As I was padding out my dress form, Fergie was playing on a loop in my head. “My hump, my hump…”
The first step when learning draping is making sure your dress form matches your measurements as closely as possible…It will never totally mimic the female form, because we are made of flesh and fat and muscles and bones…maybe a few rolls and dimples here and there. Definitely not stuffing, metal and canvas. But you can at least get close enough to get a good amount of design done on the form, and then do very specific fitting alterations on your actual body.
I researched how to properly pad out my form, since from the waist down I’m bigger than it is. (The fabulous news is that because I have a form that’s a size smaller than me in the waist and hip, most of the other measurements that make me a petite actually match up! Shoulder measurements, neck to bust apex, apex to apex, apex to waist, back measurements, etc. Yay!!!) But, as it typically goes with me, I ended up totally going off book and winging it. Mostly because I accidentally ordered the wrong kind of batting. Oops. But in the end I actually think my made-up method turned out better than examples I saw online of the “correct” way of doing things!
I needed to add about an inch to the waist measurement, and an inch to the hip/buttock measurement as well. But I needed the extra inch to be added only to the front of the waist, to mimic my slight pooch, as opposed to all the way around, and for the hip area I only needed to add padding on the sides of the hips and to the buttocks. Not the front of the hip area.
This is the batting I accidentally ordered:
It’s not so much a fluffy batting as it is a thick flannel sheet. Ugh. I knew that alone wasn’t gonna work, but I happened to have some of this fiberfill already on hand:
I decided to try to make it happen using a hodgepodge of the two. (Anyone else a little creeped out by the picture on that bag?)
The first order of business was to remove the waistline tape on the form, since I was gonna be covering it up. I had to pry out the tacks, which wasn’t easy, and I wasn’t totally convinced I’d even be able to get the tape back on there.
After futzing around for a while, humming about humps and lumps, I figured out that if I fluffed a handful of fiberfill and spread it over a section of the dress form, I could pin it on and fill out exact areas that needed extra mass. I smooched the fiberfill around until it was as smooth as I could get it, then cut strips of the batting sheet and very tightly stretched it over the form, trapping the fluffed fiberfill underneath. On areas of the form where it curves in toward the waist or out toward the buttocks, I cut separate strips of the sheet to make things easier on myself, butting them right up against each other. I used flat-head pins to attach the pieces of batting to the form, and hand stitched them together to close any gaps between them. When there were areas that needed “darts” pinched out of the batting sheet, I held the pinched out dart with one hand, cut the triangle of excess fabric right off with another hand, and hand-stitched the opening closed to make it flat.
Once I had everything as smooth as possible, I cut off the top of a flesh colored, stretchy camisole that I never wear. I used my serger to take in the side seams until it was a scandalously tight fit on the dress form, and then slid it down over the batting. This helped hold everything in place. I took measurements, and adjusted by stuffing more fiberfill under the sheet and smoothing, or removing a pinch and smoothing. When the measurements were perfect, I pinned the top of the camisole to the midsection of the form (putting the pins in an area where hopefully I won’t be doing a lot of pinning while draping garments), and then reattached the waist tape. (I had to use a hammer to get the tacks back in.) The waist tape wasn’t quite long enough to stretch around the enlarged waist, so I made sure to place the gap in a spot where I wouldn’t necessarily need the tape (I avoided putting the gap where a princess seam meets the waist, and also avoided center front or back). If I want, I can always fill in the the gap with draping tape later.
That’s it! She’s a little bit lumpy, but heck, aren’t we all?. 😉 And honestly, she’s a lot less lumpy than many that I’ve seen pictures of, so I’m totally happy with the results. If I ever decide to step up the ab work and lay off the bread, I can always remove some padding from the waistline. And I love that I didnt have to make a new cover for the entire form, because I don’t really like the cosmetics of that. Honestly, I was expecting my padded out form to be ugly but functional, but I think she looks pretty cute! A little skanky, in a “Ya know, sometimes tighter isn’t always better…” kinda way, but bless her heart. She loves her carbs.
And I’m really proud of how accurately the measurements correspond to my own. I knew I had gotten it right when my hubby walked around behind it and declared, “Yep! That’s your butt!”