Did I ever tell you about the¬†time I performed a resurrection? Oh no? Well, this is it. What do you with that once faithful friend¬†who after more than a decade of neglect, you suddenly decide you need, only to discover that because you relegated her to that friendless zone of ‘got-no-time-for-hobbies-now-work-obsessed’ uselessness, she is shall we say, less than match fit. All that time languishing in¬†various dark and dank corners have taken their toll and she is looking a bit haggard.

Venus
This is how Venus used to look. What she looks like now will astound you!

I needed my old friend and¬†I needed her¬†soon and I couldn’t replace her so that left only one thing. She needed a makeover, pronto!

The very first problem was that she was a little legless, not the “had too much partying” type of legless that usually describes me at this time of year but literally legless. I couldn’t find two of her four legs and so she couldn’t stand up unaided. I spent a lot of time thinking she was deep in the dark recesses of what remains of my loft space which could only be accessed by crawling into the claustrophobia-inducing little hole¬†which lurks in the eaves of the house in our converted loft/attic space. I have done this once when stuffing boxes¬†in and I am really reluctant to do it again. While I’m not exactly afraid of spiders I don’t want to willingly enter their cobweb-sticky, dark and dusty domain – and you know, hair and stuff.

Finally while hunting for something else I found the missing feet in an entirely different long forgotten safe place and this then meant I revisited the forlorn mannequin. As you can see she was in a sorry state and as I really couldn’t afford to replace her I decided I had to perform a resurrection.

My mannequin is an Adjust-o-form Venus model meaning you can tweak it to fit your size; also meaning she can be used to fit more than one person but on closer inspection, I found that a couple of the adjusting dials were missing so immediately there was an issue I had no means of fixing. More immediately though she was very ragged.

raggedy-venus
Venus needs some TLC urgently.

First hurdle – the cover – I thought she was just a bit dusty but while brushing at the ‘dusty’ covering I found that the fabric was in fact disintegrating. The mannequin is covered in foam backed fabric and the foam had rotted and disintegrated into a fine black dust so that when I¬†brushed the fabric,¬†it separated¬†from the body and when I tugged it to investigate the extent of the problem it just came away depositing this dust everywhere. OK, I thought I’ll remove it. This is when I found that the only thing holding it in place was the cap on the neck which was also in a state of disintegration.

The first thing I had to figure out was what to cover her with. Googling produced a few suppliers of stretch covers but I thought that if I spent what they were asking for I¬†might as well buy a new dressform. ¬†This brought me back to my original dilemma. I¬†can’t afford to buy a new form. This brought me to think I could make my own Lycra cover, then I realised that this would render¬†the adjustable dials inaccessible so I thought about all the fabrics I had in the stash and decided that I couldn’t use any of them. ¬†I¬†came to the conclusion that the cover would have to be stuck to the dress form as the original had been,¬†leaving the dials and openings available for adjustment as intended.

Back to Google then, while searching for foam backed fabric I landed on a site that sold the material that is used to line car interiors, you know that stuff that covers the roof of the cab. This kind of looked right and so I ordered some. I went for a metre as at the width given I thought there would be enough and as it turns out I have plenty to spare.

That web site cost me a couple of hours as there were so many cool fabrics there that my mind went into a ‘what can I make with these’ spin. You know what I’m talking about. There will be waterproof, outdoor, utilitarian makings in the pipeline. However back to the task at hand.

It took me a while to figure out but as the fabric has a little give I felt the best way to make it was to draw a pattern directly from the dress form itself and stick the fabric on. Easy… right?

Watch this space to see how Venus returns to the land of the sewing.

2 thoughts on “Resurrection and revamping: the mannequin dossier – part one.

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