With the help of himself as my unpaid measuring assistant I made my toile and it came out OK. During the process, however, it soon became clear that the suggested hip, waist, bust, etc. measurements were not enough. From this ensued various stark comments about the size of my rear as he measured more and more bits of my anatomy. This trauma galvanised me into deciding to make my own dressmaking form. Don't get me wrong, I learned loads from doing it this way: totally ignore the sizing on the pattern and stick to your measurements; measure every bit of your body you can think of; make disparaging remarks about your spouses' motorbike (substitute anything your spouse loves) in retaliation for butt comments. To be fair I don't care about the size of my arse as I can't see it, but he really hates me telling him his Ducati Paso is not a classic motorbike but a heap of steaming lama doo doo.
So a dressmaking form or dummy was needed. I didn't want it to look like some dismembered corpse left discarded in the corner of my craft room as though I had gone berserk with the pinking shears after dragging some poor chugger off the street. I wanted something that looked OK. As you may remember I had a link to how to make your own on a previous blog...so I went for it. It's been enormous fun (and size, ha ha) to make.
I used a shop mannequin, bra(if required), t-shirt, duct tape, watered down PVA glue, newspaper, paint, varnish, polyester stuffing and fabric.
Himself, in a fit of butt-shaped remorse bought me a new shop mannequin on Ebay for £30....bargain! It arrived tout-suite from Manchester to Cornwall and has a polystyrene body, wooden pole stand and a wooden bit you jam in the neck in place of a head. I hadn't actually gone berserk with my pinking shears you understand, there isn't a head. So far so good, but it was with the introduction of the duct tape the fun began.
Step One: A few days before he ordered my mannequin we were having dinner as you do, and rootling around my head for some conversation I came up with: 'I've ordered a large roll of duct tape'. He's still scoffing down food at this point and he says distractedly, 'Oh, why'. 'I want you to wrap me in it', I reply. At this point he stops eating and looks at me with a mixture of alarm and interest, 'kinky', he says. He was to be sadly disappointed in terms of duct tape kink but nevertheless he would have the opportunity to 'honk' the boobs of a duct tape version of me - lucky, lucky man.
Step Two: So there we were Saturday night, me with my going out bra and long sleeved t-shirt, and him with the duct tape. A good bra is a must as you want to make sure all is where it should be for future dress fittings. It took about half an hour to do and anything less erotic I can't imagine. I would describe it more like wearing shapewear - constricting, unglamorous and a bit sweaty. Then, oh joy, he cut me out of it (he only ripped out a few handfuls of my hair he managed to stick with tape).
Step Three: It's a bizarre thing to see your duct tape self fall to the floor like leathery old skin: it felt a bit A Silence of Lambs! Anyway, after dressing the mannequin in an old bra to help shape the form, we put on the duct tape version of me over the top of the mannequin and taped up the back. I began stuffing between the polystyrene mannequin and the duct tape shape to create a form that mirrored me. This was absolutely hilarious. You need to keep measuring to make sure it keeps to the correct dimensions and I even put clothes on me and then on the form to see if they matched. Himself looked at it - honked the forms' boobs and declared they were the same size as mine, but did some adjustments elsewhere. We decided she need a moniker and we settled on Mrs G as this is what my pal Jacqui calls me. It took time, but you know what, it made a change from watching crap on TV and we had such a giggle.
Step Four: Once Mrs G was fully rounded and stuffed, and properly attached to the polystyrene mannequin with more duct tape I stood back to take a gander. She looked a bit wrinkly. Himself said she looked rough - how dare he! Out came the PVA (watered down with water) and newspaper.
Now this made my day, as I ripped up his Motor Cycle News and, oh the bliss of ripping up the hobbyist magazine of your nearest and dearest - it cannot be beaten. So I covered Mrs G in ripped up strips of newspaper to help give her strength and smooth out her wrinkles and added bits of cardboard to neaten up the arm area.
Step Five: Then two coats of black paint and one of varnish.
Step Six: Lastly, I covered her in some fabric and watered down PVA. This bit was fiddly, but as long as you take your time and go back and forth cutting and sticking each side as you go it works out OK.
Now I'm not saying she's the neatest but I now have a dressmaking form that perfectly mirrors my body. Moreover, if I ever do change weight I can take this duct tape form off and build a new Mrs G. How lucky is that. Himself will have another chance to get out the duct tape and honk the boobs of Mrs G II - what more can a man want!
I did say I was going to blog about the Arts and Crafts Movement this week, sorry, I couldn't resist talking about Mrs G. I promise we'll visit that next Craft Corner Blog.