it looks a little messy, the area shouldn’t be seen from the outside. However, you do want to make sure it’s securely sewn on so that the thread doesn’t snap while you’re stretching the wig over your head.
After you’ve finished, try the wig on to see how it looks and feels. If it still feels tight, you can add a longer strand of elastic (but before you do that, remember you will still add elastic to the other side too).
5. Add wefts if necessary
In most cases, the small expansion in the wig cap will not create any noticeable gaps in the wig. The fibers on top will fall and cover up the gap. However, if you needed to significantly increase the size of a wig, you might have to add a couple of lines of wig wefts to cover the gap.
Most places that sell cosplay wigs will also sell wefts. You can purchase these and sew them onto your wig to cover the gap you created. Then trim the wefts to match the style of your wig. In most cases, you will not have to take this step, but it is an option for you if the wig was exceptionally small.
6. Repeat on the other side
Once you have one side finished, it’s time to repeat the process with the other side of the wig. Try to make both sides as even as possible, but don’t worry if they’re not exact. Trust me, no one will notice.