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Cook turns Seamstress…

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At the moment I am doing far more sewing than food history research and I wanted to chronicle this. Having acquired a dress form partly so that I can post photos of items I have made, it seems appropriate that I should write first of all about this.

Like many others I have been deliberating about purchasing a dress form for quite a while. I have been seriously considering purchasing the Olivia adjustaform model, but they are expensive. I was also hesitant about how well they would show off clothing aesthetically,  as my longer term objective is to make clothes to sell.  So in the end I purchased a standard size dress form, as near to under my measurements as I could find. Being honest, it is also the largest I could find!

So here is Alice.  She is named after my Grandmother whose sewing skills I aspire to but may never achieve.  She is a size 18. One thing that would not have occurred to me prior to purchasing a dress form would have been that  even a very expensive adjustable form would not have had my cup size. So the first thing that I did was to put Alice in a bra that fits me well. And then I padded the cups.  For padding I used the inside of an old synthetic pillow, and was pleased to discover I could effecively unroll the wadding unto layers. With the cups padded she was instantly my bust size. So then with Alice in a vest, I measured my under bust and gave her a layer of wadding all the way round, and then some extra for a tummy and a bum, checking measurements along the way. It was surprisingly easy to get her to my dimensions.  At the moment it is just the friction of the dress form’s cover and the t shirt holding the wadding in place. For longer term use I would want to get it smoother and a little more secure. Using a fuller cup bra would also be better than the balcony style that I have. For fitting purposes I dont need to worry too much about the area below the bust as I don’t tend to wear styles that are closely fitted there.

Here is the somewhat tubbier version of Alice. We can lose weight together too! It was partly because of this that I didn’t want to put a huge amount of effort into making a duct tape form. And I would still have wanted a form for photography purposes.

The form I purchased was somewhat basic, and I suspect that the polystyrene form itself won’t take a huge amount of pinning without showing some wear and tear, but for under £30 and half an hours work I have a dress form that is a reasonable approximation of my figure, with the bust, the important bit for fitting for me, quite accurate.  Now if only I could get her to do the ironing….


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