Monday, November 23, 2009

The Ugly Truth - Padding A Dress Form II

Ruby's padding is complete. You can see the previous steps here. I think I really have a body double. What's scary is looking at an image of myself. People, I highly suggest you DON'T try to pad out your dress form so close to Thanksgiving; you'll never be able to enjoy your food.

Well, here's the view I like:

I can even stand this one:

It's this one that I loathe ...

No wonder RTW pants never fit! The exception was the fabulous Right Fit Blue by Lane Bryant. Now the smallest size is too big for me. (I have mixed emotions about this.) Anyhoo. I'm semi-convinced that the butt shape isn't right. The measuring tape says otherwise. I think it's too round, but I'm tired of futzing with it.

Let's compare, shall we?

Ugggh! Padding out a dress form is so humbling. Okay, the fact the pictures of me are shot closer doesn't help. Well, I know I gotta work on the left hip. And no, I didn't make the butt too round. lol. I thought I had a high hip on the right and the left was normal. Now I think the right is normal and the left has a saddle bag. Nothing that a little batting and pins won't fix. Her stomach is flatter than mine. I'm okay with that because that's the part of me that fluctuates the most.

Getting those jeans on the form was a beast. Please let that cover arrive this week.

Well today should be my last day in the sewing room for a while. I have guests coming to town for Thanksgiving and I'm already a day behind. (I was supposed to clean today.) I really want to tackle the sloper, but I'll get to it eventually. Maybe Sunday.

Cheap Date - Padding A Dress Form I

Ruby is here! She is a Dritz My Double Deluxe. I'm happy she's here, but I am greatly disappointed in her quality! She arrived broken, but she's workable with tape. The dials are amazingly cheap! They are 100% plastic and snap easily. The tape will do to hold her at my current size, but I fear any future adjustments. I've asked the seller to send me another form and she's agreed.

I spent the first fitting session trying to use tape to compensate for the broken dials.

Yesterday, I padded her out. I had to laugh at myself. I never stuffed my bra when I was younger and it shows! I had the hardest time making even breasts! Still not sure they are shaped like mine, but the bra is full.

What I noticed is that although the form was adjusted properly, the form wasn't padded enough in the back, shoulders, etc. The bra's band and straps were perfect on me, but too loose on the form. I added batting and fiberfill to help the fit. I used pins where necessary to anchor the padding.

There is one thing about the bust that worries me: the tops of the bra cups aren't flush with the form. That's why I added a full layer of padding around the top of the form. My hope is that when the cover arrives, it will be tight enough to smooth and squish as necessary.

The top is damn near perfect. What really helped (in the absence of a sloper) was a knit top. I tried it on me, then the form and tweaked the form until it mimicked my fit.

Now for the hard part. I needed a form to help me fit my lower half. I have around a 32" waist and 48" hips. Of course with the hips come the butt. I wouldn't trade my shape for the world (okay I would trade for Serena Williams'); it's just so hard to fit. It's even hard to to translate to a form.

In the above pics, the butt was uneven. What helped me immensely later was a
mirror. For some reason, it was so much easier to see where I needed to adjust the padding.

Now for the finer points: make sure you tape the large open spaces in your form. I tried to use fiberfll, but it just fell inside the form. For the smaller spaces, I used batting. Instead of cutting individual strips, I covered the whole form. When pulled tight, that batting helped me shape the padding I used for the hips and butt.

Next, I worked on the right hip. I thought the left one was fine, but you'll see that mistake in the next post.

Let's review. Here's what you'll need to make your dress form look like you:

  • Polyester batting
  • Fiberfill
  • Packing tape
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins*
  • Bra
  • Full length mirror
  • Sloper or clothing you can use for comparison
  • Dress form cover (I'll update the post once mine arrives.)

*For areas where I knew I would be doing a lot of adjusting, I used pins with pearlized heads. They are a lot easier to pull out than the others. Once I was really sure, I replaced the pearlized pin with a long satin pin. In areas where I didn't think it would matter, I left the orginal pin in place.

UPDATE:  Shave hours off this project by using foam pads! I got a new Ruby and used the Fabulous Fit Dress Form System

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

She's Here! She's Here!

Ruby is here, but I'm not. She has been delivered to my office. Unfortunately, I'm out of the office for a few days :-( Could I be lucky enough to get sloper patterns, form and cover all this week?

I'm so excited!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Stars Are Aligning (My Pocketbook Isn't)

Wouldn't cha know it? This morning Club BMV has a buy-1-get-2-free pattern sale. My fitting shells are on the way! I say shells because I ordered three. Did I need three? Who knows? By bust is a 12, waist 18 and hips 24. Seriously. The largest size they had was a 22, so I know I'll have to add something to the hips.

Anyhoo. Perhaps God is tired of me sweating this fit issue; He's making it easier to get the tools and things I need. Or, this is yet another test of financial willpower and I'm failing miserably. Subsequently, this will be the most low-key Thanksgiving I've ever had. I guess that's okay because I will probably hate to tear myself away from the sewing machine to cook. (This has happened many a Saturday.) Oh well, it's the choice I made.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Anxiously Waiting

Waiting for Ruby to arrive. I have my fiberfill ready and I have some poly batting. All I need is her and the cover. The cover is coming from England. Did you know Adjustoform makes the Dritz forms? I realized that last night when I was in Joann's and trying to get a sense of how much padding the form would need. I walked away clueless about the padding, but I noticed that the box said "Made in England." Who knew?

In anticipation of her arrival, I've been doing some research on slopers. I'm going to go with the Perfect Fit from McCall's. I've been really studying my Palmer/Pletsch books:

Of course as I read, I'm sooo confident I can do whatever technique I'm reading about. Then comes reality when the pattern is in front of me. I know a dress form won't magically increase my sewing skills, but I'd like to think I could at least start getting the measurements right.

I've reprioritized my sewing projects. I have to have stuff I can wear to work now. In no particular order are:

Burda 8087 or Kwik Sew 3385. What I've discovered is the muslin I was going to use for KS3338 could be the fabric for KS3740. Hmmmmm. Is the only way to check for fit on a knit garment is to use another knit? Please say no.

Lastly, I've added what I hope will be the last two books I'll need to add to my library for a while. I got a highly-recommeded general sewing book by Reader's Digest. Folks can't stop raving about it.

I think this will be my last book on pattern alteration, The Perfect Fit.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You eBay!!!

Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy! I am now the proud owner of a Dritz My Double Deluxe dress form! And a cover! Now, this sacrifice means I may be eating roasted chicken and canned goods for Thanksgiving, but I think it's worth it ;-)

I'm so excited! I know Ruby won't be perfect (I've already named her), but I can give her the bumps and curves she needs to be Mini Me. Well ... she won't be mini. I saw where someone else named her form Semi Me, now I get it.

For instance, she'll need about 4" more on the hips. And tons more junk in her trunk, but I'm not worried. I had to purchase an adjustable dress form because I have 30 pounds to lose and I can't buy a new form for every 10 pounds.

I had a three-part plan to get an accurate representation of me -- dress form, cover and padding. For the cover and padding, I thought about the Fabulous Fit Fitting System. At $137, I'm having second thoughts. I was able to find a cover on eBay too. If I pick up some batting, I may be able to get the same effect. I found a great tutorial on Pattern Review.

Hopefully My form will be completed by the end of next week. Then, I can spend the Thanksgiving week sewing stuff that fits!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Little Progress

I've been busy today. I've been trying to figure out how to do an FBA on a top without a dart. Is anything simple when sewing? I'm not frustrated because of the work; I hate I ran out of time. Had to work for an hour and then spent a couple of hours in the kitchen. Dinner was tasty.

Anyhoo. I'm not sure if I'm doing this right, but I'm proud of the attempt. Let's see first, I dug through the trash and found the large and extra large cutting lines. Score for Kwik Sew. Real paper made reattachment easy.

Humpty Dumpty is all put back together again.

Now, once I taped everything back up I brief agonized, and I do mean agonized over how to get from a medium to an extra large. Here's what I'm most proud of, I decided to tissue fit the pattern. Not only that, I traced the pattern onto sewable pattern paper. This may not sound like much to you, but this is big stuff for a girl who was baffled by understitching a few months ago.

I got lazy with some of the markings. Who needs the cutting lines for medium, large and extra large anyway?

I'm sure this will come back to haunt me, but I couldn't tape the pieces together smoothly. Here are the pins.

Let's see if I can draw the cutting line. I pined the 1/4" seam allowance.

Shoulder too.

Now comes the FBA. Here's a random line. Well, not really random, but kind of because I had to make up where I thought the dart should go. Of course there was no apex on the pattern. I made that up too.

Now from that line to this, I'm not really sure what happened. The one thing I do know is that I'm prioritizing a dress form over car repair. I just have no idea what I'm doing when I try to fit myself.

The above looks like the book, Fit For Real People, but I'm completely guessing with the measurements. I really did try to add an apex to the pattern and measure center front to center front, but it was all too much. When I sliced the pattern, I just pinned some random distance. I'll figure it out next weekend.

Older & Wiser - Sort Of

So, I'm all ready to start cutting Kwik Sew 3338 right? Wrong! How about I think about a muslin instead of "practicing" on the real fabric. Wow, what if I used Pattern Review as a resource instead of just as a way to catalog my patterns and wish list? Hot damn, what if I actually read the reviews and figured out what alterations I may need to make? What if I would have thought about alterations before cutting the pattern? (I would have thought to taper to XL in the hips.)

I had a birthday between this series of posts and the Burda Skirt UFO. I'd like to think I'm getting older and wiser. I'm really hoping the wisdom starts kicking in before I pick up scissors. Oh well, I guess I'll be digging the pattern remnants out of the trash. Where's my tape?

So, here's what I learned from Pattern Review:

  • I may need an FBA (full bust adjustment) based on the amount of stretch in my fabric. It's not too stretchy, so I guess I'll be doing my first one. Random tangent: weeks ago, I had to argue my best friends down about my D cup. They just could not believe it. Shoot, I'd been in denial myself; it was with great sadness I donated my good C bras a couple of months ago. Things grow as you get older. If I think about the women in my family, I should've seen this coming.
  • I may want to add a couple of inches to the bottom. We'll see.
  • Stabilizing the shoulders with clear elastic would be a great addition. I gotta read up on that more and buy some clear elastic.
I keep telling myself to stop doing things late at night; I always screw up. Had I waited to cut the pattern until this morning, I probably would've remembered to taper to an XL. Oh well. Time to go through the trash.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Getting Ready

Now that I have my poncho, I need a top to go with it. Enter what I hope will become a TNT pattern for me, Kwik Sew 3338. I'm attempting view A. My closet needs staples; stuff I can wear now.  I know this looks like a very basic top. I was amazed that I couldn't find this simple top among the other pattern brands. Thank you, Kwik Sew!

Here we go: day 1:  I'm even ironing my pattern pieces. (See, I'm taking this seriously.) I love Kwik Sew. Real paper instead of tissue rocks!

Here's the fabric. I have no idea what this is, other than it's a knit! Time to pin and cut. Actually, it's late. Think I'll pin and cut tomorrow. Who knows, I might even get to sew a little. (It's the little things that make me happy.)

The Longest 1-Hr Project Ever -- Simplicity 4781

I finished a project today. That is a feat in and of itself, but this was a project I started in 2005! It was a 1-Hr poncho and I put it down because my mind could not grasp the concept of a hem. I just couldn't get it. (I've since realized that I hate hemming. Period.) That brought my new hobby to a screeching halt. Well, no more! Simplicity 4781 is now complete!!!

When I decided to finish this, I realized it was too much trouble to try and undo the foolishness of years past. In my infinite wisdom, I bought enough fabric for two ponchos. (I knew I would probably screw it up.) I took the pins out of the first one and threw it away.

This fabric wasn't the easiest to work with, but not at all bad for a knit. I guess it's a loose sweater knit. I purchased it because it was purple and I didn't have a single thing in my closet to go with it (my way of trying something new).

I thought it was funny that the thread I got to go with it has been discontinued. Coats and Clark has moved on with a new type of all purpose thread and new colors. I was able to get really close with Gutermann. Why did I buy new thread? I have no idea how long you can keep thread. Better safe than sorry. I'm so glad I kept the original thread because I wouldn't have had enough to make real progress on the top I'm making to go with the poncho.

Turns out I didn't get to sew a single stitch on the top. Oh well, I refuse to go to the store for a single spool of thread. My new rule is to buy two spools for knit projects. All of those stretch stitches eat thread. And since I do a lot of ripping and resewing ... you get the picture.

Well, here's me in my new poncho!

Well, gotta go. I'm gettind ready to cut the top that goes with this.