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tailoring Uniquely You

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Hey peeps,

I’ve noticed on my Google analytics stats that my Uniquely You posts have been getting a lot of hits lately. Yay! This is a shoutout to whomever is currently working on their Uniquely You dress form. Would you send me a picture when you’re done? I’d love to see how yours turned out. My email is hoopesparkstudios [at] gmail [dot] com.

In other news, I made a button for the Uniquely You sew along! The code is in the blog’s side bar. If you’re following the sew along and have a blog, then I made this button for YOU. You can add the button to your side bar by copying and pasting the code into a widget (in WordPress) or a gadget (in Blogger) in your side bar. Spread the word and help more people figure out how to tailor Uniquely You.

Thanks!

Love,

Claire

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Well, it has been a long time coming, but I’m pleased to be posting my last post on fitting my Uniquely You dress form.

*Pause for victory dance*

So here we are.

Where I left off last post I had finished fitting the top of the dress form. This post is long and picture heavy. Let me know if you have any additional questions.

Step 7: Fit the bootie

And fit it we did. I knew that this part of the cover would be the tightest, because my hip/butt measurement was the biggest size listed for the size 4 cover. At this point, all the seams except the center front and center back seams were open from waist down. First order of business was to pin those open seams back together.

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Once I had the cover zipped on, mom (what a trooper!) carefully pinned, starting at the waist, moving down to the hem. I turned round and round, and she put a few pins at a time in each seam. It took almost 30 minutes. Every few pins, she would inspect to make sure the seams hung perpendicular to the floor. I kept track of what she was doing in the mirror.

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Here I am with all the pins in:

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Then I transferred pins and sewed along the seams. In case you’re having trouble doing this, I wrote a tutorial on it here.

I tried it on again, marked where I needed to make adjustments:

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Tried it on again, adjusted, etc. Until it fit.

We were very meticulous about fitting the cover exactly to my torso, but we couldn’t quite get rid of all those little wrinkles around my belly and thighs. The cover didn’t pull at all- in fact it did fit like a second skin. After trying and trying different ways to pin and sew the front seams to get rid of the wrinkles, we gave up. We decided that the little wrinkles were an occupational hazard of making something flat (fabric) fit something round (me).

Next, the instructions say to trim seam allowances to 3/4 inch and clip seams at the waistline. I did not trim the seam allowances, and I only clipped the seams a little (skipping this didn’t seem to make a big difference in how the cover fit on the foam form, and I want to have the option to let out the seams if I gain weight in the future).

The last part of step 7 is to mark the waistline and shoulder seams:

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20140223-181631.jpgI wrapped a tape measure around my waist and used a yellow fabric marker to mark above and below. I chose yellow because I didn’t want the lines to jump out too much when looking at the dress form.

The next instructions were a little confusing- they say “mark the armhole at the set-in sleeve line, starting where the shoulder and upper arm hinge…”

I wasn’t sure about all the “hinge” business so I just marked where the shoulder seam would be on a tailored shirt. Again, I used a yellow marker, so it is a little hard to see. It helped to mark with chalk before using the marker.20140223-181736.jpg

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OMG IT FITS THE FITTING IS DONE HALLELEUJAH JOY

Step 8: Hey pal, ready for me to zip this on you?

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To put the cover on the foam form, first tie the strings loosely through the holes in the front of the cover, then ease the shoulders of the cover over the shoulders of the form. The first time I tried it, it looked like this:20140223-181859.jpg

Major pulling on the front of the cover. There was no way that the cover was going to zip over those torpedo boobs without ripping. So, taking a cue from Shona Stitches, I sculpted some new bosoms.

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I used scissors to cut a little bit at a time off of the foam form till I achieved the desired shape. I kept measuring the bust circumference and trying on the cover periodically till I was able to zip it on.

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Make sure the center front seam is straight as you press the foam down and zip the cover on. You may need an extra pair of hands of this.  Then adjust the cover on the foam lady by pushing your hands through the armholes, etc.

LAST STEP Step 9: adjust measurements

The foam pushes on the cover once you have zipped it on, making it expand. The last step is to adjust the dress form’s measurements so they match yours. The instructions include a handy table in step 9, but if you are having trouble with this I have included some examples.

1) Measure your bust, waist and hips. Do the same for the dress form with the cover zipped on.

Example: My measurements were 35-26-36. The dress form’s measurements were 36-27-37

2) Subtract your measurements from the form’s measurements to get the difference

Example: 36 inches – 35 inches = 1 inch. There is a 1 inch difference between my measurements and the form’s measurements

3) Divide this number by 4, then sew a new side seam with this seam allowance to make the cover more snug.

Example: 1 divided by 4 = 1/4 inch. I sewed a new side seam 1/4 inch away from the old side seam

When I did this, I ended up needing to cut off even more of the foam from the bust. I also cut some foam off of the the back, right under where the shoulder blades would be on a person. I did this to make the dress form’s rib cage measurement match mine (because my rib cage measurement was smaller than the form’s rib cage).

Zip the cover back on the form, re take measurements, and adjust as necessary.

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Folks, that is it.

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We may not have the same profile, but we have the same measurements!20140223-182754.jpg 20140223-182749.jpg

I hope that these posts have helped you fit your Uniquely You dress form. I have had a lot of fun working on the form and writing about it. Thanks for reading. Good luck to everyone working on their own dress form.

Mom, thank you SO much for your help finishing this! I could not have done it without your extra pair of hands.

*Update 4/13/2014*
Here is a blog button to add to your blog if you are also working on your dress form and want to share!
uniquely you button

Copy and paste this code into a widget (for WordPress) or gadge (for Blogger) on your side bar. Thanks for sewing along.

<img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-1887″ src=”https://hoopesparkstudios.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/uniquely-you-button.jpg” alt=”uniquely you button” width=”215″ height=”216″ />

As I have worked my way through tailoring my Uniquely You dress form, I have had to do a lot of pinning. All those pins need to translate into accurate seam lines. I have had some trouble finding instructions on how to transfer pin lines into seams, so I thought I’d include an addendum to my tailoring posts on the subject. Hope it helps everyone who is working on their dress form.

So I start off with a line of pins. Here is the front and back.

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After *carefully* removing the garment, I mark where the pins are with chalk.
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I also mark how the edges of the fabric line up with chalk.

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Then I unpin.

Next, I flip the fabric so the right sides are together.  I match up the fabric edges on the line I drew and pin the pieces of fabric together.

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It is faint, but the chalk marks are visible through the fabric. I transfer these marks to the other side of the fabric by marking where I see them with chalk. You can faintly see the chalk mark in this picture next to my thumb, below the blue pin.

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I connect the dots and sew along the chalk line.

A good way to double check that your seam is in the correct place is if some chalk sticks out from the seam when opened up. The amount of chalk showing should be about even along the whole seam.

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This has worked out well for me so far. As long as I am meticulous throughout this process, the seam line is accurate. Once in a while I need to adjust the seam line a little, but that has been a rare occurrence so far.

Happy sewing!

Hi again friends. Sorry this post is quite a bit later than originally anticipated, but here it is!

And since you are all probably sick of (or will soon be) seeing these posts covered in pictures in taupe and beige and neutral colors, here is something a little more colorful to start.

steps 6 and 7

Where we left off last time I had just about finished fitting the bust. This has been the trickiest part so far (you can see my previous posts on steps 1 and 2 here, and steps 3 and 4 here).

Step 5: Clip the seams along the side front seams perpendicular to the stitching line at 2 inch intervals. Don’t clip all the way to the stitching, just enough to allow the fabric to open up some and let the seam curve naturally. The point of this is to keep the extra fabric in the seam allowance from pulling on the seam and changing the shape of the dress form.

Next, it’s dart time again! Took me a couple tries to get this one right.

First, put on the cover. Side seams are still pinned. Mark the crease under your breasts and the highest spot in between.

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I was worried that this dart would take in too much fabric and change the shape of the bust fitting, but my worries were unfounded. I tried putting the dart in an inch lower than the instructions say, but that was a bad idea. I ripped it out and did it the right way.

Transfer the chalk markings to the inside of the cover. Fold from one mark to another. My fold ran slightly “uphill” and then “downhill” again. You can see how the fold runs across the grain of the fabric. This is fine. Sew your dart as normal and it will turn out well.

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I drew a line, and sewed along it to make the dart. Here it is sewed, on me.

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“If the armhole stands away from the body, fit with a dart toward the bust point…”

My armhole was fine so I skipped this.

Step 6: Upper back and shoulders (again)

Put the cover back on. Side seams are still only pinned together. The instructions say to take in or release side back seams to follow the contour of the back exactly. Only do this ABOVE your natural waist. So, just like I did for the area above the bust in my last post, I ripped out the side seams and re pinned them to exactly fit the contour of my back. Rather, my mom re pinned them since I couldn’t really reach. The chalk lines in this picture mark where the cover went from snug to loosely fitting. I ripped the seam using these marks as outer boundaries.

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Then I transferred pins and sewed the seams.

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Next, the instructions recommend making some darts from the armhole pointing toward the spine if the armhole stands away from your body. I didn’t have this problem, so no darts here.

The instructions also say to re check and adjust the seams as much as needed to get a smooth fit in the upper back. I did have to do this. Make sure the seams run relatively perpendicular to the floor.

I know it doesn’t look like much of a change, but taking in the back seams made a huge difference in the fit. Make sure you get this right.

Last part of step 6 is to re-fit the shoulder seams. If the seam is not at the shoulder center, rip it out and re sew it. The seam should run along the very top of your shoulder from the middle of your neck (when you look at it sideways) to the top of your arm. It should look like this. The middle point of my shoulder is at the bony prominence.

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You really want to make sure that your side seams are pinned correctly before messing with the shoulders. I would recommend fitting the side seams as if you were planning to sew them (because that is the first part of step 7).  I had my side seams pinned a little funny, which messed up the shoulders (one ended too far back on my arm). When I fixed the side seams, the shoulders seams magically ran right where I wanted them to.

Here is what I have so far.

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Oh em gee folks! We’re almost done with the cover. All that is left is fitting the bottom half, marking the cover and zipping it on the foam lady. Bet I can finish it up in one more post. Thanks for reading!

Here is the second post in my Uniquely You dress form saga!
Where I left off last post, I had just finished putting darts in the side front and back panels of the dress form cover. I had also fit the neck and shoulders. In steps 3 and 4, I fit the upper torso and bust. I needed an extra pair of hands for all the pinning. I also chose my bra carefully, and wore the bra that I usually wear while pin fitting the cover.

Step 3:
First you put on the cover, with the side seams still open. Then, pin the side seams, from the waist up to the underarm. On me, the side seams barely met below the bust. The instructions say to release the side front and side back seams if this is the case. I let out the side front and side back seams about an inch each, below the bust only. After I ripped the seams from just under the bust down to the bottom of the cover, I re-sewed the seam from under the bust to the natural waistline.

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Step 4: the bust!
The first instruction in step 4 is to make sure the front seams cross the bust points. It says to adjust the seams if they do not cross the bust points. I skipped this, because it mentions a good way to do this later on in the instructions.*
Next it says to pin the side front seams between the bust point and shoulder. You follow the hollow of the upper chest to make the cover fit the top of the bust. I ripped these seams open and re pinned them. *This is also where I adjusted the seams to cross the bust points. Again, we are working on the side front seams here.

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The pinning was so specific that I was afraid to flip the pins to the other side without losing some of the shape. I topstitched the seam close to the edge to keep the shape as much as possible.

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Next, it says to “nip in tightly under the bust” and pin the underside of the bust. The cover fit me pretty well here, so I just made a small adjustment under the bust. You can see in the picture below that I marked with pins the area that did not fit tightly. I made a little dart to remedy this.

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If the seams do not meet under the arm, let out the shoulder seam a little. I didn’t have a problem with this, so I moved to the next part.

After sewing all the seams you pinned, try on the cover again to check the fit. Re pin the side seams while the cover is on. You are making sure that:
– The seams hang perpendicular to the ground, and are not slanted or pulling to one side
– There is no “pinching, drawing, or compression of the bust and chest” either in the front or the back.
– The cover fits right over your bra, like a second skin
– The seams match up under your arms and the shoulders still fit well

Here is my fit test:

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What do you think?

The last part of step 4 is to dart out any remaining fullness in the bust. The instructions recommend this for most busts larger than a size C. I am a DD, but I didn’t need to deepen or add any darts to the bust to get the cover to fit.

Check back later this month for step 5, where I finish the bust fitting, and step 6, where I fit the back of the cover. Thank you to those of you who have commented to keep me motivated on this project!

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I bought a dress form!

It’s a Uniquely You dress form. It comes with a “foam lady” inside and a cover. You tailor the cover to fit you, and then zip it over the foam, which fills the cover to be just your size. I did a lot of research on dress forms and I thought it was so super cool when I saw it. It is the only dress form I found that you can really customize.

*Update 2/20/14* I ordered a size small dress form and a size 4 cover.

I watched this video on youtube, by Shona of Shona Stitches, which chronicles her experience tailoring the cover to fit her. She is so cute. What is it about redheaded bloggers that make them so photogenic?

So here is me unpacking the box:

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Look at those funny torpedo boobs!

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And these are the instructions:

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I FREAKED out when I first tried on the cover, because no way Jose was it going to zip over my round behind. But then I took it off and looked at the inside. Duh, Claire. There is a lot of extra fabric on the inside of the cover that can be let out to make it bigger.

extra fabric

inside of cover- huge seam allowances

So then I read through the instructions. Step 1 basically has you rip open the sides and fit the shoulders. I ripped the shoulder seam about an inch and a half from the neck on each side, and then pinned and re-sewed it. You can see the original seam line in the picture below. I only had to move the seam over about 1 cm, but it made a huge difference in the fit.

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Both shoulders pinned:photo 1

Right shoulder sewn:photo 3

Left shoulder sewn: photo 4

Step 2 has you mark your natural waist (the smallest part of your torso), and then make a vertical dart 6 inches in length. I needed an extra hand to mark my waist, because every time I lifted my arms to make the mark, the cover rose up with my shoulders, and the mark on the waist was off.

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So then I transferred the mark to the middle of the panel:

I measured from the side seam line (where I ripped it apart) to the other edge of the front side panel (where it is still sewn together). At the intersection halfway between those and at my natural waist (does that make sense?) was where I put the middle of the dart.

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Making the dart:

I folded the fabric vertically, right sides together, and pinned it so it wouldn’t move. Then I drew where I was going to sew the dart.

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To clarify what I did, the instructions say, “Make a vertical dart in each of the marked panels. To make the darts, fold the material lengthwise through the center of the side front and side back panels. Starting at nothing at the upper pin [3″ from the waistline], deepen dart to 1/4″ at the waist and end at nothing 3″ below the waist (lower pin).”

Here is the cover pre/post dart making. I made darts in all four side panels (left and right front and back), but this picture just shows the dart in the left side.

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Phew. And I think those were the shortest steps of the whole fitting process… should be an adventure getting to the finish line! Follow along as I continue working on my Uniquely You dress form.

*Update 4/13/2014*
Here is a blog button to add to your blog if you are also working on your dress form and want to share!
uniquely you button

Copy and paste this code into a widget (for WordPress) or gadge (for Blogger) on your side bar.

<img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-1887″ src=”https://hoopesparkstudios.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/uniquely-you-button.jpg” alt=”uniquely you button” width=”215″ height=”216″ />