Monday, August 20, 2007

Nanami the Wonder Cat

Is there any sewer out there who hasn't posted the obligatory photo of their cat? Here's mine although she is really Ellie's cat. She should really get credit for guest blogging because she actually has her own blog. Meeeoowww!

front, with the knit cover

Here's the front and after the next post I am taking a break. Remind me in 6 weeks to write a review of Strattera.

the back with a stretch knit temporary cover

I put a knit cover on the form to "see" where I was in the process. I see that I need to work on the waist and hip. The angle of the photo makes her back look very distorted and overly large in relation to lower torso. I think in the previous photo the bust also looks very large in proportion and with the cover on and a better photo, it looks more like Big Ellie.

front of bust


front of bust
Originally uploaded by tinthimble/goldenferrule
Continuing to work on the bust---I lined the cups with the shoulder pads to give a natural shape. I then used batting and smaller cut and folded sections of shoulder pads to fill out and give solidity.

using the PMB sloper to check the padding process

I have a sloper from Wild Ginger PatternMaster Boutique that I used to check my progress. I had made 2 or 3 slopers for her and still had some problems with the fit, so I decided to supplement the sloper with the dress form. These photos were taken at the beginning of the summer and now the waist and hip measures are obsolete, so I will probably make another one. I plan to draft the cover in PMB out of muslin. I make slopers out of this gridded stuff or Swedish Tracing Paper because it's a much less tedious way to mark the darts and such. The problem is that Ellie says "IT'S ITCHY, MA!"
When I draft the cover for the form I will draft it with "no ease" so it fits skintight.

working on the bust


working on the bust
Originally uploaded by hannahminnea
I started working on the bust. I found it really difficult to duplicate the look, feel, heft or whatever of the natural bustline using quilt batting. Big Ellie wears only sportsbras, so the whole thing is kind of indeterminate. You can see that using big shoulder pads gave it more solidity. I also needed more padding in the upper chest area. I will also need to wrap the neck a little to get to her measurement.

I have been measuring, and comparing, but not obsessively so.

bust reduction via your friendly neighborhood hacksaw

Here's where I had to slice and dice. I don't think I cut deeply enough, but I decided somewhere along the line that this thing doesn't have to be perfect. A close approximation will do just fine. The most problematic area of Ellie's figure is the upper back and I think I worked that one out just fine--time will tell.

More tools for dressform transformation

An assortment of shoulder pads and 2 homemade pads (pink fleece) for the hip/tush area

Tools for dressform transformation

I had to do a little surgery on the chest/bust point. Since the form is made of a dense fiberboard, I needed to use a hacksaw. I didn't like doing this to Miss Acme Junior--she's probably been through 2 world wars or something...

The Willing Suspension of Disbelief

This whole process is a little scary in the beginning, because it looks so ugly and distorted. I think it's important to"overpad" if you use quilt batting because it compresses so much. The idea is to put a skin tight cover over all this stuff so it replicates the human body as much as possible.

Several people on the web have said just to wrap the batting around itself and it would stick--I found that I could not really refine forms doing that. I needed to tape the batting tightly in place to hold the batting where it was needed. In a perfect world, I think next time I would go with the Fabulous Fit because it comes with pre-formed body shaped polyurethane pads with just the right amount of squish factor.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

side view showing the upper back


Wrapping and padding


Wrapping and padding
Originally uploaded by hannahminnea
Here I am building up the torso a bit. I was really pleased with how the alignment or "posture" of the upper back came out.

Starting to pad


Starting to pad
Originally uploaded by hannahminnea
First I used the tape to hold the form to the high bust measurement, the total front and back widths and then the shoulder length. The chest area under the bust point was a little too full, but more on that later.

I then established the back waist length. On Ellie I marked a horizontal line at bust level, but in the back. I measured from the prominent cervical vertebra to this mid-back point and then from the mid point down to the natural waistline. I saw that she is very short waisted from the mid point down, but above that point she has a long rounded upper back. I worked on sculpting this back and shoulder blade shape with shoulder pads and batting.

I used quilt batting and I have to say I HATE it for padding out a dress form. I much prefer the polyurethane foam that is in some of the shoulder pads.

Back


Back
Originally uploaded by hannahminnea

A little Duct tape holding the sections firmly


Acme Junior Front


Acme Junior Front
Originally uploaded by hannahminnea
front view

Acme Junior Back


Acme Junior Back
Originally uploaded by hannahminnea
here's the back of the dress form before any padding was added.
Oh my, my studio is a mess!

Lil' Ellie, The Dress Form That Could

Well, in my quest for the perfect fit for my 14 year-old daughter, I am attempting to customize an antique manufactured dress form. My daughter HATES to be fitted. You would think that having really nice custom-made clothes would be something worth standing still for, but she just won't do it. Kathryn (fzxdoc) from Stitchers Guild was a big help and influence in this project. I hope that blogging about the process will inspire me to actually finish the project.

Since Big Ellie is actually rather petite, I started with an antique Acme Junior Adjustable dress form off ebay. Let me say just a few words about buying an antique dress form off ebay. It was in good condition except because it's old, all the sections did not line up exactly. Not a big deal, as I plan to "pad it out" to fit her shape. However, the stand is really wobbly. I can probably do something about it--but first I want to finish the padding.

The second issue I have with the antique form is: I had to make permanent changes to it, sawing the chest height down and putting tape all over it. I have always had an appreciation for antiques and old houses, so it kind of upset me to do this. For what I got and the price I paid, I could have gotten something from JoAnn and done all the customizing on a plastic form. I think those old Acme forms are best used as is or for display--just MHO.