Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Meet the New and Improved Veronica!

OMG, guys. My teacher Sharon helped me make over my dress form to my exact proportions and measurements, and here she is! Isn't she pretty? (If you're curious, she was named Veronica as a complement to my sewing machine Betty. Betty has since been replaced . . . by Betty II.)
Let me just tell you from the get-go: this process is not easy or quick and you need an experienced draper and fitter to do it this way. Sharon worked tirelessly all day (without lunch! Goodness, how did I not feed this poor woman?!) In short form: Sharon draped a princess-seam sloper on my body in muslin, fit it, cut it out in twill, fit it again, stuffed the shell with poly batting on the form, checked the measurements and proportions, and then sewed it up the back seam. Whew!

Here's what my form looked like when we started (rather pathetic, eh?):

It's Fabulous Fit, and I could never get it to my exact measurements. I tried padding it out with strips of needlepunch, but that was fairly hopeless.

Look how skinny! She was basically just a glorified clothes hanger. No butt or belly! Fabulous Fit does come with pads, but they are rather bulky and I found they made my form too lumpy.

Here's the improved tush:

I'm especially pleased with the bust. I think it looks quite natural and similar to me.

She has princess lines, just like a professional dress form for draping. And isn't she pretty? I had this floral twill in my stash from Gorgeous Fabrics. I was planning on making a full skirt with it, but it turned out it was the perfect fabric for the cover, and I gladly sacrificed it. I can enjoy it every day now!

Sharon had to tug and pull it to get the back together. It's stuffed to the gills to provide a firm pinning surface.

Here it is mid-stuffing:
Henry was entranced by the whole thing. He just adores Sharon. He especially likes her hair: she has long dreadlocks, and Henry thinks it's fun to grab one in his mouth and try to walk away with it. Sharon has the patience of a saint with this game!

Anyway, back to Veronica. I've already had a fantastic experience with fitting on her. Remember that halter top that I was bemoaning how to work out a bra with? (I wrote about it in this post.) Well, I put the muslin on Veronica and saw the bust problems immediately. It wasn't the lack of a bra but the fit that had it looking terrible. It clearly did not resemble the shape of my bust at all. It needed a horizontal tuck across (an SBA of sorts). I pinned out the tuck on Veronica and then tried it on myself, and voila! Fit problem solved. The bust fit was so nice that I don't actually need a bra with it, especially since it's a casual beachwear top. (Yeah, I go braless with little tops in the summer sometimes. One of the benefits of being small-busted!)

I am so excited to start draping on Veronica now. I'm going to start with doing a basic bodice and skirt block and then move on to more exciting stuff like French Darts.

I can't recommend Sharon's service here enough. I thought I was going to need to buy a whole new dress form, but aside from wobbling issues, this one is practically perfect now. Here's her website if you're interested!

43 comments:

  1. That's amazing! She's a joy!
    My dressmaking doll is called Harriet (headless harriet)
    I wouldn't be without her now! Although she's meant to be my size, but her bust seems to be closer to her collar than mine!

    x

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  2. She's beautiful! How will you cover her in fabric?

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  3. She looks perfect. I'm quite envious! As soon as my body is back to normal (I'm 7 months pregnant right now) I'm gonna have to accomplish something like that. Thank you for sharing.

    And, if I may add, great touch with the floral twill. It looks so sophisticated. :-)

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  4. Oh, how I would love to have something like this. I wonder if Sharon has a cousin in London? Where do you keep your dress form when you're not using it. I don't have one, partly because I worry about the space it will take up.

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  5. amazing stuff.. my problem is the reverse as my wobbly dress form is too big for me...I should have bought a child's size! but more to the point - your cat is gorgeous! Can't believe no one else has mentioned that fact. I hope he's not sulking about it!

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  6. Veronica is gorgeous. You are so lucky.

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  7. So awesome. I would love a dress-form, but because I'm relatively new to sewing, I have a hard time understanding how one goes from form to sewing machine. Sigh.

    Melanie@Unravelled Threads

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  8. OMG. Vernoica looks GAWJUS. I'm suffering from dressmakers dummy envy. And envy of being able to go braless in the summer. Sadly, my bosom does not allow for such.

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  9. Fantastic! I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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  10. It looks a lot nicer than the mannequins my friends made - I don't know if you are familiar with the method, but you basically wear an old t-shirt and cover yourself in tape (the kind with the thick, papery back), then cut yourself free! They are really accurate though to your shape. Only downside is...they look like tape.

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  11. Oh how I wish I could have this done! I also have a fabulous fit form and I have found the same thing with the padding and such. Fantastic pick with the floral twill too!

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  12. What a great job. And the fabric is beautiful.

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  13. This is beautiful and I'm envious. Is Sharon ever in the southwest? I have a question about the shoulder seam -- should it be in alignment with the side seam? I've never thought about this before (the arm is usually there...) but your side view of the dress form has me wondering. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. hey gertie i simply love your blog.just like you im discovering the joys of draping for the first time.im from india btw. i did do a very expensive fashion design course at the london college of fashion-however they taught us NOTHING there(what a ripoff!)they just charge int. students ten time more for all that rubbish.ive decided to apply to FIT for a one year AAS degree in fashion to learn techniques like patternmaking,draping,sewing,fitting,grading-basically stuff that i should have learnt on the design course itself.if however i dont get into FIT i was thinking of getting a private tutor to teach me what i need to learn.do you think sharon is a good alternative to FIT? could you also please let me know how many times a week she holds her classes and the duration? does she also teach tailoring and bridal couture?

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  15. Wow, Veronica is awesome! Very beautiful to look at, and if you can resolve all your fitting problems that fast, I can see that it was a really fine investment.

    I've been planning on making myself a dressmaking doll from plaster bandages and paper maché. Haven't started yet, though, since it hasn't been warm enough yet to sit around naked but for drying plaster...

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  16. Wow, the dressform looks amazing! I'm so jealous! I want a Sharon in my life too!

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  17. Veronica is beautiful! I love the fabric she is wearing - you could almost display her in your lounge!

    I must pad out my dress form, we used to be exactly the same size, but I'm afraid I've grown a bit and she hasn't!

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  18. New Veronica is very very beautiful. Congratulations.

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  19. That looks so fabulous! I love the fabric too. She looks so great you could take her to partys as your twin, cept she would always leave legless!! (boom boom, bad joke, it is late here sorry)

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  20. Fantastic! Not only does she match your shape but now she's pretty and floral! That looks like one mother of a project too, padding her up, but thankfully all done now.
    Betty and Veronica, that's cute. My dress form is named Diana because that's what her nametag says. Not so creative eh?

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  21. Oh wow! What a neat technique to learn and observe--I dare say the custom fit will come in really handy with future sewing! :) Love the cheery print you used too!

    ♥ Casey
    blog | elegantmusings.com

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  22. Just thought you should know - I named my sewing machine after YOU, as your blog was the first thing I read when I began to learn how to sew! I am on to Gertie II now, but the magic remains :)

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  23. Gertie, love that twill. I almost bought that same fabric. =)

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  24. I love Henry...!!! You can never mention him enough... little cutie!

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  25. Henry is gorgeous.
    I'm new to sewing [again] and have a question about dressforms. How necessary are they? I am hard to fit, but both plus-size and tall, so I know pattern fitting is also going to be a challenge...

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  26. It turned out just amazing. I never realized you could do it yourself without buying the fancy adjustable ones. your kitty is beautiful too.

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  27. I've been pondering for ages how to make Maud look more like me. She has a waist and no tummy, I am the reverse. And as my fiance spent a disgraceful amount of money on her for me it's about time I put her to good use.

    Now I know how.

    Thanks for the inspiration (as always). And please forgive me the envy of your fabulous sewing teacher. Sigh!

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  28. What a great idea to alter the dress form! It's absolutely beautiful!
    I did a ducktape form but it was disappointing :( so I will do the same as you, gonna buy a dress form and alter it.

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  29. Wow how I wish I had a Sharon near me! A body double you can stick pins into and stand back and survey would make my sewing experience about a million times better. How did you find her? Maybe I can go down the same route to search for someone in my area.

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  30. Oh, Gertie, she's lovely! I'm so envious - I'm going to start looking for a dress form for myself (or (oy!) make one, since I don't think I can afford a new one). Enjoy your new pal!

    http://craftmaticbeth.blogspot.com/

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  31. Wow! I would SO be willing to pay to have someone customize a dress form for me. They had lots of dress forms at a clothing construction class I took -- wonderful for adjusting a pattern but none of them fit me. The sewing lab assistant used to help me by fitting my patterns and muslins directly on me. But I find it impossible to do that kind of thing on myself.

    But if I had a dress form that fit me . . . .

    BTW, how do people who don't use dress form manage to fit.

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  32. I went on a extended weekend course to make myself a dressform. It is all documented at http://tania-gru.livejournal.com/3744.html
    It was fun and frustrating and rewarding. I may be tiny but I do have fitting issues. I have a sway back, a really big muscle between the shoulder and the neck and some other issues I won't bore you with. That course was worth every penny.
    Tania

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  33. sara m, I'm flattered you named your machine after me!!

    I found Sharon through findadressmaker.com.

    I'm sure there are a lot of other questions I'm forgetting to answer right now . . .

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  34. Your mannequin looks fabulous. I know I should do this but I am not looking forward to seeing my figure in 3D. I once made a duct tape dummy and it made me look shapeless though it did help with preliminary fitting.

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  35. Oooh this takes the prize for prettiest dressform ever! Having Sharon for your teacher sounds amazing!

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  36. This looks great - I acquired a used dress form that wasn't quite right--I'm very busty with a small waist. I used an old bra, stuffed it and put a silky slip over it to smooth it all out. It works great and was very quick and easy!

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    1. Just what I needed to hear! I was wondering if that would work. I too have a bigger bust than the rest of ( although the rest is catching up lol) But I will try putting an old bra and stuffing that before I attempt a full mannaquin makeover, Thanks

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  37. Thanks so much for the info for filling out Veronica for the real world, I,ve needed this info for so long but was unable to find it as simply put as yours. "Peggy" (my forms alias) is so greatful that she has some real world curves now. Now I get to move on with your wonderful draping details! I'll send you an update after Peggy (as some people put it) eats a burger or two!

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  38. I'm wondering whether you can provide more info on how to do this, can I make a sloper and dress my girl in it and then stuff her up?

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  39. I really want a dress form, have no idea what one to get, or what size. I remember the ones from the 60s I think, that looked like chicken wire and had clips all over. You put it on, squeezed it to fit you and then closed the clips to keep that size and shape. I can find them on Etsy but never in the plus sizes. I think they were called My Body Double, or something like that. Oh for the days when I could cut a size 12 Vogue and never have to do a thing to it. Those days are long gone and menopause can do terrible things to one's mid-section,.

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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