Sunday, March 22, 2015

Uniquely You Dress Form - Surgery!

I have wanted a dress form for a very long time, but the standard form just wouldn't work for me.  My torso is much, much longer than the standard form, and I have a sway back.  After much research and analyzing, I finally decided on a Uniquely You dress form.

I chose this form because it's made of foam.  I can chop off what I don't need and pad out what I do.  The rest is supposed to compress once you put the cover on.  Word of wisdom, that doesn't work well.  As other reviewers have noted, it does not compress the 5" they claim it does.

Because of that, I chose the smallest form they had - a petite size.  Here are the measurements for all sizes.
My measurements are 36, 26, 35.25.  Based on that you'd think the small would have been the obvious choice.  I chose the petite, because I'd rather pad out than cut down.  I just think it's easier.  But that's purely personal preference.  What I didn't know was the back of the neck to the waist measurement.  It's 12.5" on the petite and 15" on the small.  In hindsight, I should have gone with the small just for that reason.  So my first tip to you would be to know that measurement before you order one.  I can fix this, but it'll take a bit more work.

I also want to mention that I took the Craftsy class on customizing a dress form, referred to LaSewista's blog many times, and watched this YouTube video.  All of these were a tremendous help.

My second tip is to take the class, so you know exactly where and what to measure.  I also took Joy Mahon's class Fast Track Fitting (the 2nd one) so I had quite a few other measurements that helped this process too.  You'll want to know your hollow of neck to waist, waist to hip, apex to apex, shoulder to apex, apex to side seam, upper bust, under bust, side waist to hip, back of neck to waist, front waist, and back waist.

Okay, so problem one: torpedo boobs.  A friend of mine thought this looked like Jessica Rabbit, so for now, that's her name.

My first order of business was to take those down a bit.  Based on other reviews, I used scissors in lieu of an electric carving knife.  I basically wanted to round them out.  That is tip number three.  Use scissors where you can.

And here is the after.

After that, I began making demarcations for my waist and apex.  I tied a piece of thin ribbon around the natural waist.  This is my own measurement not the form's.  I measured down where my natural waist would be and tied the ribbon.  Then I used a sharpie and marked all the way around the waist at the ribbon.  I also measured my shoulder to apex and apex to apex and made a mark as well.

You can see that measurement here.
Notice that it's much lower than the form's apex.  I chose not to worry much about that, because I sacrificed one of my own well fitting bras to pad out.  That is tip number four.  Use a well-fitting bra.  It will save you a lot of trouble trying to get the right shape.  That came from Bunny at LaSewista.

Here she is with bra on and padded out.

The next order of business was the waist.  My front waist measures 14 inches but my back waist is only 12.  So while the total circumference is 27" on the form, you need to know where to chop off that extra 1".  For me it was the back waist.  Since I know my sway back is part of that problem, I chose to carve out there.  I basically needed to begin to create a "shelf".  I have my bra pushed up out of the way, because I did use the electric carving knife here and didn't want to cut it.  I kept measuring as I went and remarked as well.

Another view:
Part of the next problem is that my bum sits 4" lower in actuality than on this form, so I have to move the full hip down 4".  My plan is to use the knife to just cut off the whole bum and move it down 4".  I want to get my cover finished and on her before I cut into again.  My markings are accurate, but I may not need to go to all the trouble of cutting off the whole bum.  Maybe I just need to contour more from the waist into the top of the bum and pad out the bottom part.  I wont' know until I get the cover on.

I have the muslin done and it fits perfectly.  I have the fabric cut for the cover and the darts stitched in.  I should have that complete today.

Stay tuned as I go on this journey.  I have no idea how it will turn out, but so far so good.

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope I've encouraged you to start customizing your own form if you haven't already.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

General Casimir Pulaski - McCalls 4676 - modified

Robbie had a project at school for a makeshift wax museum.  They do this every year in the 5th grade class. Robbie was given General Casimir Pulaski.  I searched and searched through photos of Gen. Pulaski to find one I could replicate easily.  Okay, maybe not easily but doable.

This was my inspiration.

I used my latest pattern McCalls 4676.  I reviewed that pattern here.  I wanted a pull over style jacket that could be easily taken on/off.  I used felt so I didn't have to hem or finish any seam.  I used a dinner napkin tied at his neck to replicate a shirt underneath.  I knew he would get hot.  I used shoulder pads under gold lame' for the epaulettes and hot glued fringe to the edges.

I taped together my yoke pieces to the front and back pieces and cut them both on the fold.  Then I stitched my sleeves in and sewed down the side seams.  That left me with one large opening in the top for his head.

I marked my center front and measured down roughly 7" from the neck opening and marked.  I then measured over 3" on either side of the center line and snipped the fabric at the neck opening.  Then I drew lines from those 3" snips down to my mark 7"  to get my "V".  I cut those lines.

I placed a piece of red felt on top and marked the same lines and cut them to match the blue felt jacket.  I used fusible web to place it on top.

I found gimp the same color as the lame' and tried to replicate the trim on his coat as close as possible.  I used hot glue, because I was running out of time.  It did not hold up well, so if you try this, stitch it on.  I could not find small gold buttons so I found a cheap bracelet at Joann's and took it apart and used those as buttons.  I did have the larger gold buttons in my stash.  I hot glued all of them on.  I should have stitched the larger buttons so I could remove them and reuse.  Oh well, maybe he'll wear this for Halloween?

Lastly, I wanted something to simulate a white sleeve peeking out from the jacket, so I cut a 4" wide piece of white broadcloth double the width of the sleeve, folded it in half and stitched it to the inside of the jacket sleeve.  And that was it for the costume.  Then all I had to do was slick his hair back, and he became Gen. Pulaski for the day.

He absolutely loved his costume, and that's all that matters.

And of course, he had to have one final pose.
He had to stand on his podium and wait for others to push his button to come to life.  I was so proud that he memorized all of his lines and didn't miss a beat.

Thanks for stopping by my little world.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Tea Towel - DIY

I have a friend's birthday coming up this weekend, and I needed a gift.  And unfortunately, time ran out on me, so it had to be a quick gift.  I found this tutorial on Sew4home, and I fell in love with all their tea towel tutes.  And this was a winner, because it took me an hour.  It would have taken me less time had I not been constantly interrupted (but that was my entire week). LOL  I felt like I was behind the 8 ball all week long. Anyway, I digress......

I bought a package of flour sacks at Walmart months ago, because I knew they'd come in handy.  I bought a pack of 5 for about $4.00 I think.  They are roughly 29" x 28".  That size was a bit big for me for the towels, because I was adding the ric rac and extra fabric.   So I folded it in half and did a rolled hem with my serger on all 4 sides.

Here is the before.

And after.
The rolled hem.
I pressed them really well, because as you can see, the edges will ripple.  So they should be as flat as possible before you add all the embellishments.

I won't go through the whole tute.  Click on the link above.  The instructions are clear and easy to follow.  The only thing I didn't like was the way the ric rac is tucked under.  But there really isn't a better way to do it.

I made two towels, folded the top towel making a little pocket behind, and bought some wooden spoons to tuck down in the pocket.  Then I tied my ribbon and voile!  A super cute gift in less than an hour.  What could be better than that?

I actually had another idea for my tea towels but didn't have time to test it.  I need some for my kitchen, so I'll try it then.  Stay tuned.

BTW, these towels are super absorbent and are great for cleaning granite with no streaks.

Thank you for stopping by.  And Happy Friday.