Sunday, June 21, 2009

hello dolly.

mom encouraged me to get the dressform. she agreed that i'd probably be more apt to stick with sewing long-term if i were less frustrated with the fitting aspects of trying to pin garments on myself backwards in mirrors. i'll let you know how that goes, but first i need to recover from putting the dressform together.

i went with the uniquely you dressform & got a good deal on it- $115 + $12 shipping. mom, dennis the menace & i all agreed she should be named dolly. here she is with her (yikes) 44" bust:

the dress form 002apcnk

the reason the size & shape of the form is exaggerated is because when you put the smaller cover on it (which is fitted to your body), the foam compresses 10-30% & fills the cover out so it is completely smooth & exactly your shape. more about the foam compression in a moment.

fitting the cover
mom was here last weekend & she helped me fit the cover. i don't think there's another person in this world i would be comfortable with maneuvering a skintight cover into position over my 45 year old underwear-clad body. it took us 6 hours to fit. definitely not how i wanted to spend one of our days, but i was so glad she was here to help.

(i am wearing a hat in the first photo because i took the pic after a 2-hour workout that traumatized my hair.)



losing the torpedoes
i'd read other sewers' experiences in putting this form together-- hacking off the torpedo boobs & using batting to build them back up to more normal proportions was pretty common, so that's what i did because it was obvious i wasn't getting my cover with its 35" bust over dolly's 44" bust. i used an electric turkey carving knife until the motor blew out & then i switched to a bread knife.

the ill-fated seam corrections
after fitting the cover, you're supposed to do a seam correction on the side seams to account for the fact that the foam will fill & stretch the cover (that is fitted to you) so that the final measurements of cover + form will actually be larger than your exact measurements. this step is the only one that's stamped with a bold IMPORTANT over it & i point that out for a couple of reasons.

first, if you look at your fitted cover & then at the form, it seems only remotely possible that you're going to get the cover over the form. if you take the side seams in even more, it changes to not a chance in hell you're getting the cover over the form. however, the instructions for fitting the cover up to the bold IMPORTANT step are pretty complicated & not necessarily logical, but there is definitely a method to their madness because if you follow their instructions exactly, the cover will fit you perfectly. it is for this reason that i tried to execute the only step labeled bold IMPORTANT.

here's the math: form's measurements - your measurements/4 = amount you take in at bust/waist/hips on both side seams.

& that's where the trouble started.

there was no way, no how to get the cover on the foam with those seam corrections. in fact, the foam tore in a few places around the bust (& especially where the cord ties are) from the pressure exerted trying to squish the foam into the cover.

do whatever is necessary to get the cover on the form.

i hacked off almost all of the boobs & used some shoulder pads repurposed from the skirt reconstruct project to build them back up. this worked out great for me, because i didn't have far to go for my boob buildup. then i stitched new seams somewhere in between the original seams from my cover fitting & the seam corrections. the problem area was the waist. i'd already clipped the seams there when i did the seam corrections (%&$*!) so i couldn't expand the waist seam as much as i would have liked without running into the clips.

the squishing would have been easier with 2 people, but i wanted to see if i could do it myself. it took about 45 minutes, in shifts. it was quite the work out & i have the blisters & cuts on my hands to prove it. i don't think i ever want to go through that again.

& there's some bad news. while the final bust & hip measurements of the form + cover match my measurements perfectly, the waistline is 3" too narrow. dolly is certainly more visually appealing with her lovely hourglass figure, but she doesn't have my waistline. i'm a little sick about this (& i know my mom will be too) because we had the cover perfectly fitted to me. what i should have done was try the fitted cover on the form & check the final measurements before i made the seam corrections. it would have been worth 2 squishes.


oh well.

my bright idea is to pad the waistline to my measurements with a couple of ace bandages round the form. they're thin, stretchy & moldable to curves, so hopefully that will work.

so i have a dressform & i can't wait to start using it, although i'm a little concerned about the side seams on the cover because they look like they're going to bust open any minute.

i'm waiting for the whole thing to explode like snakes in can.

nobody breathe.