Thursday, February 21, 2008

Operation: Dress Form 4

I used a series of articles from Threads magazine #44, 45, 47 and 48 (December 1992 through August/September 1993) written by Suzanne Pierrette Stern to complete this dress form remodel.

After weeks of pinning and sewing and pinning and sewing, my project is complete :)!

Before anything else is said, you don't need Threads #47 if you follow the information in #44 and #45. The article in #47 gives you the option and directions for completing the cover using darts instead of a princess seam. (Not only that, it implies that this is easier than the original method!)

It was nearly impossible to keep track of every adjustment, mishap, and detail but the following pages cover the general steps.

With all the pattern sales and spring fabrics now, I've been so anxious to get back to sewing clothes! Back in a bit with more bits.

Oh yea, my final, final step for this project is to go to Myraida and figure out how to add my style lines (this is to make up for oops #2) and eventually drape on my form.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Off the Track

I'm sort of stuck with the next dress form step so...I veered off that track momentarily.

Decided "lift" a Hanna Anderson dress pattern for my daughter. Using what I remembered from a method I found in Threads (have I mentioned that I love this magazine?). I used duct tape to copy the bodice and sleeve then measured the dimensions of the skirt.

The dress

For the sleeve I used my seam press to support the shape and placed the first piece of tape at the center. I also had to stretch as I taped the hem because the trim is elastic and was smaller than the fabric.

The duct tape patterns on banquet table vinyl (my version of pattern paper).

I would like to say that I followed the instructions and used my tape measure to draw a 5/8" seam allowance around these pieces. But...I didn't, I just eye-balled it and cut the pattern with a 1/2" seam allowance on all sides.

Her birthday is Monday so I'm hoping to post at least one dress by then, maybe two since I bought all the materials. Then I'll have to spend a day telling you why she didn't (or did?) like them. She's become very picky in her sixth year of life.

Yikes! Just realized I forgot to lift the back. Gotta go :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Operation: Dress Form 3

I used a series of articles from Threads magazine #44, 45, 47 and 48 (December 1992 through August/September 1993) written by Suzanne Pierrette Stern to complete this dress form remodel.

5. Marking
Time to mark the center front/back, sides, and waist. Following the instructions, I used my tape measure to draw in the vertical lines. I skipped the part where it said to mark the waist (again) with tape/ribbon. I have no explanation as to why I skipped this step – had to make up for it later.

The next vertical line to be marked is the guide for the princess seam. It’s done the same way as the other vertical lines. I determined a starting point at the shoulder and marked my line making sure that it goes of the bust point. On the back I used the front princess line at the should seam to determine the starting point and pinned the tape measure from there.

6. The Grain!

Tear a piece of muslin the length of the dress form and then divide that into four equal pieces each torn lengthwise (to keep the fabric on the grain). At this point I am following the directions and only working with the right side of my dress form. Each of the four pieces needs to have both the lengthwise and crosswise grain marked. To find the grain of a piece of fabric you need to pull a thread (the article suggests pulling two individually) the length of the piece. This creates a line in the fabric.
Warning!: Marking the grain on all four pieces took me two hours! Of course for the first two pieces I thread-traced the grain and then read the instructions that said this wasn’t necessary, she only did for the pictures. With this fabric the thread was constantly breaking and then I couldn't find the same thread to finish pulling. It was a long process.

7. Draping the muslin pattern.

This is like a “rough draft” of the muslin and will be used to create a pattern that will be sewn, fitted on the real body, and then returned to the dress form. So while the measurements and fitting are important, at this point they aren’t “do or die” important. The grain placement however, is always “do or die” important.

The first piece to drape is the center front. Match the lengthwise grain with the CF marking and the crosswise grain with the bust point.

Next up, Issue 47!

Operation: Dress Form 2

SNOW DAY! What a perfect time to blog.

In case you haven't noticed I'm a new blogger and haven't quite figured out all the technical stuff yet. Unless someone would like to offer a suggestion,I'm going to add information as time allows. That's why today starts with Step 3 and scrolling down the blog will take you to Steps 1 and 2. I guess when I'm finished I'll put it all in one sequential blog.

I used a series of articles from Threads magazine #44, 45, 47 and 48 (December 1992 through August/September 1993) written by Suzanne Pierrette Stern to complete this dress form remodel.

3. Measurements and padding.
There are about ten measurements that are used to arrange the padding. The author mentions their importance but really stresses that you need to keep in mind the actual silhouette of the body you’re creating. In my case I’m paying close attention to my chest, which seems almost concave on the left, and my stomach, which for the first time in my adult life is actually flat! (If you have the magazine you’ll see that she is only working on half of the form. For me, I’m just keep the padding on the entire form.) The measurements are pretty standard - bust, waist, hip, neck, and armscye circumferance, shoulder width, BP to BP, and center front/back from neck to waist and then to the floor. One additional measurement is taken from the back of the neck to the front over the bust point and down to the waist. Use a ribbon or tape to mark the waist over the padding.

4. Interfacing
Any fusible interfacing can be used. I have some nice 60” tricot purchased locally (Cutting Room Fabrics). Cut the interfacing into four narrow segments for the LR sides both front and back. Press each segment onto the form. Because my interfacing is very pliable I manipulate it around the most of the curves then cut or overlap where needed.

On to issue 45!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Operation: Dress Form

I used a series of articles from Threads magazine #44, 45, 47 and 48 (December 1992 through August/September 1993) written by Suzanne Pierrette Stern to complete this dress form remodel.

Good-bye old me. My first thought about remodeling my dress form was just to remove the outside layer of muslin, create a new muslin and zip it over the old layers. Two things made me change my mind: 1. I’m making the form smaller and would need to remove padding, and 2. this method requires a layer of fusible interfacing to be pressed onto the padding so I couldn’t remove padding without removing the interfacing.

How can sewing be such an emotional process? As I’m deconstructing my old form it’s hard not to remember the first time I covered this form and what has changed in my life, and consequently my body, to bring me to this stage. In 1993 I was single and totally immersed in all the sewing methods that most sewists are now discovering. I was “temping” as a secretary so I could have the freedom to work on my bridal/special occasion sewing business. In 2008 my body has changed because of several life-changing circumstances. I had two children after the age of 40. For someone that really hates exercise this is not a good thing. When it finally looked like my body was returning to it’s pre-baby size, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. (A tough time but it’s been 3 ½ years and all is good.) For my final surgery a plastic surgeon remodeled my body. Tissue from my stomach was moved to create a new breast! That’s right. In my life breast cancer = tummy tuck! Not an option that I would choose but I think of it as a suitable reward. And finally, last summer I started counting calories – that’s all no special food restrictions, just counting the number of calories I consumed and setting a daily limit. The result is that I lost 17 pounds! I still can’t quite believe it. So now I have a body that is drastically different and my dress form, which I rely on heavily, also needs to be remodeled.

1. The foundation.
The article recommends using a form that is smaller than your body so that you can control the padding. My original form looks like this. I purchased my first form at an estate sale for about $15. The one in the photo was purchased at a flea market for $2. It’s nice because each of the segments can be pushed together or spread apart. For mine, I expanded it everywhere and then added padding (I didn’t lose that much weight!).

And this is what was underneath the muslin.
Note the stacks of shoulder padding-compensation for an extremely low bust point (even in my 30's)!

2. Removing the interfacing.

I gently pulled away the layer of fusible interfacing. The author recommends using cotton batting and demonstrates the process using upholstery batting. This is because you can mold this batting into smooth formations. I did put a layer of polyester batting in some places and covered it with the cotton batting. I'm going to keep as much of the original as possible.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Mission

Yesterday I was forced to leave school earlier than normal and decided to use the time to purchase some Simplicity patterns that were out of stock during the last sale. I happened to see a pretty boucle-sort-of-rayon fabric in a green I like for this spring. Didn't buy it stayed up there in my memory as I was browsing my patterns and looking at my spring wardrobe plan. On Saturday I was on a mission to purchase this fabric for a knee-length pencil skirt, with a jacket from this (OOP) McCall's and probably view F from OOP New Look #6518. So it won't be a surprise to anyone that I came home with this:
From there I decided to visit one of my favorite vintage/antique/second-hand stores. My mission there was to find a dresser for my son. Well, there weren't any dresser candidates but...

...this managed to come home with me. (Sorry for the monochromatic pix. Something's goofy with the scanner and everything thing was coming out in a lovely shade of pink. Sepia seemed to create more clarity with the images.) At just $1.00 a piece I was doubly excited to see that several are actually in my size, no grading!

I've got more I want to say, but it's almost supper time and I haven't sewn a thing all day!