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Conversational Threads

clone yourself dress form

janissews | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi all,

About a month ago, I attempted or had hubby attempt to make my own dress form.  Didn’t turn out all that bad for a first shot at it.  We did the huge garbage bag covered with layers of paper kraft packaging tape.  He tried insulation foam rather than the stuffing called for.  It expands to fit where it’s sprayed.  Worked like a charm.  Hubby is handy with wood and crafted a fantastic mobile stand for it. 

My problem is that “she” is definitely me.  Sway back, check.  One boob an inch lower than the other, check.  Beginnings of a dowager’s hump, check.  Diaphragm bulge, check.  I’ve never worked with a dress form before and I find “her” to be a bit overwhelming in my sewing room.  She refuses to lie and is constantly reminding me of all my imperfections.  She is forcing me to deal with the reality that I’m eating too much and not exercising enough. 

Am I the first to clone themselves a dress form only to have her insure that your #1 project will no longer be making clothes for “her”???  She was supposed to inspire and be a wonderful tool.  Instead, I can’t bear to cut into any of my favorites in my fabric stash knowing they would have to fit “her”.  Instead, I’m getting out the food diary, dusting off the scales, and venturing into that dreaded, closed door bedroom with the treadmill covered in cobwebs.  Instead of pouring over patterns online, a favorite past time, I’m frantically hitting all the healthy recipe sites. 

I may have been in denial before “her” but my sewing room was a happy place.  If you need some serious motivation to get a new body to sew for, I highly recommend cloning a dress form that is an exact replica of you.  The store bought ones are smooth and will never tell you the truth.  My new sewing project for 2009 is to lose 50 lbs.  Wish me luck!!!


  1. starzoe | | #1

    It is a surprise when we see ourselves "as others see us". My croquis drawing envelopes are hidden deep in my filing cabinet marked "burn this without opening".

    Good luck with your project for 2009, keep us informed as to your progress.

    1. janissews | | #2

      Great idea to mark for burning rather than opening.   I'll have to figure out how to build in a self destruct feature on "her" in case anyone other than me walks into my sewing room without knocking first :)  (I have a blanket at hand to toss over her when I'm in the room and know someone's coming.)


  2. sewelegant | | #3

    I can relate to your dilemma very well as I am sure any one who is overweight can.  The point is though, we still need to get dressed and we want to look the best we can with what we've got to work with.  I have been slowly losing (15 to 20 pounds)for the last two years trying to stay below 200 carbs per day.  It is a useful tool for diabetics trying to eat properly and reduce to a more normal weight. 

    I need to exercise too and will use any excuse to put it off.  My biggest aid is a friend who pushes me to go swimming.  Our goal is three days a week MWF, but it is usually more like two, but I can tell the difference in how I feel if I do go.  Our pool is outdoors so even though we are in southern California, it is cold in the morning at this time of year... 30's and 40's so it's very hard to find the discipline.  I am working toward decreasing my intake also. 

    Anyway, I wanted to address the need to have something to wear.  I find flowing fabric and something to disguise my figure makes me feel best.  I observe other women and do not want to look like some of the things I see so I have drifted to designers like Coni Crawford's line of patterns and have followed Barbara Deckerts advice from her book as well as Rita Farro's "Life Is Not A Dress Size".  I have to alter anything I buy so have tried to get back to sewing from scratch and do have lots of failures.  I think it is like you are saying:  I do not want to believe my lying eyes!  I either make it too small or too big or have misjudged the way the fabric will work out.  I have not actually made an exact duplicate dressform and would like to have one.  I have padded an old one and it is similar.  My biggest fitting and figure problem is my bosom.  It is set low on my chest to begin with and with age it has decided to give up.  I haven't lost enough in that area to see a difference, drats.  With all my bras I have to undo the straps and make them as long as possible so they will fit properly and comfortably and still give me the support I need.  I probably need underwires, but since finding the bra I wear now I haven't worn them in years.  This means I can't wear a design that has a waist because it all runs together.  I have no problem in the cold months because I can wear cover up tops like cardigans and jackets, but the warm weather means A-line dresses; and sleeves feel more comfortable but not as cool.  Tank tops are a no no for public exposure, but I don't care if they see me in a float dress!  My biggest comfort is wearing something made with a wonderful fabric and, of course, because I made it myself, it will be unique and probably better made than anything I could afford to buy.

    Edited 1/2/2009 11:10 pm by sewelegant

    Edited 1/2/2009 11:11 pm by sewelegant

    1. janissews | | #8

      Congratulations on your ongoing weight loss!!!  Slowly is far better than none at all or gaining.  Slowly is also supposed to be much healthier than all the crazy "fast" fad diets out there.  Good for you!

      I've had the privilege of attending a class or 2 by Coni Crawford.  I have a few of her patterns as well.  With regard to the large bosom problem, my sister-in-law had back problems for years related to large breasts.  She underwent breast reduction surgery a year or so ago.  I'm pretty sure her insurance paid at least some of the cost.  She is thrilled and wishes she'd done this many years ago.  They can raise at the same time they reduce.  Maybe it's something to look into.  She looks SO much more comfortable and she can now find clothes that fit. 

      I know swimming is great exercise.  I also live in S. Ca. and have an outdoor pool.  Unfortunately, I never learned to swim.  I grew up on a small farm in western Ky where water was dark green and snakes could totally ruin your swimming day.  I said no thanks.  My son is a search and rescue swimmer which makes me feel bad that I'm afraid of the water.  (My dad's idea of teaching us to swim was to throw us in and hope we came back out.)  I do get in the pool in summer neck deep and do arm and leg exercises. 

      I avoid tank tops and sleeveless tops in the summer too.  Your summer dresses sound lovely and comfortable.  I don't care to show my legs either so my favorite clothing are pants and short sleeve blouses with just above elbow sleeves for summer. 


  3. Gloriasews | | #4

    I know exactly what you mean, Janis.  It certainly IS a shock!  Cover 'her' in a caftan or bathrobe when you're not using her - that's what I did.  It cut the intimidation factor down substantially :).   As Starzoe said, we do need to cover our current bodies, so do use your form for fitting - it's much easier than trying to fit yourself.  Sewelegant has good advice, too.  Good luck with the exercising, etc.


    1. janissews | | #6

      Thanks Gloria...I will use her for at least the looser fitting clothes I like to wear like my everyday short sleeve shirts.  I have a lot of nice knits in my stash that I'll hold off on. 

      I had both my hips replaced in 2006.  There's about a year of recovery time.  Afterwards, you remain concerned about dislocation so there are many exercises you can't do or at least are afraid to do.  I packed on weight for a couple years before I found a surgeon who would help me, and have added more since.  I love to sew and having taken an early retirement, finally have time to sew.  Whether we like it or not, the truth is that clothes just look better on smaller bodies.  I'm determined to stay motivated and drop all this extra weight.

      Wouldn't be nice if we could just manipulate our bodies like we do fabric???  Darts here and there, lengthen/shorten, tucks etc.  All of us who sew would have a long line of customers at our door! :)

      1. Gloriasews | | #14

        You're right about what we could do, but, you can still do the tucks & darts on clothes for your current body.  Just pretend that you're making clothes for a friend whom you'd really like to wear something flattering, & your form will be easier to work with.  In the meantime, good luck with the exercising, dieting, etc..  You'll need to make a new form when you have your own new form :).  Keep us posted on your progress, both with the sewing & with the personal makeover.


  4. Josefly | | #5

    I loved reading of your experience with the body clone. Isn't it amazing how we can deceive ourselves when looking in the mirror, but not with an actual body double? Fascinating! I chuckled constantly when reading your post - I've never made a tape double, and I think it's because I subconsciously realized I would hate to look at the result!

    Sounds like you've found some motivation for change, and are following through. Wonderful!

    1. janissews | | #7

      We really do deceive ourselves!  I believe now that I must have been subconsciously avoiding mirrors in the house for quite some time other than just the tiny face makeup mirror.  I had my son take a lot of pictures while hubby was doing the wrapping to make her.  The pictures were as shocking to my eyes as she was.  They did make for good fire starters in the fireplace!


  5. zuwena | | #9

    Good luck on your efforts.  I am certain that we will all be pulling for you this year.   In that vein, I have one technical question.  Would you ask your hubby for the name/type of foam that he used.  Also, was there any question that the foam would distort the form or does it simply fill in spaces without pushing against them?  Thanks. 

    1. JeanM | | #10

      David Page Coffin (former editor of Threads) had a great article in Threads a few years back on 4 different ways of making a dressform.  One was the foam proceedure.  I *think* it is somewhere on this website.  Try doing a search.  If I can find a link, I will provide it.

      Donald McCunn also has directions in his book "How to Make Your Own Sewing Patterns", but it is not with foam.  He is a member here and pops up on occasion.

      1. zuwena | | #18

        I've read the Coffin material.  In fact, I attempted a duct-tape double.  All in all it wasn't bad (although as pointed out the "revelations" can be a bit distressing) but the stuffing did not work well and it began to collapse after a while--hence my interest in the type of insulating foam once I take this on again.  Z

        1. scrubble4 | | #27

          Zuwena:  I read one article in which David Coffin describes having a foam dress form made.  I think three friends went together, and at that time the owner of MyTwin would come to you and make the forms for you if there were 3 or more (ok this is all from memory so I could have some of it wrong.) 

          One of the things I love about MyTwin dress form (I call her Priscilla) is that I can stick pins into her.  When I am checking out individual pieces that is really helpful.  I covered the foam with knit material and then pinned on (I still haven't sewn them on and each time I think I will do it but get on with sewing an outfit instead) silver coiled ribbon for centre front, back, waist, neckline etc.  I find these references really helpful when I am beginning a new project. 

          I remember reading here on Gatherings that one of the problems with duck tape is that it melts and sags during heat waves.  The thought of a heat wave seems nothing but pleasant right now, but I know when we are in one many folks find them uncomfortable.  Sorry, I diverge in my thoughts.

          MyTwin has directions for a pant form as well as a dress form.  The pant form hangs from the waist.  I think Zuena's husband's idea of putting a piece of wood up the centre of her was brilliant.  My husband embedded a hook in Priscilla and he drilled into her base so I have the option of hanging her or having her on my base.  He put a little tray on the base as well that I can keep my pin cushion, scissors, threads etc. in.  However, when I want to fit a dress I hang it. 

          Good luck on making yours.  Scrubble4

    2. janissews | | #11

      zuwena, hubby arrives home tomorrow, will make a note to get spray foam insulation info for you.  It did not distort my form at all and the form is really just an oversized plastic garbage bag covered in layers of paper Kraft pkg'g tape.  It also didn't add much weight at all which I thought it might do.  The one caveat is that the form has to sit and allow the foam to expand, but it's just a matter of overnight.  It's also important not to let it sit in the sun as strong heat will eventually make the foam soft.  While working on my stand in his workshop, he had her sitting where sun was hitting her direct and a bit of foam ran down her side.  Comes off if you get to it before it dries.

      When we do another one, which I want to do because we learned so much on the first one, we will definitely use the foam rather than stuffing.  It made her firm inside without distortion or significant extra weight.  She could fall on concrete and not be damaged.  He used a 2x2 long enough to attach to her base and come up out of her neck.  We got a large heavy duty questionmark shape screw at Lowes that he screwed into the top of the 2x2.  He then filled the form with the insulation surrounding the 2x2.  I believe we did half the foam one day and half the next as we weren't sure how high the foam would expand inside the form.  Instructions didn't call for it but we used such a large garbage bag that we were able to include the tops of my legs so I can use her for fitting pants.  Next time I want to take that a step further and include my arms just far enough to get the widest area above the elbow.

      I really like that my stand is not in the way.  She hangs like a hanger on a rod away from the stand.  I'll try to take a picture of the stand so you can see what he did.  It's on lockable wheels and because he used 4x4's, it's far too sturdy to tilt or fall.  We added about a 2' long large round dowel, much like a closet rod near the top of the stand behind her that allows me to hang a little basket with my pins, or drape the meas. tape over, or hang whatever on a clothes hanger.  I can also take her off the stand and sit her on the floor next to me while sewing if I want.  I still need to make a fitted cover for her. 

      There are many sets of instructions online for making a dress form.  It was easy enough that we'll definitely repeat the process to take advantage of what we learned the first time.  Most certainly worth the effort except for that shock factor issue!

      1. cafms | | #12

        Where did you find the paper tape?  That has been my hold up.  A friend and I wanted to do it but couldn't find the paper tape.

        1. janissews | | #15

          Hi cafms...per the instructions I was following for my form, we got the paper packaging tape from Uline.com.  It is sticky on one side only and very easy to tear which is great since you're working with mostly pieces about 4 or 5 inches long.  This was the most expensive part of making the form as the site requires you buy a minimum of 12 rolls at 4.95 ea.  I believe the part number was S-909 which should be something like 2" x 60 ft. Hubby picked up the cans of spray foam at Lowes or Home Depot so not sure what those cost.  I'll post the name of what he used as soon as he's back in town tomorrow.  We only used maybe 2 1/2 rolls or so of the tape and now I'm glad we have all the extra since I definitely want to make another one.

          With my sway back and large upper thichs, pant fitting is a challenge for me.  I can't think of any reason why we couldn't do a separate form from the waist to ankles.  Maybe I'll add arms for the next torso we do and then do a separate full length pants form.  Wouldn't that be awesome to have to work with! 

          I'm enjoying this site...everyone's posts open my eyes to new ideas I likely wouldn't have thought of on my own.  Are you about to make a form for yourself?


          1. cafms | | #23

            Thanks for the info.  One would order that much tape and get several friends together for a weekend sewing retreat and all come back with a form.   Don't know if we could all make it home though as we'd all be in shock.  Might have to leave someone  unwrapped as the "designated driver". 

          2. janissews | | #24

            You have me envisioning a little mini-van full of silent wide eyed, stunned faces and weighted down with a mountain of headless monsters tied on top.  The driver is a man because even the unwapped designated driver has come away from the retreat traumatized!

          3. JeanM | | #25

            This thread is sounding like a comedy routine, especially when starting with the first one and reading through again.

            Sewelegant, congrats on losing the weight.

            Janissews, I forgot to wish you luck on the pounds you are wanting to shed.  You crack me up every time I read what you can do with your form, like putting her next to you at the sewing machine---you'll never be lonely there.  "What? I'm not talking to myself!  I'm talking to 'her'"!  Need to get somewhere fast?  Put a wig on top of her and set her in the front seat so you can get in the carpool lane.  Your guests are arriving and you are not quite ready---just put a dress on her and stand her by the front door.

            It's wonderful that your husband helped you and so willingly and even came up with the idea of the foam.

            One thing I'm not clear on (or maybe I just didn't read the articles thoroughly enough) is how do you get a pattern from the form?  Or, is the form used strictly for the fitting part?




          4. starzoe | | #26

            It is interesting reading this thread, but a thought came to mind, no one else has mentioned it; it is this - your true shape is on the inside, not the outside of the made-at-home-wrapped forms. It is necessary to take that into consideration when calculating ease.

          5. KharminJ | | #28

            Indeed ~ It seems to be an assumption made but never said "in so many words", that after the form is made and filled, then the tape shell is actually discarded, and the inside foam-or-stuffing becomes the actual working *dress form*. I've read the MyTwin pages, and that's what my little brain came away with. I also recall seeing *somewhere* that at least one of the commercial dress form mfrs. (not adjustable or custom-sized) sells a knit-stocking-cover for about $15. (It was one of the advertisers in Threads, I do remember that...)A large part of the interior could be filled with a couple of those cheap beach balls (small ones!) stacked inside before you foam - use several fewer cans that way, I think! Road trip planning would require packing to accommodate another whole body coming home, that's for sure.Kharmin -enjoying the developing comedy routine!

          6. sewelegant | | #29

            I have thought of this too... using all this foam makes me think of ceramics (which I don't do, but have observed with interest).  I remember my dad making a mold from an old metal wall hanging and using the mold to make plaster casts that he painted and sold.  I don't remember what he used to make the mold.  Maybe we should wrap to our hearts content and then fill with foam and when it hardens, cut the outer shell off and voila... a perfect copy of ME.

            Edited 1/3/2009 4:50 pm by sewelegant

      2. zuwena | | #17

        I await hubby's directions and input, and your pics (whenever you have a chance).  The additions hubby made sound wonderful.  I actually would like to "borrow" hubby.  Thanks again. Z


  6. scrubble4 | | #13

    Hi Janissews:  My husband wrapped me in plastic, then plaster, then cut it off, sewed it together and filled it with foam.  Then he stripped off the outer plaster and THERE I WAS!.  I get the shock.  Also, for me, I instantly understood why I have such fitting problems.  I am determined to make clothes that fit as I believe that any body no matter the shape or size looks better in clothes that fit.  My extremely erect posture duplicated on Priscilla showed me why my sleeves were so very difficult to fit never mind the back and front.  I call my dress form Priscilla and she has given me an image of me that no three way mirror or video camera ever communicated to me. 

    I agree with another Gatherings poster who said she covered her form. I also think anything that will help keep me disciplined about an exercise routine or monitoring more closely the things I put into my body is a boon. 

    Once you tone up and trim down you will have to have your dear husband make you another one.  Now that will be a celebration of before and after like few of us every have.  You will be able to keep the first one to fit coats etc. so it won't need to be a waste, at least I think that might work. 

    Keep us updated on your journey towards a smaller dress form.  It is one most of us on Gatherings share.  We will cheer you on.  Honesty is always valued here and you have displayed an ability to be honest with yourself that is admirable. 

    I got my instructions from a company that has advertised in Threads for years.  It is called MyTwin.  The instructions were clear and easy to understand.  My package came with the materials we needed except the chemicals.  The exact chemicals needed to make the foam, where to find them and what to do with them were all very clear. 


    1. janissews | | #16

      Hi Scrubble4,

      Do you know that you have made my day!  Naming "her" by some other name than your own is a fantastic idea!!!  It turns the big gal into someone else I'm sewing for until my own body is in better shape.  Great phychology!

      I like your form's name of Priscilla.  I'll give mine a pretty name as well to call her by and since she's theortically not me anymore, I'll have to be kinder to her.  I'm sure you don't march around Priscilla with your arms folded shaking your head in disgust.  That would be rude. As soon as she has a name, I'll automatically have to be courteous and respectful.  You have spared her endless criticism.

      I fear there are some who've read about my form woes and made a mental note that this janissews woman may well be insane.  How nice to hear from you that you gave your dress form a name that you call her by.  I love it!!!  Thank you for sharing your experience with me and giving me a terrific idea! (Tell Priscilla I said to give you a big hug from me) lol


      1. JeanM | | #19

        When my dressform arrived my husband looked at her and said "Jeannie" so that has been her name. I've never been called Jeannie so that makes her "a different person".   It is set to be the same height as I am, but I keep wanting to raise her as she seems too short.  Nope, that is my height.  (Guess I am just used to tall people).  Keeping the dressform close to your height is important so you can better determine how a garment will look on you, not someone taller or shorter, but this doesn't seem to get mentioned as often as it should be.

        I am curious as to what the cost of the foam will be.  I have a booklet from the late 80s and it states that it is about $25-30 for approximately 1 gallon of each component for a total of about $60.  This should fill 5 smaller forms or 4 of medium and 3 of large size forms.  Hopefully they now have one premixed!

        1. janissews | | #20

          Jean, I totally agree that the same height is important.  I'm 5'8" and we held her up shoulder to shoulder with me for him to mark where to place the rod she hangs on.  I do like that she's attached to a large hanger so she can be picked up off the stand and sat down on top of my cutting table or on the floor right beside me while sewing.  We made the stand up as we went and I wouldn't change anything he did with it.

          I haven't really read any of the form instructions that require mixing up the foam.  I didn't even realize at the time that foam was an option.  My instructions called for stuffing as for a pillow etc. It was his idea to try the spray insulation foam which doesn't require mixing. 

          How sweet that your hubby named your form the minute he laid eyes on it...


        2. MaryinColorado | | #22

          That is excellent advice to set your dressform at your personal height!  I've had one for years and it never ocurred to me to do that. 

          I had to do that when I was hemming a long formal gown for myself a few years ago.  Since then, I found it really does make a difference on everything I put on her. 


    2. kmayne | | #33

      I was just reading the post on dressforms. Your husband wrapped you in plastic. Can you tell me what kind of plastice? Did you just use plaster by itself or did you use gauze or fabric strips with it? I want to do a similar project.Thanks

      1. scrubble4 | | #35

        Hi Kmayne:  First I took a big garbage bag (you can also use dry cleaner bags) and made a whole for my head and put it on upside down.  Then my husband used masking tape to mould it to me.  Then he took paster fibre strips and wound them around me (wet).  I stood while it dried which didn't take long as we did it in the summer time.  You could also use a hair dryer on cool to increase air circulation. 

        Once it was dry he cut it off me basically following shoulder seam and side seams.  His hands are stronger than mine so he then used heavy thread and a big darning needle to sew it together.  Finally he tapped the outside so it looked like it had looked on me when I was tapped.  The neat thing is the inside which is where the foam goes is me, which is why you end up with a twin of your shape.  He then turned blocked off the top (I can't remember what he used but probably just heavy paper taped to the top of the body)  Then it was turned up side down and the two chemicals that are used to create foam were mixed and carefully poured in.  One of the tricks is to do this part slowly so you reach all the cavities.  You don't want some of your shape not to be created because a fast pour created bubbles.  Once it was set he cut off the exterior plaster.  There I was.  He twisted a big hook (like the ones used for jolly jumpers) into the top of her and initially I just hung Priscilla from a coat hanger on a door way.  Now he has drilled holes in the bottom and created a stand she slides onto.  (Same height as me for dress length work) I made mine with legs so I can also use it for pants.  I just take it off the stand and hang it.  Oh I also covered Priscilla with a heavy knit.  I really appreciate her.  You can get the directions from My Twin.  They also have directions for a pants form. 

        Although we have discussed the startle we get when we see ourselves in this way, it is really the only way I can see fitting things to our unique shapes.  No matter if your slim or not so slim, few of our shapes parallel the pattern companies.  Some alterations are really easy to make but most of the alterations we need to fit our individual bodies are not so easy.  A MyTwin dress form is fabulous.  If you put on some weight you can just pad it a bit as the posture, armholes, location of waist, height of bust, angle of neck etc will stay pretty constant. 

        Let me know if you have more questions.  I am sure my husband would answer any questions your husband has. 


        1. kbalinski | | #36

          This thread has been so informative, and entertaining.  DH and I will be doing one of these methods very soon, and I shudder to think that it will curb my sewing habit, rather then encourage it!  I *love* the name Louise because of the tragic end to the movie, and think maybe I should name mine "Thelma", having the same plan to need a new, improved, and thinner form in the next year!

          Thanks a million ladies, you've made my day!  Kristine

        2. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #39

          I call my old dressform MeTwo.  Yet she is not me.  Her shortcomings are not mine.  I have padded and reformed her, but she is still too perky and not curvy enough in places to resemble me.  I know that I would be shocked to see how little she actually resembles me.  But I am tired of trying to fit me to that mould.   I want to be me.  And if having to suffer the shock of finally truly seeing what shape I am, well, then, so be it.  I think after all this time, I have earned the right to be me.  And if it pushes me to take better care of me, then, all the better. 

          A dress form, even a custom moulded on you dress form, is only your shape.  It still is not really you.  Life so far has helped to shape you, and this is a reflection of only one moment in time.  Do not be so unhappy with her.  She is still only a form under construction.  Be gentle with her as life shapes her maker.  You are a shape that is still in progress, not complete yet.  Bless you and Her.   Cathy

          1. scrubble4 | | #40

            ThreadKoe:  I so agree.  I like my Priscilla.  She is so wonderfully helpful to me in understanding how to fit patterns and pieces for me.  Although I still have challenges but they are different than they were before.  I also agree that being comfortable with who we are is an important step to having fun with who we are.  Still, the first time we see our shape from an outside perspective it is a surprise.  I have never heard a conversation about this surprise before and I think it has been helpful, even in just affirming for each other that we had the surprise.  I think knowing how we are alike is often as wonderful as appreciating the ways we are unique.  Scrubble4

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #41

            Yes, I agree that no one talks about the surprise.  And I am so happy that you have.  Even a picture does not really tell us much about how we appear to others.  I giggled my way through the posts, as everone discovered how their inner me and outer me came to terms, tee hee.  It is so eye opening to watch as we discover ourselves is it not???  Thank you for being so open and brave.  Cathy

  7. MaryinColorado | | #21

    Talk about inspiration!  Oh dear, I guess I better rethink this "make your own dressform idea"!!!  I will have the same problem!  I think I would have to do one or all of these things:

    dress her up in something that looks as flattering as possible.

    put her in a costume that would make me giggle

    take a picture of her, put it in a sealed envelope, put it on the refridgerator door


    kick her and put her in the closet!!!!

  8. fabricmaven | | #30

    I love that you have a husband who cares enough to help you create your own personal dress form. I love that you have shared your physical disappointments with us. I just want to share that you shouldn't wait to have some nice clothes for your future self. Losing 50 lbs might be a good thing to achieve but in the meantime you are who you are now. Don't wait to be an" ideal" before you let your creativity begin.

    1. SewistKitty | | #31

      I had a dress form done by the My Twin owner in CA a few years ago. I, too, was shocked at what I looked like. I never did get over the shock and got rid of it. Now I wish that I had named her and covered her up as was suggested. I need to get a new one made by some friends and name her.
      Good luck with your journey towards better health. I need to embark on this one too.

    2. janissews | | #32

      Thank you fabricmaven...I agree that I shouldn't wait.  I plan to make some everyday things for "Louise".  I named her after Louise in Thelma and Louise, in hopes that one fine day she will drive off the upstairs balcony.  

      I moved or I should say my husband and grown kids moved my sewing room upstairs this morning.  I will have a lot of natural light now and a large balcony with a glider right beside me where I can go sit in the sun and read or sip tea or whatever.  I can hardly wait to unpack and get set up ready to sew up there in my new space. It was an exercise room so it has a great 8 1/2ft long mirror on the wall as well as mirrored closet doors.  It also has high ceilings so feels even roomier than it is.

      Hubby is about to go to Lowes with me to get the wood for over 30' of wall shelving in total.  I have quite the inventory of books that I've never had room for inside my sewing room. 

      I will definitely dress Louise but I have some great fabric in my stash that will wait as my reward once Louise is looking like the fat lady in the room rather than my twin.


      1. fabricmaven | | #34

        Hope you will post some pictures of your creations made with the aid of your dressform. From your description of your new sewing space you are one lucky lady. Sew. Sew. Sew.

      2. Ceeayche | | #37

        You and I are kindred spirits!

        I have a dressform I received when I was 16 (and much smaller).  It's one of those adjustable ones that is now really too small for me and any of the folk for whom I sew.  So she currently stands as century in the garage-- I do get laughs about her there.  She was recently joined by my mother's "my twin," which is currently sitting upside down on the opposite of the garage.

        However, until I moved out of my last house, I had her dressed in a coral evening gown that I picked up at an antique show.  It has the kind of intricate embroidery/beading that Threads used to show on the back cover.  I later added some cheap rhinestones I received for a friend's wedding.  As a result of leaving her out for so long the dress faded in the sunny room.  She was also artfully draped in rich hunter green velvet for several months one year while I tried to decide which pattern I was going to use.

        But having read this thread, I'm going to liberate her and my mother's twin.  As I get the room cleaned up and things put away, these two grand dames will have to have a place there.  And, I've been remiss--- I must NAME them. 

        Thank you all for your suggestions this was great!

        1. janissews | | #38

          I envy you having a dress form of your mother!  If I had one of my mom, I would put her favorite apron on it and the little cross necklace she always wore and any other things of hers I still have and turn her into a lovely keepsake.  She would be a comforting presence in my sewing room.  Lucky you!


          1. Ceeayche | | #42

            what a lovely idea!!!!!  guess I'll rescue her from the garage this week and give her a place of honor in the room.  WONDERFUL WONDERFUL suggestion!

          2. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #43

            Quick question. I know insulation foam is rigid when it cures. Where would one get the foam that is soft and rather spongy when cured? Or is that a result that would be desirable? I have a soft foam form I bought at a thrift store to photograph clothing to sell on eBay. It was likely someone's double, but neither mine nor my DIL's. I am traveling Monday to stay a few days at my son's home. I want to make a body double of my DIL while there so that it is easier to sew for her since they live 6 hours away. I plan to bring back the mould and finish it up here at home. Where would one find bandage scissors and plaster bandages. DH, who used to make fiberglass moulds and fiberglass boats, baptismal tanks, etc, understands the mould process and would willingly do the work on this if we can find the materials.

          3. starzoe | | #44

            I strongly suggest that you not use fibreglass to make a body form. Fibreglass is best handled by experts with googles and protective clothing - nothing you would want near your body or to use in a house.It is so toxic that if you even use it in a garage, the pervasive odor will pollute food in plastic and paper containers. You may be able to make a form with some other method and then, with the proper precautions, have your husband complete it with fibreglass.

            Edited 1/16/2009 3:14 pm ET by starzoe

          4. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #46

            I'm sorry I mislead you. I didn't intend to make the dress form of fiberglass. I mentioned it only as a means of conveying my DH's expertise in being able to make the actual mould for the dress form. The process of making a form from gauze plaster cast material is very much akin to the process of laying-up fiberglass in that one would lay on a layer and smooth out the air bubbles, then put on another layer. I am very familiar with fiberglass -- having worked as office manager of a fiber glass boat manufacturer, which is where I met DH. This was early in the evolution of fiber glass reinforced plastic boat manufacturing .... long before anyone wore goggles or protective clothing. Fiber glass at that time came on large rolls much like the fabric we use to make clothing. The cutting room was right outside my office. The resulting minute glass particles permeated everything. Not to mention the grinding with industrial size grinders that smoothed off the rough (and sharp) edges that also took place a few paces further back. My arms stayed broken out and irritated most of the time because of the glass particles which covered my desk with a fine dust like layer. Those particles then stuck to and penetrated the outer epidermal of my arms. There is no telling what any of our lungs looked like. I do not want a fiberglass form. I want to make a mould and fill it with foam and destroy the mould. I was really inquiring about the foam one would use to fill the mould with.

          5. starzoe | | #47

            Your intent sounds like a good one, to make a mould and fill it with foam for a perfect shape. The duct tape idea, which is decades old now, has be superceded by much better techniques.

          6. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #48

            JunkQueen, I live in an Ancient Ontario Farm House. Tee hee, that means for years we have been plugging holes with various forms of expanding foam for years. You need to go to your nearest large hardware store or Home Depot or whatever store like that. Check the cans of expanding foam available. Look for one that says it remains flexible after curing. Our house shifts every spring and fall, so we had to find one that would accommodate for that. I have used several brands. I do not know what is available south of the border. I am finding some are not as nasty as others to use, and the fellows that work there can be really helpful. Cathy

          7. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #49

            Thanks, Cathy. It never occurred to me that there would be flexible home insulation expanded foam as well as the rigid. DUH!! I'm not really blond, I have dark roots, but it's moments like this that make me wonder about myself.... I shall go make a nuisance of myself at Lowe's and/or Home Depot today. Last night I pulled all the articles regarding making custom dress forms I could find in the Threads index.

            Edited 1/17/2009 11:50 am by JunkQueen

          8. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #50

            It's Ok, I am quickly going Platinum myself, and it shows in more ways than one sometimes, tee hee! BTW DH's Dad's Cataract surgery went well, and he is now anxious to have the other one done. He is soooo happy with the results. Cathy

          9. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #51

            That is great news about your dad. I wish him the best of luck on the next surgery. I was really teasing about my hair, though I did keep it blond many years. I am happily mostly gray these days. Salt and pepper. Much easier to take care of than processed hair, I'm finding. I think I'm getting lazy in my waning years.

          10. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #52

            Me also, I embraced my whitening locks a couple of yrs back. Now I am working in a place where great effort goes into covering such, tee hee. Actually, I get quite a few comments on it. Just got to keep the cut and condition up, to keep it looking great! DH and two of DD's are very blonde, so they have great fun with the blonde jokes around here. Now they get to poke fun at me! Cathy

  9. [email protected] | | #45

    I can really relate to this, My "that can't be me" was a particularly unfortunate photo to show off a newly finished pair of pants. Needless to say I didn't post it. But we all do need to get dressed and properly fitting (not tight, not loose) will make any body look better. There is a time for temporary garments, Fabric- not quite so nice, inside finish-well it won't be seen and I have no intention of wearing it out but I will have something to wear. Something else you might want to wear is a pedometer... it has really gotten me moving.

    I also noticed that like me some of these problems are not going to disappear, they are part of the history of you. I strongly recommend Palmer Pletsch videos and books on FIT (and if you want a truly wonderful vacation the classes are a blast). You'll feel right at home.

  10. User avater
    Knitnut | | #53

    I know I'm late in reading/posting but I just could not resist.  I did a duct tape clone several years ago at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston with the creator of the process that she was patenting.  We were warned that this could not be a pretty sight when done.  I didn't think mine was that bad except she was much thicker from front to back that I thought I was. 

    When I brought it home and showed it to my DH he said "what the hell is that thing?"  He also said "no way is that you" which was a great compliment to me, and then he said - "you'd better keep that covered up  - especially when the grand kids are here!"

    The dogs barked at it and shied away from it.  So I started going to weight watchers and got back on my Nordic Track. . . .yea. . . that lasted all of about 8 weeks.  Then  I just decided to suck it up and live with it. 

    My clone is helpful in fitting, but she still isn't me - I have ready to wear that won't fit her yet fits me just fine.  She is hard and stiff - and the drape of my clothing is different on me than her - - - -but she really gives me a good model to use since I have no fitting buddy.  It is much more effective than going without.

    I put a halloween hat on her sometimes, sometimes a wig, but mostly she is covered with a big christmas gift wrap bag to keep her clean.  If you feel you need to see it - I'll post a photo for you.

    Don't fret over it - good luck with your projects.  Jackie

    1. janissews | | #54

      I was surprised by the response to my shock over my dress form.  At least I'm not alone ;)  You are right that things don't fit the same.  She's stiff and doesn't give at all, and we go out of our way to tug and pull everything in where we can so we can fit into things we probably were never meant to.

      I intended to post some pictures but spent too long trying to figure out how to decrease the resolution so I could post and finally gave up.  I've been super busy anyway moving my sewing room from downstairs to upstairs, something I should have done a long time ago.  I'm on pergo instead of carpet with a large balcony and high ceilings.  Not that much more square footage but sure feels better.

      You've been really creative with how you cover your clone!


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