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How to do a Hair Weave

26 October 2012

Some people will have heard of hair weaves before. They are often used by Afro-carribean people, so they can have long, straight hair, blonde hair or anything else that would be difficult for them to achieve with the hair that grows from their heads. I used it to pretend that my hair was long.

What you need:

  • At least 2 inches of hair (the longer it is, the easier it is, I had 2 inches of hair when I did mine)
  • Your hair extensions (I’d recommend 2 packs)
  • A curved needle (upholsterers needles or ones you can get from hair supply shops)
  • Thread that matches the colour of your hair (from hair supply shops or strong thread from a sewing shop, must be a man-made fibre)
  • Little poly-band elastics (the tiny plastic ones)
  • Scissors
  • A weekend/a friend to help

First things first, get your hair the colour you want the weave to be, I was doing blonde. Washing your hair before you put the weave in with shampoo and no conditioner can help because the hair is less slippery and easier to cornrow:

Before the weave is started

Next, cornrow your hair all over. A cornrow is basically like a really small, really tight french braid. You section out the hair so you have straight lines roughly the thickness of your finger, and gather the hair in like a french braid except instead of pulling outside sections on to the top of the middle ones, they go underneath the middle section. Working front to back, secure the end of each one with a small elastic band. If your hair (braided) is longer than your shoulders, fold the braid back up and sew it to the cornrow to make a bigger cornrow. If your hair is a little shorter than ideal, then you might want to work in the direction of the hair as I did (so the top cornrows went forward). If your hair is very fine or very short, then you can sew around the cornrow to make it a bit firmer. I did this so that I had a more secure base to work with.

Front:

Front of cornrows, pre-weave

Back:

Back of cornrows, pre-weave

Note: this part is done intentionally tight, so if your scalp aches a little, that’s normal. it’ll go away in a day or two.

Next, add your extensions. I had a weft of hair that was one continuous piece and this worked really well. Take the end of your weft and place it at one side of your hair-line at the nape of your neck. Measure to the other side of the nape of your neck and cut a piece off your weft this long. Take your needle and thread and sew the piece of weft to the cornrows at the base of your head. If you’re an experienced sewer, you’re doing overhand stitch, if not, you’re sewing through the weft from the front to the back, pushing into the cornrow and out above where the weft is, then you’re going down and back through the weft from the top and repeating all the way along.

first weft

Continue doing this up to the top of your ears. When you get to there, you’re doing a different technique. One thing I learned while doing this, is that this part only really needs about 3 lengths of weft with big spaces in between them. I didn’t leave that space and ended up with 5 or 6 lengths in that area. the result was that the hair was far too thick and matted up really quickly at the back as well as being hot and heavy and resulting in me needing to buy a third pack of extensions to cover the top and even then not having quite enough for a good looking top.

Stop here:

..

Now the technique changes, instead of going side to side, you go around and around. take your weft of hair, and place the end above the last piece of weft you attached, slightly off to the side (from this point on, leave gaps between the wefts of about 1cm). Run the weft around your head, going along the previous weft, above the ear on one side, around the hairline at the front, over the other ear to join where you started. Cut this length and sew it on in the same way you did the other wefts.

(I’m leaning forward in this shot)

getting to the top

Continue doing this, until you get to the crown of your hair. If you can, as you do this, make the gaps in the weft more prominent towards the front of your hair, this way your crown will be in the right place.
When you have a hole in the weft about an inch around, it’s time to do the closure. Take a short piece of weft and make a circle with it. Sew it down as you have for the rest of the wefts, then take the top of the weft and pull it up a little bit, sew the top of the weft (the part closest to the extension hair) to the part opposite it. Do this across all the compass points until the extension is closed in and no part of the weft is visible.

The part right in the middle, ignore the back part where the wefts are visible, you live and learn

..

Then all that’s left is to decide your parting and cut in any style you might want. because your hair is forward over your face, you can do any parting and fringe. I chose to just part it to the side and cut in a bit of a side fringe.

weave

And that’s all there is. The process takes a fair few hours if you do it on your own, but it is doable. To remove the weave, cut the threads you sewed in and gently remove them, undo the bands and comb your hair.

Advantages of wearing a weave:

  • A chance to have long hair
  • Possible to change hair colour to that perfect shade of blue/white/silver without all the rubbish that comes with dying it
  • Possible to change back to the previous style fairly quickly.

Disadvantages:

  • The extensions can be expensive, I used synthetic ones and the bill still ended up around £50
  • My weave was very hot and heavy (too much hair in it)
  • All the maintenance of long hair
  • You can’t do a lot with it. I wanted long hair so i could style it differently, but pulling back the fringe or a high ponytail weren’t possible because the weft was visible. The options are: down, low ponytail, low plait.

I only kept my weave for about a week because it made me sad (for some of the reasons above and) to look really normal. I felt very much not-me with this style and had to remove it and dye it bright colours.

Hopefully you find this useful and let me see if you give it a go!

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