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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

How do I set up my dressmakers dummy or manequin?

How to set up a dressmakers dummy 

Many of us have a dressmakers or tailors dummy but do we know how to use it correctly? Think about it, if it is to be effective in producing well fitted clothes then it has to mirror the owners figure exactly. Do you agree?

So, how do we do this?

Firstly set your dummy up on its stand. Turn all the dials  to the same setting , zero, because we are going to start again.
You need a tape measure, some tape, a bra which fits you perfectly (you can change this as often as you like to suit the garment you are making ) and a close fitting vest top in a thin stretchy fabric.or a pretty cover like the one I am using.
Measure your waist and turn the dials until they correspond exactly to the measurement you have just taken.
Measure your bust, around the fullest point, and turn the dials to this measurement.  Do this with the hips.
Some manequins have more scope for adjustment so follow their instructions.

Put the bra on the dummy, you should do this because  your cup size determines the fit too. Put some stuffing inside it if necessary to fill it out gently.
Now, this sou ds boring but you will have to measure the bust, waist and hips again and adjust them to correspond with your own figure in underwear.

For more accurate sizing pin  a piece of tape or ribbon round your own waist, it has to be snug but not too tight. Measure from the nape of your neck down to this ribbon. Measure on the dummy from the same position down to the waist. Pin a piece of ribbon around the waist on the dummy check the measurement again. Secure in place. You will need this line when making pattern adjustments to the waist and when making skirts and trousers. You can keep these on top of your manequin cover if you like, they are useful for fitting purposes.
You need also to put lines of tape down the centre front and back and also down the sides from the centre of the armhole.again, these are fitting lines.

The beauty of dressing your dummy in this way is that you can insert padding to various areas as and when required, for example if if your waist expands, pad the manequins waist out to correspond, you can also  do this for the hips and bust.
Another convenient fact is that if you want to wear a specific style of bra with your new outfit you can put it on the dummy and fit your garment around it. Pad the bra out as necessary too.
Just remember that this is a fitting tool and correctly fitted clothes make you look and feel slimmer, so please be honest!
Take as many of your measurements as you can, you might need help with some, and transfer them to your  other you. 

In order to check that the manequin is the right size put a dress on it that you know fits you well and take a long critical look at it. Make any further adjustments as necessary.

It honestly is worth all the effort in getting this right. Imagine the benefits! Every garment you make will be perfect for YOU, who cares about standard shop bought dresses which fit ok here and there, this is perfection ladies!

Dummies or manequins are not cheap I admit, and you must get an adjustable one , be warned - display Dummies like those seen in shops are not the same thing at all.

Dress forms are available from  Dress form  there are different types too, even one for men!  Take a look. They really are worth saving for if you are serious about dressmaking.

The pretty covers like mine are also from Jaycotts, do contact them about them. Available in different sizes and colours, see them on the link below

 They really make a difference to how they look and I don't know about you but I like to use pretty things when sewing, it makes the experience even more magical.

Thank you very much for reading this, do you have a manequin?  Does she have a name?


Saturday, 3 October 2015

"Pins ain't what they used to be"

I had an accident this week. A stupid accident which could have been avoided and it set me thinking about pins.
First, a cautionary tale then you will understand what I am talking about.

My love of gadgets, including a different pin for every job, led to this earlier this week.
You see I have long pins,  short pins, fine pins, lace pins, quilting pins....... Do you see where I am leading? And that's just the pins, I have all sorts of needles too!

I was using  very fine, extra long pins when I decided to fit my garment. Forgetting there were still pins in it  I duly tried it on, slipped and stood on one of these pins. Of course being so fine it snapped as soon as I moved leaving a good portion of it in my foot! The pin incidentally went straight through my house shoes, I never walk about bare foot.( in case I stand on a pin of course...)

I don't know if you can make it out but the offending pin is in the bottom of this tube.I have to say that everybody found it hilarious - even me I must add, and my consultant did too, which was worrying.
Anyway, after days of hospital appointments and poking around it was decided that the only way to get rid of the offending article was to have a general anaesthetic and remove it in surgery. Which is what I did today. Apparantly they can migrate around the body which is indeed what my pin had started to do.

I must say this, All praise to Blackpool Royal Infirmary who treated me like a goddess today! Well apart from laughing at me that is. I could not have been treated any better or with so much love and care. THANK YOU

I shall spare you a picture of the operation site, but this picture is quite amusing. Dont I look glamorous with one foot painted yellow with an arrow drawn on the  leg with a  permanent marker, the other leg in a surgical stocking?

So, I hope that you take my tale to heart and take care with pins! Because it will take two whole weeks before I can have the stitches out and start to become mobile again.

Solving my new "problem"

I  have had plenty of time to think about pins today and how many different types there are. Just look at Pins on and you will see what I mean. I like the curved basting pins, and I will be buying some of those to replace the long pins I use for patchwork. 

I also adore this retro tin of glass headed pins by Prym, also from Jaycotts.

Dont you think the tin is beautiful? 

 I am throwing away every single ordinary pin I own now, and replacing them with the very pretty glass headed and flower headed pins, which not only can  be seen more easily than ordinary pins, they are rather pretty too.
I also need to invest in a magnet! Jaycotts sell horse shoe magnets for picking up spilt pins  see it here Magnet
They also sell a magnetic pin cushion which may be a good investment. Magnetic pin cushion

I also discovered these rather clever wonder clips  CLOVER wonder clips which do away with pins totally, they can be used for quilting and I suspect will also be useful for sewing any bulky item such as coats and padded jackets etc. Of course I have talked about double sided basting tape in previous blog posts, and I do use it a lot where I want my seam to remain stable while I sew it.

My research shows me that there are safer versions and alternatives for every pin type imaginable. Silks and fine fabrics do require a long fine pin, you can buy pretty ones which are more visible, or simply pin inside the seam allowance where less damage can be done to the fabric.
Most good haberdashery stores have  great selection of pins and accessories by the way.

Please take my tale to heart and do take care with your pins and needles. I thought that I was careful with them, obviously not, I really don't want this to happen to you.

Anyway, now that I am confined to home I will be doing lots more sewing. Every cloud does indeed have a silver lining.

Ps, you didn't really expect this to stop me sewing did you? I made this top today....

Happy (safe )Pinning