Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Dressmaker's Dummy

She may not say much, and she looks like she's been styled by Dr. Frankenstein, but boy can she work her curves!

Peter helped me to make a “custom” dressmaker’s dummy out of an old T-shirt, 2 large rolls of duct tape, a heavy-duty coat hanger, some cardboard and some old polyester fiberfill from a couple of pillows that were ready to be gutted. I found the instructions HERE and followed them as faithfully as I could.

The whole process took about 2 hours from beginning to end. I felt very claustrophobic for the last 20 minutes, as I was completely immobilized from the hips up. After Peter cut me out of my duct-tape prison, complete with sacrificial t-shirt, I carefully measured myself, and her, at regular intervals to ensure that I taped her to the correct dimensions. Then I popped in a coat hanger, sealed off the arm holes and stuffed her with fibrefill until she felt quite firm. I capped off her base and- voila! A duct-tape Rachelle.

She has been indispensable in altering clothing. I’ve bought plenty of baggy dresses and tops at consignment, second hand and vintage stores. She helps me to transform them into form-fitting creations that prompt, “Where did you buy that?” type questions, which always makes my day!

When I’m through all my alterations, I hope to start on a couple of dresses. I bought some patterns recently and am waiting to get inspired by a nice cotton print or two.

Dress #1 – Chloe from Victory Patterns

Dress #2 – From Simplicity's Project Runway collection:

Duct-tape Rachelle currently hangs in the living room – not ideal for decor. But let’s be honest, in the company of a makeshift bunny enclosure, a large, fur-padded dog bed, a couch that’s close to its last days and a constant scattering of arts and crafts supplies on the coffee table, she’s not out of place. Décor? What décor? Pets and children are like anti-décor particles which negate all style and order. I wouldn’t give them up for the most glamorous white-leather covered, ceramics-adorned living room in the world!

I think I’ll rig up a hook and pulley system in my piano room/office so that I can lower her to the correct height for hemming dresses and skirts. Hmmm… better add that to my summer to-do list.

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