Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dress Form, Part Four and Completed

That skinny hipped,flat tummied dummy is a thing of the past. Say hello to Tilly, my toile doll. She is mature, curvy, and petite and I can't wait to sew and fit lots of garments for her. Here are some of the details.









The completed neckline was a wide bias strip of fabric hand stitched to the stay stitching line of the neckline. I did an underlap and then an overlap which I hand stitched down. It would be no big deal to unstitch it and use the zip to remove the cover.
The bias strip was stretched as I hand sewed it to the neckline. This way it hugged the neck. I just turned in the upper side of the strip.



An oval was cut of the fabric on straight of grain and hand appliqued to the armhole. The only drawback with this form is the shoulders are slightly wider than mine but I think that will be as good as it gets. I know exactly where my shoulders end and think that I will do a running stitch in black embroidery floss to mark the shoulder line. It actually ends about 3/4 of an inch from the applique stitching. This armhole area is not padded. It is filled with the form. At the bottom of the armhole is a pleat to accomodate the shaping of the armhole and excess fabric in the oval. The gathering stitches that show have all been removed at this point. This part was a  bit intense as I took the form off of the stand and rolled her as necessary on the cutting table and my lap to sew around the armhole. It really was necessary.


When everything was done to my satisfaction I employed the secret I read about somewhere out in cyberspace. I so wish I could credit the brilliant person who figured this out and can tell you it really makes a difference.  It is the secret to getting the smooth, tight finish and starts before you even take the first stitch.

MAKE SURE you purchase fabric for your form cover that is either 100% cotton or linen. Make sure it is a heavier weight than quilting fabric. Home Dec fabric is great. DO NOT PRE WASH YOUR FABRIC FOR THE FORM COVER. Once more, DO NOT PRE WASH YOUR FABRIC! Got it? I know it's against all the pretreatment rules of sewing but trust me on this.


When the form is padded out to your satisfaction and all hand work done and all looks good enough to be made permanent, fill a spray bottle with the hottest water you can get into the bottle. Put your lovely new form on a floor that can take water. For me this was my back tiled entry to the house. Now start spraying. Spray and spray and spray. You want your form good and wet, but definitely not dripping. Now just walk away. Come back tomorrow. The form will shrink ever so little but just enough to smooth out the lumps and bumps. It is quite amazing the difference this makes. I really wish I could remember who, what, or when to credit this brilliant idea but my memory fails. Whoever you are, thank you so much. All I know is that I read this trick on line at some point and it stuck with me. It makes a difference.

I will be back in my next post to show how and where I decided to pad this thing out. In the meantime:





The first thing I made after completing Tilly was a pair of leggings for DGD's American Girl doll, part of an outfit she saw and wanted while visiting last week. Took me all of ten minutes and was the perfect return to sewing after such an intense project. Not sure what would be next...........Bunny







36 comments:

  1. Wow you dress form looks beautiful and will sit perfectly in your sewing studio. I did see KK's demo on this - once I have got down to my "fighting weight" I think I would like to try and make one. Look forward to seeing your first project.

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  2. Just brilliant! This is so up-market looking with the fabric you choose - my hat goes off to you!!!

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  3. So gorgeous! I love the fabric that you chose! It looks like something you'd purchase just to make your sewing room look good. Brava!

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  4. The dress form looks gorgeous! Just like you;-)
    How clever to use fabric that shrinks a bit. It seems obvious once you know.

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  5. Your dress form is simply amazing. I love the fabric, I have a few yards of it myself. Love the tip about not pre-washing. I knew exactly where you were going with that one as the home dec 100% cotton toile fabric shrinks mightily in length and a bit in width.

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  6. Looks great, I love the toile fabric and how finished it looks. I'm on the lookout for some nice home dec fabric to do this to mine as well so thanks for the tip about wetting it down!

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  7. Shrinking the fabric on the form is very clever. Reminds me of when I was a teenager. I bought new jeans, put them on, soaked myself with water and stayed out in the sun until they were dry so they would be very tight on me. That was just crazy!

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  8. Fantastic finish! I did see your fabric at JoAnn's this weekend and thought...should I or shouldn't I? Decided to pass until I get my knee surgery over with and then I can plow ahead and make a nice tight toile. Thank you for all the great photos and tips...it all seems doable as long as you have a husband who can hold a marker pen and a camera!!!

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    1. My next post will have more about how I actually padded it out. Hope that will help everyone get a better vision of the process.

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  9. I really need to do this, I mean I really really really need to do this! Your form looks fantastic!

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  10. This is fabulous, fabulous, fabulous!

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  11. Thanks so much for all the info you've put here Bunny... I'm about to purchase a dress form (this has been building up for months, and now we've moved I have the space for it!) and had been wanting to do this. Your form cover looks absolutely gorgeous - the fabric is perfect for it!

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    1. Make sure you get a form that can be adjusted to smaller than you are. My form is a petite/small and the smallest non custom form I could find. Those dang shoulders! Anything smaller than you can be padded up to your exact dimensions but if it can't get smaller than you you are stuck with the too large size. My shoulders are VERY narrow and I know I won't ever find a form for a grown woman that will accomodate but I think I at least got as close as possible.

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  12. I love how this ~ especially the fabric you used! So glad you got a form that is more like you!

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  13. Bunny this is beautiful! On purchasing a small form: Did your back waist length match the form you purchased? Or did you someow compensate for having a shorter back waist length than the form? Elle

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    1. One thing I discovered in making the original muslin was that my back waist length, proportionally, is long for a petite. The original form is lengthened a bit to accommodate that. When I "petite" my patterns I take out length from the apex to the shoulder as that is where I am shorter than normal. If your v necks go way too low that is a sign you have the same issue. Of course others may be shorter in the areas from apex to waistline or even both areas. So that skin tight muslin is really valuable in doing this. It is another reason I did the bodice and skirt as two separate units and then put them on and let them ride till I found the correct waistline. Then it was marked.

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  14. What a great dress form, Bunny!

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  15. What a beautiful job you have made of your dress form and thank you so much for sharing. I tried to do this a few months ago but I encountered a few problems. My calico stretched when I tried to pad it out to my shape (I now know to source my fabric in the home dec. department). I used wadding to fill in the 'bumps' but found it was very soft and I never achieved a firm finish. I look forward to your next post about how you did that. Thank you in advance.

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  16. The most wonderful dressform I've ever seen!

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  17. Fantastic work Bunny. Your dress form looks wonderful - decorative and useful too!

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  18. Thanks so much everyone, for the great compliments.

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  19. This project turned out so well, Bunny! I know you are going to get tons of usage out of it & it is BEAUTIFUL besides. Well done, as usual. You always seem to take things to the next level with your creative ideas.

    Warm Hugs,
    Rett

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  20. You are such a sewing Rock Star! I want to be like Bunny when I grow up!!!

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  21. fabulous and it is such a pretty addition to your sewing room.

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  22. She is beautiful! My shoulders are way too narrow for my adjustable petite dress form, too....and that was one of my most critical fitting issues. In desperation, I sat on her until the front and back midseams overlapped at the top and then duct taped her from armhole to armhole. Essentially, I crushed her upper shoulder area. It helped quite a bit, and then I used straight pins to mark my actual shoulder line. I never covered her though, so she looks like Bride of Frankenstein. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Too funny. I felt like a murderer stitching her up flat out on the cutting table and rolling her around. But your persistence is impressive to say the least. Thanks for the smile.

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  23. Bunny, that is awesome!! You made that look super easy, but I shutter to think what mine would look like. hahaha! It will look amazing in your bunker!

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  24. Welcome, Tilly! You did such a great job of making her. I'm jealous... would love to have my own body double. Thanks so much for all of the details you've given here. They'll be great to reference should I ever get around to doing this.

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  25. I have just known your blog, this post is awesome! I follow you, I would like you to follow me!
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  26. Hi Bunny,

    Tilly is fabulous! I love that you made her in toile fabric. I think the website you saw the tip about shrinking the cover on may have been http://sewchicpatterns.blogspot.co.uk, as I'm sure I saw a comment from you underneath the tutorial there. Now I need to find some cool fabric and a buddy to help fit me, so I can make a cover for my mannequin too :)

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  27. I love this and have been thinking about making one for a long time but I have never got to it! After seeing yours I just might do it this time!! Nice fabric pattern choice! great job!! Thanks for posting!!

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  28. Where do I find the entire making of the dress form. This says part four, so there has to be a part 1 to three.

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    1. Simply click back to the previous posts.

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