Sunday, 1 November 2015

Death knell for Missy?

I'm stuck!

I'm trying to fit a tight fitting cover to Missy my little dressmaking model.
The idea is that I took the model down in size,  I think,  and then pad out to Helen's sizes.
It sounds easy but I've been struggling and putting off. Help!

Because I was procrastinating, I bought a stretch cover for the model in size 12 - but can’t get it on. Those shoulders!!

I fitted Helen into a basic toile made up into a dress. I'm concentrating on the skirt here,  though. I have made some minor changes to the bodice.

The skirt wasn't too bad as it was on Helen if it had just been for help in making garments. My tutor tightly fitted Helen into it. The darts were lengthened and the sides and back seam taken in a lot. A lot. The skirt was very fitted and curved under her bum at the back. The diagonal marks are the position of Helen's bum fullness. I don’t have any pictures of Helen in it.

Too big at waist and tiny at high hip, though not sure why.

Now,  I guess this does fit Helen as she was fitted into it though I can't check. It’s possible I've made some major error. Helen's body isn't entirely symmetrical according to my tutor's pinning and I was sometimes not too clear about how to pin, so maybe that's it.

Or is it that it's difficult to judge on a dress form due to the lack of flexibility?

It looked okay on - until you got to the back that is. I had to reduce Missy's sizes quite dramatically to get the skirt to lie reasonably at the back. However,  although the model size is now a lot less than the skirt size in the waist particularly,  the whole thing fails to meet at zip area at the back. 

The waist meets as does the area below the zip but the zip area just doesn't work. I'm not sure whether this is because Helen has a more hollowed back, certainly much less fullness at this point. Maybe this is due to the fact that the model is too short - the marks on the fabric for the bum fullness are considerably below the bottom of the model which means that the fullness in the model is too high.
Helen is approx 6’ tall and I realised I couldn't use the model to determine floor length for her. But it seems I can't even use skirt length!

The model is currently extended to its longest length.

The pin marks the end of the model. You can just see the shadow of the body underneath. The curved lines are to mark bum fullness.

Do I have anywhere to go with this particular model or do I have to give up with it? I'm thinking the latter. Do I ask Helen to go to one of the model making courses in London - that would get a Helen shaped model. Alternatively she would have to come home here for a weekend which would cost just as much with train costs. There would have assistance and here we'd be on our own. There would be issues transporting back to my house. Don't know what to do!…

Thank you for all the advice and comments I've already been given - please don’t stop there, though!!! I'm just off to read some blog posts as posted by Mary Funt of Cloning Couture - thank you for the head's up. Edited to add - I've now read the post (linked, now) - very interesting and a wonderful form results - but conclude that Missy is not suitable for this process. Too big, too flimsy, too short. I share Mary's view of duct tape models but then, sometimes needs must?

I had bought a pattern with plenty of seams for fitting and which looked pretty fitted at the back and I thought that would be good to try for Helen. I forgot she doesn't like asymmetry and didn't like my description of skirt C here, which is the one that attracted me to the pattern. However, I decided to go ahead and make up a toile, using straight pattern sizes 12, of the symmetrical version B.


I'm showing a photo of Missy in the straight size 12, made up without the lining and not hemmed but otherwise the sizes are per size 12.. Approximately fitted to Helen’s sizes. The waist is rather loose. The rest is okay but I reckon could be more fitted. I'm going to post this toile to Helen to get her to try it on.

I'm feeling rather despondent about managing to fit Helen into her dress eventually.


  1. I have worked with the adjustable forms. I think that's what you have. Cover the form with a tight tee shirt (to cover the gaps) and pad to fit your daughter. Put one of her well fitting bras on the form. Pad the waist and hip to her measurements, You will need a TIGHT fitting toile to cover the form. Using a garment and padding out to fit that will result in a form that's too big. I had excellent results using Suzy Furrer's Craftsy class on moulage. Stand the form on a sturdy box or footstool to gain height. Fasten it down so it's less likely to tip. I've used just about every possible configuration to get something suitable. Good luck.

    1. Thank you. Yes, it is an adjustable form. Looking at it, it's very disproportionate. I agree that using a garment and padding isn't going to work. We're looking at what to do the gaps with. I haven't given up yet. I have that really tight cover. I need your good luck! Your form looked excellent.

    2. The tight cover needs to be a duplicate of her shape and sewn in a medium weight linen or light canvas WOVEN fabric. If you just use a tight stretch cover it's not the same. I've padded forms for just about every imaginable size and shape. I pad a form for every bride I sew for and it saves SO much time and aggravation so don't skimp on the time necessary to get it right. If you email me at MF953 at aol dot com I'll be more than happy to give you additional suggestions and photos.

    3. Yes, thank you. I had planned to use the stretch cover to cover the gaps on this disintegrating model; the fabric is glued to metal and the glue is decomposing. However, any padding would perhaps not stick to this so that wasn't a very good idea! This was my 'tee shirt' as mentioned in your earlier comment
      I do have a tight fitting toile to fit Helen, which has been very closely fitted by my tutor on Helen when she was up a month or so ago. I have been investigating what padding material to use on the model and haven't come up with the solution (that's available to me) as yet! However, in my second photo in this post, even though the model is not padded and is down at the smallest size, the toile does not meet at the zipper area. In other areas, the toile looks very loose because the model is not padded and is not at the right size.. Therefore, my comment that I thought the model was too big in this (zipper) area and disproportionately shaped - it looks very odd indeed when it's standing unclothed!
      Thank you for your offer to email you for further help. I first need to get my golf AGM (I am secretary) out of the way, oh and complate my pattern fitting homework for tomorrow, then I can think about it again! I will be in touch, thank you.

    4. Good luck. I'm also a golfer and play in several leagues so I know how much work is involved. I've trying to talk my husband into a golf trip to Scotland/Ireland. Maybe soon!

    5. Well, if you end up in Northumberland be sure to come stay and play golf with me!
      The AGM went well.


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