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 Jaycotts.co.uk 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, click here for details. 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?