Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Project Wedding Dress: DITing a Fitting Assistant

I had Friday off last week so Wes and I put our time to good use.  (By which I mean we had our weekly lunch date--this time at Agua Linda's, puttered around Academy and Goodwill, and watched even more South Park on Netflix).  Bliss.

Then we got down to business.  I put on Hudson Hawk (Netflix gets a lot of play around here) and busted out a bowl of water, a Pyrex pie plate, and coils of paper tape strips I prepared the night before.  It was time to get busy on our latest DIT project.

I've already started working on the fit of my wedding dress muslin.  I talk about that more here.  However, fitting on yourself is pretty damn difficult.  I was finding it pretty much impossible.  So I finally bit the bullet and purchased a jersey covered dress form.

I got this one . . .


. . . from Store Supply Warehouse.*  It came with the topper and the base and it's pretty much awesome.  It's also a size 8.

I don't know if you noticed-but I am not a size 8.

Why order a size 8 form then?  Well, the price was right.  It's foam which means it is pinnable.  Larger forms have triple digit prices.  Larger forms would not be any more helpful than this form because even though they are bigger they are not bigger in the right places.  A plus size form with a flat belly--what would I do with that?

I bought this form because I knew that, while sewing for myself, I could customize a paper tape form molded to my body to go over it.   The adjustable base and the form underneath make my paper form a lot more stable and usable.

What's a paper form?  Only the most awesome thing ever for the home sewer.  Mine looks like this-disregard my hair situation . . .

 . . .  and it is made from the gummed paper tape you can buy from Staples.  There are really awesome tutorials that outline the process, but essentially you moisten the gummed paper tape and wrap it around your body to create a molded form.  This one has lots of pictures and this one, on jejune.net I found particularly helpful.  The tape hardens as it dries and what you are left with is essentially . . . prison armor.  (You can thank Wes for that one.)  The hardened shell is stiff enough to stand up on its own, hold its shape, and it is pinnable.

I do have some additional tips if you want to undertake this yourself.
  • We cut our strips to about 12 inches long and then we cut them in half lengthwise.  This really does help them get around curves more efficiently and smoothly.
  • The criss-cross action is essential.  It cuts the taping time down a lot because it essentially means you are doing two layers at once.
  • Don't wet the tape completely.  Just moisten it.  If you over saturate it with water you will rinse away the adhesive and then the edges won't lie down.  Think of it as licking a stamp.
  • Don't be afraid to clip puckers or wrinkles in the paper tape as you wrap to make it lie smoothly.
  • Apply a layer of paper tape to the inside of the form as well.
Then you'll have a really nice, smooth form that is customized to you for less than ten dollars.

Here she is in action.

*Seriously you guys-this business is pretty awesome.  They shipped quickly and they called to let me know when my order would go out.  They emailed The prices are pretty fantastic too.  I have my eye on some wooden hangers-which they sell in bulk and for less than what you would spend at Target.  Check them out.

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