There’s a new resident in the Vita household:
Her name is Doris and she’ll be helping me out with my sewing, and perhaps blogging too.
She’s a tough old bird, from the 50s or 60s. I found her through preloved.co.uk – which is a more civilised version of ebay, gumtree or craigslist, just for second-hand furniture. I’ve been a long-term lurker there but never actually pulled the trigger.
Here’s the advert:
(Doris would like to apologise for the nude shots, ha)
And here are her close ups (taken from the ad):
Isn’t she lovely? Before we went to pick her up, I offered the seller £50, and she countered with £55. I was happy with this as I’ve seen this exact model go for over a hundred on ebay etc (this one was £220). Plus, these totally unadjustable polystyrene shop dummies are £40 (before postage). So I was happy with the cost and happy that, because she’s vintage, she looks good just hanging out in our living room when she’s not in use. I was going to make a cheapie gum tape dress form, but we don’t really have anywhere to store something like that.
The lady we picked her up from was lovely. She’s belonged to her mother-in-law, but she didn’t think it had been used in at least thirty years. It was the lady that called her Doris, but I like it enough to keep it. I like my things to come with a bit of history.
Her bust is a little smaller than mine, but my bust is big for my frame, so I think we’re going to get along just fine. I’ve read a few tutorials (one, two, three) for how to pad a dress form and will post my own thoughts once I’ve done it. Ideally I want to make a padded cover that zips on and off so that my mum and Mr V’s mum can use it too.
And, because I couldn’t find this information anywhere by googling, in case you’ve come here looking for how to adjust a chil-daw pioneer mannequin (I’ll try to get around to doing a whole post with pictures one day, for those three people in the world who might want it).
1) Reach inside and loosen all the wingnuts (they look like this) that are holding the horizontal plates together (there are four that help attach the form to the pole, ignore those!). Some WD-40 might help if they’re stiff.
2) Turn the dials where you want to adjust. Down makes it bigger. Ditto on the WD-40
3) Once you’ve got the size you’re after, re-tighten the wingnuts for stability.
4) Compare measurements and turn to the tutorials I linked to above to pad the rest.
So that’s my new dress form! (and my lovely vintage plaid dress from Vintage-on-Sea, Whitstable. When she’s not helping me sew, I thought Doris could help me out with some outfit posts from time to time, since I love all my clothes but have no interest in being a fashion blogger!
On the subject of sewing, I thought I’d update you on the progress with my Cambie dress. I spent a weekend fiendishly sewing and got the outer dress all finished (zipper and everything!) (sleeves don’t get finished yet so ignore those), but when I tried it on it looked awful.
See? (It looked way worse in real life – I think this picture might be after mum and I pinned out some excess). It’s all my fault – I sewed the size that would fit my bust, but I should have fit it everywhere else and then adjusted for my bust. I felt so deflated that I needed a bit of a break before tackling how to make it fit properly, and then life got a bit crazy (Mr V and I can’t remember the last weekend we spent at home – it was sometime in May I think) so progress has stalled. It’s a lovely pattern and the instructions are great. Once life calms down, and with a bit of help from Doris, I should have it finished soon.