Saturday, October 22, 2011

An Introduction: Helen, a Sew Perfect Dressmaker's Friend

First, this is the medium model, but she's almost too big for me. I'm 5'8" & a size 8 or 10 (in modern sizes; probably 12-14 in old sizes) and I had to put all the dials to the smallest possible to get her to fit into my Route 66 dress. I decided that making her fit that dress, which fits me well, would be a good way to adjust my new dressmaker's friend (or, my imaginary friend!) without help from another seamstress.

I named her Helen.  Now I know Tilly doesn't approve, but I kept calling her a 'she,' and since I've decided she's a dressmaker's friend (not dummy) I really needed to name her.  I told a friend at work & she said, "Well, give her a name of a guardian angel so she will be a protective force & won't go around killing people after dark." Great idea!  I named her Helen...which was my grandma's name.  My grandmother sewed a little, but quilted a lot & was great fun to have around, so it's a perfect name for my new friend.

You can see that pattern 7501 (Simplicity) size 44 fits her pretty well, but I did have to make some adjustments w/ the darts & waist.  But I'm stuck on the armholes.  See how they do not seem to lay right?  Is that okay?  I will definitely make a toile/muslin (they are the same thing, right?!) for the bodice of this dress as a test...

I did a bit more adjusting and believe I got the sleeve right.  I took off the front pattern piece & marked all the adjustments on it, and will definitely cut it out & try it with fabric before I go any further.

A question, though.  With these fake bodices, do you put in a zipper, or buttons? How do you know it truly fits if you don't put the fasteners on it?!  Thanks...

And finally, we are having a bed/bath added to our new home, so there are lots of contracting-type gentlemen tramping around our house, both inside & out.  The first day I left her unclothed!  I bet I scared a few of those guys!  So I put my old hapi coat on her--I guess I learned more about modesty than I realized, living in the middle east for so long!


  1. I'm afraid I don't know the answer to your fitting-on-Helen questions, but thought it was funny that the workmen got to see your undies (until you covered up!)

  2. I was really quite chagrined when I realized they'd seen Helen...but I think it wasn't that they'd seen her, but my bra!

    Tilly wrote back about the fitting questions; well, one, anyway: don't use zippers or buttons for a muslin, just pins. I also found some websites for help w/ the armhole & am following the advice. First, just make a few changes on the first pattern (so I moved the angle of a few darts, and added one, which I've put on this first draft). But I might have to add a pin-tuck & a few pleats, so I'll add those after I see how much the darts help. In other words, don't put all your changes on the first draft. Do a few drafts, making a few changes at a time, so by the end you have the perfect fit!

    Does that make sense, SBT?

  3. Hahaha I think I'm the only person who hasn't named her dress form! Lovely idea naming her after your grandmother. x


You don't have to say you love me...