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Replacing Ginny Size Doll Wigs

Many of the Ginny type, hard plastic dolls of the 1950's have, over the course of their lives obtained a few hair problems. Gigi, at the left has apparently had a hair-raising experience. The stitches are gone and the fabric they were stitched on, and what's left is a big knot held on by a tiny bit of glue. The cute little small eyed Ginger doll to the right, has a reasonable amount at the back but not enough to cover the front.

First remove the old doll wig and clean the doll and head. Sometimes you can easily pull the last of the wig off, if there is any. Other times it helps to soak it a bit. I use Twin Pines Formula 9-1-1 cleaner and water in a saucer, so I can soak just a small portion of the doll head at a time. I don't want to soak areas that don't need it. Most of the remaining pieces can be cleaned off by hand with a little elbow grease. Any remaining little pieces can be cut. It's ok if a few little strands of hair or glue are left on the head. They'll be covered by the new wig, but you should make sure that there are no long hairs or loose pieces.

These are some of the hair options for dolls. On the top left is the regular mohair wool. Below that is the braided wavy kind. They are sold under different mohair and wool labels. To the right is a synthetic wig. This is the beard version. I also use a wiglet, that's the same hair, made by the same company. I've been finding this stuff at local craft stores. For this doll I used wavy mohair, which is the hardest of the 3 to work with. Remember with either type of mohair though, that this can't be brushed and will pull apart. I think the mohair looks better on the dolls but it is harder to work with and more fragile. The wiglets are easier and faster, and you can skip the how to make parts and get on to how to glue. There are also a lot of other hair materials offered on the market and you can adapt the dolls wig to your preferences.

Now you need something to sew your wig on to. I've been using a small piece of some organdy like new stuff I found in a remnants box at Wal-mart. It's a peach color and almost invisible, the originals used a small piece of open weave cotton of some sort. I think you can use a variety of different fabrics as long as it's a good color, flexible and won't ravel too much too fast. Cut a rectangle piece of your fabric, don't worry about it being the right size, cut it kind of big at first, if it's 1 1/2" x 3" you should be fine. You can always trim it later.

You have to decide how long you want your dolls hair part, which is your seam and where you want it, to the side, middle, or far side and which side. You'll also need to decide what part of the hair you want to be the front and the back. If you have your part in the middle you'll sew in the middle of the hair piece, if you want it to the side you should sew it to the side. You'll also want yours dolls hair to be more than twice as long as you want it to be since, only half of it will hang on each side of the head, and you want to start out with extra. It's easy to take it off, but once it's gone your out of luck. After you decide, lay the part of the hair you want to be your part over the middle of the fabric and sew. If you use the wavy mohair you'll have to carefully start to pull it apart first so it's the right length and thickness, it's not a bad idea to out a little extra to the back.

Now you need to spread the hair out a bit more, so it will cover the dolls head. You can set it on the head and take it off at this point while you play with it to get an approximate idea of where you want the main parts of the hair. You don't need to style it at this point just kind of direct it a bit. You'll be doing more of both later and now you'll just be gluing the fabric strip on.

Glue just the fabric strip at first. You can add more glue later and get it more arranged. At first you just need to glue the fabric on, so the hair is at least somewhat stuck to the dolls head and you have a bit more control.

While the glue is drying you need to find some way to hold it to the head. I use pony tail holders, a piece of tulle, a towel and baby socks, pretty much anything you have at hand that will hold it the hair in place on your dolls head while the glue dries. Since the mohair is so delicate I didn't want to use the socks on this doll and used the little pony tail holder instead.

For the wiglets the baby sock work very well. Sometimes with the wiglets it's easier to do the top of the dolls head and then the sides. For the doll pictured here I used the beard hair to make the doll some long locks in the back and then added the wiglet in front, which makes good short hair but doesn't have enough fullness for long hair on it's own. The wiglets look kind of funny at first but look good after lot's of cutting and styling later on.

Once the glue dries, and you take whatever is holding it down off, it looks like this. It helps to glue the wig in stages, that way you have more control. If you let each stage dry for an hour or more, depending on the amount of glue you use, and don't start brushing and styling until you're all done and have let it sit over night, you'll have the best control and get the best results.

Arrange the rest of the hair over her haed and glue it down too. Put the sock or holder back on. It's ok if there are a few bald spots. After this gluing dries you can pull the hair apart a bit more and cover it. You can glue as many times as you need, but remember you only want to put as little as is possible to do the job. You don't want the glue to come through to the top of the dolls hair, just hold the bottom layer to her haed.

When you have most of the hair glued down she looks like this. Now comes the work. Once again mohair is delicate, you can't brush and comb it, you have to carefully pick the hair into place. I use mostly a hat pin. The hardest part is getting the different parts of the waves together. This is only a problem with the kinky mohair, the regular and synthetic hair doesn't have this problem. With the synthetic hair you can just brush it lightly, but it will mess up the curls, but you'll need to cut it a lot anyway so that's not so much of a problem. With the mohair you can trim it a bit, but I don't really like the abrupt cut ends, so I like to trim it and then lightly crush and pull the bottom with a pin to get a more natural look. Then you can trim off the really long pieces.

These are the synthetic wig dolls. They all have the same wiglet on in the 2 colors I found it available. The one with all the hair in the back has the beard wig strand on it too, behind and under the other wiglet. She still needs to loose a bit of hair. I really liked these until I tried the mohair, but it looks really good, even though it's a bit delicate. I made the violet dress on the blonde, the other 2 girls are wearing vintage outfits, the one with the red, white and blue, factory made, the skaters outfit homemade.

This is the little Gigi doll when she's all finished. The hair looks good; the dress has a little trim problem in the back. I was just so tired of working on the dress that day that I figured I'd just fix it on another day. Otherwise I was very happy with the dress. the bodice is velvet, the skirt fabrics are vintage, bottom edge is taffeta, trims are modern. But the buttons are vintage jet, and the necklace and bracelet are made from vintage glass beads and faux pearls. The purse is a working drawstring.

This is the other mohair wig, on a little Ginger doll. Her dress is vintage, as is the purse, but later. Her tights and shoes are newly replaced.

Warning! Your kitchen table may look like this when you're done!

Important links

8-Inch Ginny-Type Dolls of the 1950'sThis is the place to identify those dolls. Great Web Site!
Twin PinesGreat doll cleaners. I especially like the Remove-Zit, Formula 9-1-1, Perk! and Boost.
Best Dressed DollWonderful place for doll shoes, socks and other accessories. Friendly emails, nice place to shop.
Dollmamasden ForumThe Best Doll BB on the web!

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