Naomi at SpareRoomStyle made a request this morning that got me to seriously thinking. She asked to see a photo of my 1920s dress on a person. Up until this request I was mainly using Mary Ann, my size 4 dress form, as the means to get my groove back in terms of sewing and patternmaking. I have passed from a size 4 a while back and now am between a 4 and a 6. I prefer my new body shape since it’s much healthier and curvier even though it puts me into that strange place where a woman is one size on top and another on the bottom. Still it’s so much better than having my bust darts cave in or the skirt hang a bit below the butt. Clothes look better when a person has a healthy body weight.
I started this blog back in 2013, about 18 months after my Mom passed on. At that point I had been away from my sewing machine and full-scale pattern drafting for almost 20 years. To give my Mom the attention she needed and bring in the money to keep the household going I had to let go of many personal hobbies. So that I didn’t go completely off the deep end by the loss of my full scale sewing, I took to drafting 1:6 scale patterns for 10 3/4″ dolls and hand sewing the dresses for them. Since 2013 I’ve gradually gotten my touch and sensibility back. I had planned to have photos of my size 4 outfits taken on an amateur model so I could have a portfolio. Although I can fit into the size 4 outfits, my hips and waist measurements are larger than a size 4. The results is that proportionally the fall of the garment is not so good below the waist.
After thinking about how much even an amateur model and photographer would cost I started looking into how much a custom made dress form would cost. I have been saving for this next phase and have decided to get the form instead. I will now be able to draft patterns and fit them on my sized form as well as the size 4. I do not consider this redundant because it offers me more opportunities to compare the differences between standard and custom sizing in many areas. Plus, I now get to take an occasional photo of myself when I have completed something I really want.
My next 1930s project will still go forward as planned for a Misses Size 4 since it takes some time for a custom form to be hand made. Then there will be the making and fitting of a toile for myself. When my Mom was alive she did all the little things like pinning the back, taking the photos that we later evaluated for fit, helping me with colors and giving me the benefit of her very discerning eye and sensibility. Having a custom made dress form won’t take her place but what I learned from her can be applied since I can step back and look at my form from a distance.
Wish me luck. I have an appointment at Andy’s Forms for this Saturday at 10 to get measured and discuss what else my form should have. I think she should have a butt and an arm. I seriously think it will help with fitting and draping for future projects. The estimate for just the form is under $600 which is within what I’ve been saving for. To me it’s worth the investment. I don’t need to go away on a fancy vacation. My happy time off will be sewing, draping and drafting for the new form. When she arrives we can decide on a name for her.