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Making a Personal Dressmaker's Bodyform (Dummy)
2 people
2 rolls of Duct Tape
1 disposable t-shirt
Piece of cardboard (top of pizza box works well)
1) Have the person who wants to make the form after their own body shape put their corset on, lace it up to where they normally wear it. Put the disposable t-shirt on. (Make sure t-shirt is close to fit, nothing baggy).
2) Second person (the wrapper) will take the Duct tape and begin to tightly wrap the person wearing the t-shirt in stripes of tape. Place tape directly onto the t-shirt. Cover entire t-shirt with at least 2 layers of tape for sturdiness. (Wrap like a mummy)
3) Once person's t-shirt is covered in Duct tape, have the wrapper carefully cut a straight line up the back of the t-shirt to free the person. Be careful not to cut the corset or bra that the person is wearing. The t-shirt should come off and make a shirt shell. (This is why you need a disposable t-shirt as you will not be able to wear this t-shirt ever again).
4) Once the shell (the wrapped t-shirt) has been cut up the back and the person removed from it, tape the shirt back together along the line you cut to free the person. Tape both inside and outside the cut line to insure it stays together. Also, tape the armpit holes shut and the neckhole shut with a few layers of tape.
5) Now fill the t-shirt shell with newspaper wads tightly, packing them in.  You want the shell to be solid and not have any soft spots. Remember this is supposed to be a duplicate of your actual bodyform.
6) Once shell is filled with newspaper, cut cardboard piece to fit the bottom of the shell. This will form a smooth bottom and allow the dressform (dummy) to stand on its own. Be sure to tape the bottom into place and cover it with tape to insure the bottom does not come out.
7) You now have a dress form that is as close to your actual body size as you will get while wearing a corset. Use it to fit your dress bodice's to the dummy so you do not have to pin and hem while wearing it yourself. It makes things a lot easier to see whether the bodice is going to fit correctly and how it will look if it were on you.
This is much easier and cheaper than spending $100 bucks on a professional dressmaker's form at the fabric store that you have to constantly measure your bust, waist, and hips to get the form to be accurate.



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Sewing Definitions:

Alteration - Changes made to chnage the fit of a garment.

Baste - a method of temporarily joining fabric using large stitches which are easily removed. 

Bias Tape - strips of fabric which are cut from the bias of the fabric .. usually folded on two edges and sometimes folded again for edging... the bias allows it to smoothly follow curves.

Clean Finish - stitch 1/4" from the edge and press to wrong side. If the raw edge will not be stitched down in another step, stitch down.

Contour - with a curve - for example: a pattern may be described as having a contour waistline. This means that the waistband is cut on a curve verses cut out as a straight band. This usually lends it self to a better fit.

Directional Stitching - Stitching in a particular direction to maintain pattern shapes

Ease - a way of making one piece of fabric fit on to another by evenly pulling in the extra fabric with out making any gathers or tucks in the larger piece of fabric .. this is necessary in may areas of garments in order to have proper fitting and ease of movement in the finished garment.

Edgestitching — A row of stitching that appears on the very edge of a garment, normaly 1/8” or less from a seamline, foldline or finished edge. Thread matches the fabric color. Fabric diagonals - A fabric that is printed on a diagonal, many patterns state "not suitable for diagonal fabrics, this is means that due to the pattern design it will be impossible to match diagonal prints or designs.

Flat Felled Seam - a very durable seam, usually seen on jeans.

French Seam - A seam which is completely enclosed

Gather -- a method of pulling fabric together to create fullness.

Grainline - refers to the way the threads make up the fabric.

Grade Seam - trim one layer of the seam allowance shorter then the other layer to eliminate bulk. For example: a facing seam allowance would be trimmed shorter on facing part of the allowance and longer on the body seam allowance.

Hair Canvas - a form of interfacing - high quality which lends itself to molding for areas such as firm blazer rolled collars. Hair canvas is a woven interfacing available at any quality fabric store.

Moderate Stretch Knit - usually found in the suggested fabrics area on a pattern envelope. There is usually a ruler type diagram on the same envelope which demonstrates the amount of stretch the fabric will need to have. For example: A lycra spandex fabric in comparison to a tee shirt type knit.

Notch - A small cut into the seam allowance which will allow fabric to bend at curves and corners.

Pattern Layout - directions for the way to lay out a pattern

Pile - the nap of the fabric - when the fabric is brushed in one direction it looks like a different color - velvet and corduroy are classic examples. Lay all pattern pieces so that the pile is going in it's natural direction... for example... the down pile would be down the leg. - refers to laundering the fabric before you begin cutting or sewing.

Rolled Hem - 1. fold raw edge under 1/8 to1/4" and then 1/8 to 1/4" again, enclosing raw edge. Topstitch to hold hem. 2. A serger stitch which rolls the fabric and encloses the edge with thread.

Satin Stitch - A zig zag stitch with a shortened stitch length to create stitches that look horizontal to each other.

Selvage - the edge of raw fabric which is unable to fray... usually has company info +/or color matching dots.

Seam Allowance - the area of fabric that is between the seam stitching and the cut edge

Separating zipper - A zipper which completely separates, such as for a jacket or sweater. The bottom of the zipper has metal tabs for starting the pull, while a regular zipper it clamped together to not separate.

Staystitching - Stitching done to stabilize fabric and helps pieces fit together even after handeling.

Stitch In The Ditch - a method of understitching - press seam allowances to one side and top stitch as close to the seam as you can to hold the seam allowance down and cause the piece of fabric to stay folded under. For example: When you are attaching a facing, if you stitch in the ditch on the facing side of the seam, the facing will stay turned into the garment and give you a clean edge.

Top Stitch - A row of stitching, visible on the finished product. Can be functional or decorative.

Understitching - Stitching done very close to the seam line, sometimes refered to as "stitch in the ditch".


Fabric University Sewing Definitions

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