Apr
19
2010

  Reading About Is Easier Than Doing

I've been thinking about re-sizing my dress form for a very long time now. But now I've moved on to the next step; I've spent hours reading about dress forms.

If I'd just gone into the sewing room and started to add padding to the existing form instead of reading about the perfect way to go about it, I'd probably be done by now. Instead, I've got a bit of a computer headache.

But I did learn a lot.

I heard about the duct-tape dress form years ago, so that wasn't news. And my sewing instructor says they don't work very well, anyway.

Then I looked into making a dress form from a plaster-cast of my torso. I discovered that Orthotape.com has good prices on plaster bandages. Threads has an online article about dress forms, and in lieu of putting expanding foam inside your plaster cast, they suggested paper mache. That looked interesting.

But the problem with any dress form made from a cast would be that once you added padding and a cloth cover so you could pin fabric to it, it's no longer your size. So I continued to look for a better way.

I came across an article about floating dress forms, where I saw a potential solution to the padding problem. Medical stockinette can be used to cover the hard form; pins can go into that, and it's very thin. But I couldn't verify if 8" stockinette (the largest size available from the plaster bandage store) would stretch enough to fit over a torso (although I suspect it could).

But really, I want a muslin dress form. That's why I bought muslin yesterday. I want it because in my couture sewing book, that's what they used to make the dress forms for each client in Chrisitan Dior's atelier, and, well, I want that for myself, too. I figured I'd have to sew a cover to match my figure, then stuff it. Because I actually did put a tight T-shirt over my existing dress form to see if I could stuff under that, and determined that a knit cover wouldn't hold its shape very well.

I found a book that described how to make a Moulage, which is a system to create a sloper based on measurements and calculations. The book is $25, and I was about to get it until I saw that you needed to buy a new book FOR EACH PART OF THE GARMENT (sleeves, collar, pants, skirts, et al) in order to use this system. So I continued to search for another way.

I then stumbled upon some instructions to make a sloper for yourself by wrapping yourself in plastic wrap (technically, by having someone else wrap you in plastic).

You mark your main pattern lines on your body before you wrap, then you transfer those lines to the plastic. Then use packing tape over the plastic around the edges you will cut so it doesn't unravel. Then, while everything is still sticking together, create your sloper on paper. From that, I could create a pattern for the muslin.

So rather than rely on measurements as the Moulage system does, this way creates the pattern from draping. I think I also read somewhere online that instead of using cling wrap for draping, you could just put the muslin directly on your body and draw in the pertinent pattern lines and go from there. But I think that would be more difficult than converting the plastic to a flat pattern.

I have my doubts that T will be either willing or able to help me with this. I may have to get one of my girlfriends out here to help me. Cate spent a lot of time working with electrical tape when she was first unemployed, she might be a very adept assistant. . .