Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Joys of Having a Dress Form

Hi everyone!

It hasn't been very quiet on the sewing front here, to be honest I've been sewing quite a lot, I just haven't had the chance to take pictures of everything. I love posting on this blog and I love sewing and knowing that when I'm done I'm going to get to show my creation to you guys but it gets to be a little too much at times, I'm sure y'all understand! 

I've been thinking about my sewing and there are two major issues that I feel that I need to deal with (well, three if you count the fact that I'm the messiest sewer ever). One is getting a decent iron and the second is getting a dress form.

My iron is an old simple steam iron that doesn't create steam anymore and frankly, kind of sucks. I'm looking to buy a new iron and to be honest I'm also willing to invest a little $$ (but not a crazy amount). I've done a bit of research and found mixed (yet mostly favorable) reviews for the Rowenta Steam Generator, also, there was a bit of talk about gravity irons which I have yet to wrap my head around - this also had mixed reviews.
Do you guys have any recommendations for irons? I'd LOVE to hear what you guys think!

My birthday present this year was a dress form, which I only acquired a few days ago. I couldn't decide what kind of form to get, whether I should get an adjustable form or a standard form. In the end I got a simple (but sadly still expensive) dress form in a size 38. The waist measurement is quite similar to mine but the chest and hip are slightly smaller, I have yet to decide whether I should pad it a bit or not.
At first I couldn't decide if spending so much money on a dress form that isn't my exact measurements was worth it, I was under so much stress at the store I couldn't even remember what dress forms are used for. After thinking about it for a few minutes I decided that since I've been thinking about getting a dress form for at least a year I should take the plunge and get one.

I decided to write a list of uses for a dress form, so that none of you have to go through what I did at the store. I'm using my own personal (and pathetically short, I know) experience, and some good old Google intelligence:

1) Fit: Many use the dress form for fitting garment on the body. I personally don't find this incredibly accurate because the form isn't my exact size. That being said there are many fitting issues that can be resolved without a form that is your exact double, one is the depth of a neckline in the back or the front, another is the length of the garment. This may not sounds like a good enough reason to spend money on a dress form, but I find it more accurate and easy to do this on the form than on myself.

2) Draping: I've yet to try draping as I draft patterns in the flat pattern method. Again, I guess it isn't perfect because the dress form isn't an exact double but I guess it's better than not being able to drape at all?

3) Pattern Drafting: Ok, so this was a new experience for me. When I draft my patterns I kind of wing it when it comes to neckline depth and length of kimono sleeves and so on. The experience of using a dress form to help me draft was incredible. For instance, I wanted my pattern to have a very low neckline in the back BUT I didn't want it to go lower than my bra. If I didn't have my dress form, I couldn't have measure this on myself and had either to ask someone else for help (someone else who doesn't understand sewing, which is another risk) or wing it. Now that I had the dress form, I pinned the pattern to the dress form after dressing it in my favorite bra and drew the neckline according to where the bra hit. I can't explain how happy I was about this!

4) Playing With Fabric: This is the most exciting aspect of a dress form in my opinion and I had a lot of fun with it during the weekend. I found that I can plan my projects a lot better because I don't have to try things over my PJs and try to figure out if it looks good in the mirror. This is an example of what I did with this fabric I found in my stash that had a very unique border print:

I pinned the fabric along the shoulders, side seams and top of the skirt to create the look (I love that you can just stab the dress form with needles. It's like a voodoo doll only without hurting anyone. At least I hope there's not dress form double out there that cries out in pain every time I stab it with a pin)
The chevron pattern in the middle is create by connecting the two triangle border patterns (not perfectly basted, I admit). At the same time, I wanted to use the other border print as the bottom of the skirt. In my head, I couldn't decide if this would be too busy or crazy, which is why I was happy that for the first time, I could pin the fabric on a dress form and step back to get the whole look.
At this point my mom said that I should shorten the skirt and maybe make the top a little sexier because the fabric is a little aged.

I shortened the skirt (it's not meant to be on the bias, sorry!) and tried to use the chevron pattern to create a tank top (I folded the edges of the triangle under to create the silhouette) . To be honest, I didn't really like the top this way and I knew I wouln't wear it as I think this would widen my shoulders (not to mention that I would have to wear a strapess bra) but shortening the skirt was definitly a good idea.

In the end I made a kimono sleeved bodice (with a low back neckline) and a short skirt. I'll be sure to post a picture when I finish sewing this!

Next, I had some fabric left so I decided to try and use the scraps to make a top. After a lot of head scratching and head banging I came up with this:

Sorry for the crappy picture
The neckline on this one will go up really high to showcase the triangle border print.

This is where I used the whole bra thing. I wanted the back neckline to dip as far as it could because the front is so covered up.

Anyway, I really don't think I'd have had the guts to use this fabric like this if I didn't have my dress form, so in closing I'M SO HAPPY I GOT IT. Even though it doesn't function as a double, I really think it takes the whole idea of design to the next level.

What do you guys think?? Are you thinking about getting a dress form?
How do you use you dress form?
Any recommendations for good irons?

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with this! i just moved interstate and left my very average dress form behind...i have only just gotten another one and I CANNOT WAIT TO USE IT!!! goodluck with yous

    Ruffles x


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