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Topic: not-so-mini me (meet Chicky, my new, customized dress form!)  (Read 17615 times)
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« on: May 30, 2009 03:14:15 PM »

(I didn't quite know where to put this, but here seems appropriate, even if it isn't exactly clothes. It's curvaceous, and it's *for* clothes-does that count?)

I've been trying to make a paper tape dress form for months now, and between not having a partner in crime, and not finding paper tape anywhere in a 50-mile radius, I'd pretty much given up. Then I saw this tutorial: http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/review/readreview.pl?ID=1013&readreview=1. I found a dress form on craigslist that was plus sized, just not quite plus sized enough, and bought a bag of quilt batting (twin size, I think), a long lycra/cotton camisole, and a half slip.

I wish I'd thought to take pictures of the process, but here's what I did. I set the neck and upper bust measurement to mine. I set the rest of the dials to within a couple of inches of my measurements, but no matter what I did, the waist wasn't anywhere close. I sacrificed my favorite bra (ratty, but comfy!) and stuffed the cups with polyfill until I got to my measurement. Then I cut strips in several widths from the roll of batting and, starting at the waist, started wrapping them around the form and building up layers of pudge. The first couple layers of batting stuck to each other, but after that they're pinned in place. I built and measured, built and measured, until I got to within and inch of my measurements, at which point I put I put one last really wide layer (from under the bra to the bottom of the form) all the way around. Then I put the camisole and slip on.

Oops. I did mention the camisole was lycra, yes? There was a fair amount (5+" in some places) of compression, which meant I had to stuff the bustline again, and rewrap the waist, belly and butt. Thus began a long, frustrating morning of wrapping and measuring. I finally decided it was easier to put Chicky on the bed, leave the camisole on (instead of take it off, wrap, put it back on; repeat) and stuff up under it. There's also a layer between the camisole and the slip, but the slip waist is in the correct place. (Now that I know how it goes together, I'm really tempted to take it apart and do it like the first try-all the building-up pieces under one smooth layer.)

Chicky's measurements match mine, although she's not quite the same shape, especially around the belly/hips, although it's close. I may address that if I ever rewrap it all. After I got it done and back on the stand (I just tucked the slip back up into the form and taped it to the inside), I riffled my closet for things to try on, and everything I tried fits like it's supposed to. I'm especially pleased with the upper half, and I suspect any unhappiness with the bottom half more accurately reflects on my own fanny rather than Chicky's.

In any case, here she is:

Funny moment of the day: ThingTwo (16) came to see what I was doing and caught me groping Chicky's bustline (to make sure there weren't thin spots in the padding) and the expression on his face as he tried to decide whether or not to ask what the heck I was doing was hysterical. He finally did ask, and then was fascinated by the process and stuck around to help.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2009 03:16:31 PM by Mrs_Boats » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2009 03:54:15 PM »

you are a genius!! great job and good idea!! you rock!!
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2009 04:06:27 PM »

That's great!  I have been wondering if those plus-sized dressforms would work, and with this sort of idea, they definitely would!
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2009 05:48:29 PM »

That's great!  I have been wondering if those plus-sized dressforms would work, and with this sort of idea, they definitely would!

It worked great, but the problem I had with it as-is is two-fold. First, all of the parts are attached to all of the other parts. If you change, for example, the hip measurement, you also affect the waist measurement. Second, the proportions were all off, for me. Theoretically it should have been ok (the form goes up to a 22 and I'm an 18/20) but in practice, I couldn't get all of the measurements to jive with mine all at the same time. I'd get one set, but adjusting the second one would throw the first one off. I guess I'm just way off of fitting model standards. Grin

Fortunately, I knew all this. I was allowed to seriously play with a floor model in Jo-Anne's, which is why I didn't buy the one I was playing with. Then I found the tutorial. I set everything as close as I could get to my measurements and went from there. (Ironically, the person I bought mine from was selling because she couldn't get it to fit her, and had finally made a tape model.)

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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2009 06:09:56 PM »

I just purchased a not-so-plus-sized vintage dressform at a yard sale for a meagre $2!!!
I knew when I looked at her that her bust and waist would fall under my own measurements, but thought I would have success with something like this.
Your post is fabulous, and you did a great job with Chicky! I thank you for the inspiration, as well.

All I knew for sure was that I was going to alter her out to her full measurements (40" bust, 32" waist, 43" hips), pop a bra on and pad it, then finagle something under the sock she came with to cover all the adjustments.
Hubby's also helping me rework a new stand so she can be a DRESS form, rather than a shirt form...I'm thinking of re-using her 4-way base, adding wheels to it, and a piece of gas pipe for the actual stand.

If you alter her out, let us know how it goes! Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2009 07:37:25 AM »

I sing your praises. You and Chicky are great. I have been needing to do just what you did. Be sure to post what you and Chicky make.
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2009 12:58:17 PM »

Wonderful! You most definately rock! You've done a wonderful job ... thank you for sharing Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2009 11:59:27 AM »

That's way cool!  Cheesy

Love the story of your son, too. How funny!

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« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2009 10:18:20 AM »

Great job, your hard work really paid off.

Sometimes you get to change the world, and other times the world changes you.

The only PhD I earned stands for Pretty Happy Dropout! Now starting new adventures!
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2009 11:00:16 PM »

I LOVE this!

I bought a dressform at my old work, and measured carefully, ordered the closes size (which was correct, theoretically) and payed big bucks even with employ-ie discount. Unfortunately, I am shaped like a box. and no amount of fiddling made it work right. So "M" is sitting in my garage, put back in her box.

I now have hope, thank you.

I can't wait to see what you make with Chicky!

Have fun!
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