The technique of the sew-in weave was created by Christina Jenkins in the 1950s. Jenkins patented the technique in 1951 and began to teach others how to install the hair.
There is evidence that weaves have existed since the era of Ancient Egypt. However, Jenkins' techniques are what began the modern-day trend.
What Is A Sew-In Weave?
A sew-in weave is a technique used to add hair extensions onto one’s real hair to create fuller, longer hair. Sew-ins are achieved by braiding the natural hair into a cornrow pattern and using a sewing needle to sew a weft, or track of hair extensions. It is a technique that has been in use for decades and has been further perfected throughout the years.
Sew In Tutorial: Start To Finish
How to do A Sew-In Weave?
A sew-in weave gives you the option for long, flowing tresses without having to compromise your own hair. This protective style can be achieved in many forms depending on how protective you’d like the style to be. Some will opt for a more natural and versatile look with the half sew-in which requires you to use some of your own hair to blend over the tracks of hair sewn down.
The more protective option, however, is a full sew-in, which requires all of your natural hair to be braided down and covered by tracks of weave and finished with either a closure or frontal to cover the sharp contrast of the tracks, opposed to using your own hair to do so. This is more protective as it requires no manipulation of your natural hair and no risk of heat damage.
Achieving both methods is very similar, however, involves some minor differences. This technique will show you how to handle a full sew-in, for further guidance on a half sew-in you can read up on it here.
1. Prep the hair
Begin by having your hair thoroughly prepped. This requires you to make sure your hair is washed of any product build as your hair will not be properly cleaned for weeks at a time underneath the sew-in.
Then proceed with putting moisture back into your hair by conditioning and applying a leave-in or moisturizer. For easier braiding, it’s recommended you blow-dry your hair during the prepping process as well.
2. Choose a braiding pattern
Determining a braiding pattern for your sew-in weave is important. You can choose which pattern best fits you. Your pattern will be completely covered.
With this step, you may want to take any loose ends of your braiding pattern and sew them into your connecting cornrows to ensure they’re tucked away.
3. Sew the net on top of your braiding pattern
Once completing your braiding pattern, an optional step is to sew a net on top of your braiding pattern. This will make your sew-in a bit stronger and aid in its longevity, however, you can choose to leave this portion out.
4. Sew the closure
Next, you’ll want to sew down either your closure or frontal onto your braids and/or net. Sewing this portion down first will make sewing the tracks of hair around it easier as you’ll have a guide to follow. You’ll want to lay the frontal or closure flat on the front portion of your head wherever you’d prefer it to sit.
Begin sewing around the perimeter of it being sure to sew through the net and top of the cornrows. Secure it with a concealable knot once you have sewn it down.
5. Sew the tracks
Now, you’ll move onto sewing your tracks or wefts of hair. Begin sewing from bottom to top and lay them close enough to conceal the braiding pattern/net underneath. For this step, you can choose to lay single tracks, fold them over, or double them up. Folding your wefts as opposed to cutting them will make reusing the wefts easier and cut down on shedding.
Doubling up your wefts will make for a fuller sew-in. After you’ve sewn-in all your tracks you can proceed to style your hair.
Hair extensions come in a variety of different types. Human hair extensions, such as those that come from India or China, are the most common types of extensions used for sew-in weaves. It is possible to use synthetic hair; however, it will not look natural nor will it last long. It is also possible to use a blend of both human and synthetic hair. Some popular hair extension textures include silky straight, Yaki, or body wave.
Full sew-in no leave out no closure
Are Sew-In Weaves Versatile?
Sew-in weaves can be extremely versatile depending on the hair type and pattern of the cornrows. Hairstyles with sew-in weaves can be cut, curled, and colored as if it were one’s natural hair. Sew-in weaves can also be pulled up in a bun or ponytail, provided the cornrows are patterned properly where they cannot be seen.
Sometimes, it is necessary to have a partial or half sew-in weave where part of the natural hair is left out to blend in with the weft hair.
How Long Do Sew-In Weaves Last?
With proper care, sew-in weaves can last anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks before it becomes necessary to remove.
Who Are Sew-In Weaves Suitable For?
Sew-in weaves are suitable for all hair textures. Coarser hair textures may be able to handle the constant manipulation better. Sensitive scalps may also have a tough time with the tension and manipulation involved with the style.
The braiding pattern combined with the sewing on top will make it tight on your scalp. As the style is worn longer, however, the initial tension will loosen.
When to Wear Sew-In Weaves?
Sew-in weaves can and are worn year-round.
Pros and Cons
- Sew-in weaves are a good protective style. They give you the ability to allow your hair to flourish on its own, free from constant manipulation.
- Sew-in weaves gives you the ability to manipulate the weave in styles you may not be able to achieve with your natural hair. Many women want to try different styles but are afraid to cause damage to their hair. With a sew-in weave, you can dye it, curl it, straighten it, or wash it, as you would your natural hair without running the risk of damage.
- Sew-in weaves can be costly. You can opt for the cheaper version of using synthetic hair, however, it will not be long-lasting and may look fake. For good quality weave, you may spend a good chunk of change. Bundles can start from $50 and go up to the hundreds. Also, if you plan to get it installed professionally that will add to the cost. On average stylists will charge you $150 for an install.
- Sew-in weaves can result in breakage and hair loss. If the installation is done incorrectly or taken down incorrectly, you can suffer from great hair loss or breakage.