Although I am concentrating on sewing projects I love from stash, I am still allowed to buy six yards per month. I picked up 1.5 yards of each of these knit prints from the $2.97/yd table at G Street over the weekend. I kind of wish I'd gotten more of the awesome 70s-ish print on the left so I could make a dress and a top. Now I have a tough choice to make. The choice is made more difficult because the fabric is pretty low quality and probably nylon? It's thin and really isn't suitable for a dress, but I am loving it for BWOF 10-2008-115
Several people were curious about my paper tape double introduced earlier in the week.
Cindy: I am desperate need for a dressform-- would you recommend a dress form padded or the tape version? The taping looks tough!
The taping is actually not hard at all. The person taping you has to be dedicated to your curves, but it takes under an hour for sure; probably closer to 35 minutes. I should have timed it. I used paper tape from Staples. Cut it into shorter lengths (maybe 14 inches), wet with a sponge, and stick on. Repeat. If the person wrapping you is not a sewist who understands the importance of catching all the curves, you may have to do a practice one first. And read up on the X wrapping technique for the bust.
As for what I recommend between making one from scratch and padding a ready-made form, it totally depends on your size. A dressform with small enough boobs for me (and shoulders and neck, but the bust is the biggie since that's one of my biggest fitting challenges) is simply not manufactured, at least that I can find. I am an AA cup and dress forms have the standard B cup. Believe me, there's a big difference between an AA and a B. I have no choice but to make my own (or have one custom made, which I would totally consider if I could find anyplace that did it). If you are pretty close to a standard size, you will probably get better results--and certainly prettier ones--with padding out a pre-made form.
The only commercial form I've considered (other than my vintage Acme Jr.) is the Uniquely You form, made of compressable foam over which you stretch a fully-fitted sloper made of canvas. However, I finally concluded it would be too much trouble for me given the difference between my bust and hips (four sizes)--I would have the buy the smallest size, which is "petite," to accommodate my bust and ribcage (I've heard of people cutting off the boobs; Sherril did this) and then add a lot of padding at the hips, belly, and booty. The hips on the petite only go up to 34" and my hips are 37 to 38 inches. Also, I fear the shoulders would be too wide, since I apparently have freakishly small shoulders. They are relatively inexpensive; two sources have it for $139 right now. It comes in five sizes, which I think is a generous size range. Geez, I need to stop thinking about this one because I feel like I'm talking myself into it! I don't need another failed dress form! There are mixed reviews on this one. Some people have gotten a perfect match, others say they can never compress the foam quite right.
Sarah made a duct tape double: BTW - I found that the form is a bit bigger than me (which is obvious I guess since it was made stuck to a t-shirt which I was wearing). But I was surprised that it's actually a noticeable difference.
Did you find that with yours?
Yep, the form is bigger than me, not really because I was wearing a t-shirt--I fitted it skin tight--but because I was breathing while being wrapped. That's why when I taped the back up I overlapped the edges quite a bit, as you can see in the photo at right. I overlapped the edges until the measurements matched mine and then taped it up. The shape is therefore not perfect--I think it's a little more conical than I actually am--but it's better than a commercial form.
LaKaribane: Mine was duct tape but it needs structure. I read somewhere online, a Esp blog, about adding papier mache layers inside to rigidify. Do you think the paper tape is tough enough?
Will you cover it with thin batting and a jersey layer, so you can somewhat pin?
I saw the adding of papier mache inside a dress form too, though I can't recall who did it either. I do think the paper tape is sturdy enough, which is why I chose it over duct tape. I think I'd like to try duct tape eventually *because* it's more malleable and would deal with the conical shape you get from overlapping the cut edges, but stuffing it out seems like a really delicate operation, as it seems very easy to distort.
I will probably eventually add a thin jersey cover to my form, but probably not batting since she's already at the outer limits of my size.
Sally: I took a class from Jan Bones on how to make the brown tape form. She stated the form was fairly sturdy on its own and did not need to be filled. In fact, I have found that with the one I made.
She suggested hanging your form on a hanger. Then you can hang it high or low to fit or hem, etc.
The form does keep its shape on its own, but it would have needed several more layers of tape not to need any stuffing at all. I would have had to add the layers from the inside to avoid adding bulk. I found it easier to fill it with the insulation foam and not worry about it collapsing as I push and prod at a garment.
One thing I will say is that I should have had my friend tape further down my legs. I had her go to the crease under my butt to make sure we had captured the widest part of my body. The problem is that the base is as wide as the widest part of my body and it is impossible to pull a close-fitting skirt with a straight or pencil line over the base. It's the same size as me--but the actual me is squishy. So that takes away some of the utility of the form because I can't use it to fit those skirts, or with narrow-skirted dresses I can't fit them below the waist because I can't pull the skirt all the way down. I actually shredded the lining in a skirt trying to pull it over the form; the lining seams just gave way.
Despite the limitations of the form, I am happy to finally have a serviceable iteration! I haven't made a great deal of use of it yet, but it was really handy for marking the buttons on a blouse, which I've normally had to do on myself in the mirror, which is not easy or ideal. I'm looking forward to easier and better fitting.
Gretchen the Household Deity