Tuesday, 30 March 2010

2 rolls of duct tape, cling film and a half naked lady...

I'm guessing that everyone that attempts making their own clothes, soon realises a dressform would really come in handy. However, as a newbie, I'm not sure I want to fork out for a pretty expensive piece of equipment that I may or may not use. Plus it most definitely won't be the exact measurements I need it to be... I can rarely find clothes to find my shape, what're the chances of finding a dressform?

Well as soon as I got interested in sewing I subscribed to a magazine called "Sew." Coincidentally, it came out at exactly the same time as my (renewed) interest and was aimed at beginners... perfect! Anyway, think it was maybe the forth issue? there was an article by a dressmaker who recommended making your own dressform out of an old t-shirt and some duct tape!

Cool, looked like a good idea! But then I forgot about it...

A few months later I was looking at the sewing forum and again came across the idea of a duct tape dressform, except this time using cling film and with more detailed instructions from someone who had tried it.

Again cool, but again I forgot about it... but not for long!

Think it was a few weeks later I was reading another blog and again the diy dressform was mentioned. Well I can take a hint you know, so I sent Danny off to the DIY to get some duct tape (I also called my parents to get them to save their old newspapers...)

The weekend just gone we finally got around to taping me up, lol!

I striped down to me undies and Danny wrapped me up in cling film. Easy! Although I probably shouldn't have stuffed myself silly on pasta before starting... Belly was a little rounder than normal... What can I say, I love carbonara :-9

Once cling wrapped, we began the lengthy process of taping me up! I knew it was going to take a while, but somehow I convinced myself that Danny and I would be naturals and be able to get it done super fast! I was wrong... well I think... I don't actually know how long it takes anyone else, so for all I know maybe we were pretty quick! It took us around 3 hours, plus extra time for coffee and cake :-)

Not too bad I guess, except we didn't start till gone midnight...

We did 3 layers in all, I've since seen recommendations for 6-7 layers, would definitely make the finished shell more sturdy, but there was no way I could have stood around for all that time. Once the cling film was on I didn't want to move as it came off so easy, then when the first layer of tape was on I couldn't move even if I wanted to... I could do a pretty good robot walk and hold the tape for Danny, but that was about it. As you can probably imagine, 3 hours of hardly moving = a very achy Michelle!

For anyone that's interested we did 3 layers first taping horizontally, next vertical and finishing with another horizontal layer. The different directions help to stabilise the tape. We used 1 and a bit rolls of B&Q multipurpose gaffer tape (50mm x 50m), the kind with the threads running through it to help stop any stretching and distortion. The tape was cut at varying lengths depending on the area being taped, longer pieces for the larger curves and flatter areas (thighs, stomach, back, etc) and much smaller ones for tighter curves (shoulders, neck, waist, etc). The breast area is very tricky, we tried to do a kind of cross your heart thing, but it didn't work at all. So we cut it down the length to make short narrow strips, the key is to not stretch the tape as you put it on else you flatten out the bust, rather than getting the true breast shape. Incidentally, for the torso I tried to always inflate my chest when I was being taped, didn't want Danny to have to cut me out too soon due to me not being able to breathe!

So here's how it looked before we cut me out :-)

Pretty good I think, quite tempting to sew a zip up the back and wear it as a dress, although I'd probably have trouble sitting down and would definitely want it longer :-S

I decided to make some kind of tube to fit inside that I can fit over my Hangaway (when not in use!) Here is my hangaway cover... (yes I confess, I shop at QVC!)

 And here is my completed dressform!

Not bad I think :-) Filling it was pretty tricky. I used old newspaper (thanks Mom & Dad!) and stuffed through the various available orifices... thankfully I hadn't sealed them up as I had planned to! The tube in the middle helped it to keep its shape, rather than going a rounded shape. I also added some card board at the shoulder to support the shape as well as pieces above and below the breasts and a piece on the back. If you're wondering how much newspaper, I used 4... 1 for the torso and 3 for the bum! lol! Oh and I also put a hanger in the top so that I can hang it if I need to and also to again support the shoulders when its got whatever fabrics hanging on it.

So that's about it, I've decided to leave the holes open for the time being. Ready for further filling should the need arise, although I have put a few pieces of tape over the base to stop the paper falling out!

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