It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Meet Matilda - My New Helper

 Matilda is on the right - that's The Queen on the left:

The Queen looks a bit lumpy, eh?   OK, she's a LOT lumpy!   At least she was free, notwithstanding the hours spent removing the lingering smell of cigarettes.  And the $$ spent on the Fabulous Fit foam, trying (in vain) to get her to match me.   Sadly, in spite of the 37 nuts & bolts adjusters inside, there were structural issues that made her utterly impossible to ever get a really good match for me - torso too short, shoulders too wide, bust too....something....    So she's really been more of a glorified garment holder than a fitting buddy.

Yesterday, while taking a break from paperwork, I somehow found my fingers browsing "sewing" on craigslist (how does that happen?) and there was a dress form - cheap! - and close!   I called the seller and it sounded like she was worth looking at.

And she was.   In fact, she was worth bringing home.  (along with a couple of other goodies, but we won't discuss them....still cheap!)

I think that, with a little bit of careful measuring, I can make her look about as close to me as a dress form can be!   Here's why:

 She is constructed entirely of foam!   Squishy, moldable foam.  And a canvas covering, zipped up the back, that ideally is seamed to make an exact match of the body.  Hopefully I'll be able to utilize the covering that came with her, and I figure that with some help from the  Fabulous Fit foam and some research in making a well-fitting moulage I should end up with something that will actually help me in fitting - what a nice concept, eh?


 A search for "Faithfully Yours Dress Form" brought up this newspaper ad from 1967:

Even better, check out the other goodies in the Singer ad!:

Matilda has to be nearly 50 years old, and still happy to serve!   Considering I paid $20 for her, she even held her value fairly well.  :)

I've been reading the blog posts that a few of you have made recently on dress forms; I'll definitely be checking them out more thoroughly as I play with Matilda, and hopefully end up with a helpful sewing twin!

Any hints, suggestions, links, etc. in this venture will be more appreciated :)  Have you ever seen or used a dress form like this before?   I would SO love to have my Mom's old dress form - a network of interlocking metal mesh that was infinitely adjustable, and held itself in place with a covering.   I've never seen another one like it.  If and until I have several hundred unclaimed smackeroos to spend on one of the fancy name brand forms, I'm hoping that Matilda will serve me well :)

Oh yes...The Frosting Report:  I did, indeed, make Pocket #2, and I'm happy to report that it went very smoothly.  Practice pays off!  The project is moving right along, and really will be my next post. :)

27 comments:

  1. To think Singer was selling TV's....the beginning of the end!

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  2. I want a dress form SO badly...

    I found a few places on the Net that give instructions on how to make a dress form out of...duct tape. Yeah, I know...but I kinda want to try it just to see how it works. But I'd really love to have one of those fancy dress forms with the adjustable dials. Someday.

    Congrats on the great find, though :)

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    1. Lots of people have made the duct tape forms (I considered it myself), but I think they end up being of questionable worth... Keep your eye out for a good used one!

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  3. I am in the process of making of My Twin Dressform...lots of work, hope it pays off. I am starting with the pants form, as that is my absolute nemesis. The kit was a gift from Mom. Hubby gave me the torso kit for Christmas, too.

    Your "new" one looks like a great solution. Good luck!

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  4. So now you can waltz with Matilda! She's beautiful, doesn't look her age at all. Have fun creating your fit twin. Someday I will have one, too...

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  5. Now you can waltz with Matilda! She's a beauty, and doesn't look her age at all. Have fun cloning your twin fitting buddy!

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  6. What a great find. I have a similar one in a larger size that I found at a yard sale. Score!! My Tip - Take your time and make the cover super tight on you with no wrinkles. Do not carve on the foam as it will compress and you want it under pressure. The cover that came with mine did not have a neck which I highly recommend adding otherwise you will not get your neck angle, which is critical to have for most fittings. Also check out my upcoming blogpost on modifying these types of forms-lol

    www.sewingcafewithlynne.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you Lynne! I've no doubt that your recent posts were somehow inspirational in my finding Matilda - they lit a fire under me to get a workable dress form!

      I'll definitely be looking for your upcoming post :)

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  7. Wow, what a great find!! The Singer ad was a riot - and I was pleased to see the Touch and Sew for $149 - it was my first machine, bought as a wedding gift by my husband. On sale for $125 - I remember so well! I used it for 21 years before it got cranky and simply stopped. I love Matilda, really unique.

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  8. A friend gifted me one of those mesh forms recently. He found it in his mums house after she passed away. I had never seen them. My own mum had one which was made from cardboard and paper fasteners.

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  9. I haven't tried it yet. Not sure where to start . Looks painful. Where do you live? I could send it on if I decide I don't want it.

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    1. purpleivy thank you for such a sweet offer! However, I'm in California, and would only accept your offer if you were local (which I suspect you are not...by a long shot lol!)

      I'm thinking the form Mom had was from England, and that she brought it over here with her.

      If yours is the same, once you have it set to your measurements and put it a cover on it, it's really handy!

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    2. yes, Jilly, I'm in England! I was amused to find on the accompanying leaflet, Martin's mother had written in pencil 'In the loft, horrible thing!' This is why I'm prepared to try it, but may have reservations!.

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  10. Wonderful new friend! I laughed at the description of squishy-that is my body recently. Have fun with the frosting project.

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  11. http://luckylibbet.blogspot.com/search/label/Uniquely%20You

    My blog posts on Uniquely You. One can tell I don't update my blog anymore! Hope this helps, and if you need the carving knife just let me know. Heather

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    1. Thanks Heather! I think the foam on mine is too soft for the carving knife, but I was wondering about using something like strapping - your nylon strapping & hooks idea might come in handy!

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  12. it might be worth trying kenneth king's method, which i think he discusses in a threads article. basically, he makes a moulage cover for a dress form that you then pad out accordingly. he also discusses it in daughter fish's "thread cult" podcast.

    good luck!

    puu

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    1. Thanks puu! I'll look for those links :)

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  13. Lucky you! Why can't they make dress forms like that now?

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  14. Hi Jilly,
    I am including a link to a post I did about the Uniquely You dress forms. These are my favorite dress forms!

    http://villagedressmaker.blogspot.com/2012/12/great-dress-form.html

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  15. I think that you and Matilda are going to become very close friends:) I don't know how I could manage without a dressform.
    That portable phone in the ad looks like a record player. Wow, less than 50 years ago and no one then would have dreamed of all the things an Iphone can do today. Incredible.

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  16. This looks like a great find! I hope you succeed in cloning your form.

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  17. I think Matilda will be a good help in all your projects. Good luck with your new partner!

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  18. Waltzing Matilta. Glad you got to bring her home. She can be company for the Queen. I have 3 dress forms and two male forms from thrift stores - bargain prices all. Anyone who sew clothing needs at least one form.

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