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.


Adrienne said...

WOW! What a task!

Mary E said...

I'm loving your blog. I agree with Adrienne -- this dressform was quite the job. Congrats on finishing it, and documenting this journey. Also, on your new shape, and being a survivor. Hugs.

jake li said...

good post beautifull wedding dress congranation

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