I was very productive over my four day weekend (!!!) but unfortunately am now too busy to blog about it, LOL. But new projects are upcoming.
In other news, I finally finished up my second try at a paper tape dress form. I met a sewing friend at Fashion Sewing Club. She is about to go out of the country for about 6 months so we figured we'd try paper tape doubles before she left town.
You may recall that Cidell and I first attempted this a year and a half ago. We got almost to the end and then we overfilled our dress forms with expandable insulation form and they exploded. Well, it would have more spectacular had they actually exploded. Really they just bloated. It looked like New Year's Day after a particularly good party, as you can see.
Before trying again, I re-read the Threads Magazine article, which is invaluable and available free on the internet. You need to start with a very fitted t-shirt (I had to make darts in the back to get swayback definition), with a good bra underneath. Be sure to tape over the bra in the back using packing tape so it doesn't get cut when you slice the dummy up the back.
The friend I did it with is also small of chest so she was sensitive to the need of differentiating between boobs and not-boobs, which was good. We took a lot of time on the whole X-wrapping of the chest and used narrower tape there. The boobs are still not super differentiated, but that has more to do with the model than the skill of the wrapper.
My brilliant idea was just to slip my paper tape double over Violet, my vintage Acme Junior dress form, and stuff the booty and belly. So easy! Well, it turns out I have really freaking narrow shoulders and a pencil neck because Violet was just too big in the shoulders and the neck. I couldn't pull the paper tape form shut over her shoulders. So much for bright ideas! I don't understand this at all as I feel like my shoulders are wide, but that's a whole other post. So I had to go back to square one in terms of coming up with a stand.
I happen to have two dress forms. A friend's (now ex) boyfriend gave me his grandmother's old form from the 50s; with her C cup bullet bra breasts there's no way I could ever match her but her stand is awesome. I also have Violet. So I swept the Bullet Bra Babe off her stand and slid a length of PVC pipe over it, as you can see here. The stand is feet with a rod coming up the center so no modification was necessary. I believe sources recommend using a floor lamp to the same effect. It's great because it swivels easily. I used a T connector to add shoulders to my skeleton. I should have measured better because I had to go in and shove lengths of cardboard tubing into the pipes to fine-tune the shoulder width, but it works.
Close up your form to about the waist, checking your measurements. The form will be bigger than you because you are breathing while it's made (I hope), so your cut edges will probably need to be overlapped. Make sure the bottom edge of the dress form is even and set it up on top of a piece of foam core board, used for science projects and presentations. Trace around it, cut it out, mark the center, and a make a hole in the center for the pipe. It will look something like this. The slide the bottom over the pole and in place at the bottom of the form, and use paper tape to seal it off.
Despite the bad experience Cidell and I had with the insulation foam, it really does seem the best thing for filling a dress form, both lightweight and rigid. Fabric scraps are too heavy, packing peanuts too textured. If you have a whole load of plastic grocery bags they might be a good filler. I used Great Stuff Big Gap Filler (I have no affiliation with the company).
I think there were two issues with the problems Cidell and I had. First, I think air temperature greatly affects how much the insulation foam expands. As I recall, Cidell and I used about three cans each in our forms and it was way too much. We were filling them outside during July, so it was quite hot. I did this indoors during winter, so it was in the low 70s in my house. Four cans barely filled her up to her waist. Second, the foam continues to expand for 24 hours so patience is key. You have to let the last can fully expand before adding the next one. Because I know myself well enough to know I am too impatient for this, I actually made myself stop at the hardware store on the way home from work and buy one can each night. Hopefully you don't have to go to this extreme measure!
Once she was filled up to the waist with insulation foam, I stuffed the rest with fabric scraps, rather than risk overfilling.
The end result is useful, and much more realistic than idealized Violet with her flat stomach and no booty, as you can see here; all the photos are here.
So here it is, the naked truth. This is what I'm working with. Flat chest, belly larger than chest, swayback, rounded shoulders, small waist, and absolutely enormous booty. I like my booty in real life, but I'm seriously going to have to throw a sheet over my dress form (she needs a name!) because every time I glance over I have to say, "OMG I have a giant ass." No matter how many times I remark upon it I am still taken by surprise every time!
In other news, I was voted second place in the Reconstruction/Recycling contest for my sweater hat! I have entered many PR contests over the years and was nominated for a PR Award (Best Fashion Photography), but I've never won. It's very exciting. Thank you to all who voted for me!
3 hours ago