Dress dummy – take two

So ever since I got G. out of bed at the crack of stupid we’ve been discussing how to make the dress dummy better. And we’ve decided the best way to do that is to make a new one. Being nice and fresh this decision doesn’t rankle the way it did last night.  We’ve also learnt our lesson and gonna do a few things different this time:

  • NO BIN BAGS. I am wearing a nice old comfortable long sleeve shirt (although I’m feeling kinda sad about losing it). The only place there is gonna be saran wrap is my bottom and neck. But without it on my arms, it’s much easier to get off and much more comfortable for the duration of being taped up.
  • Pre cut the tape. We’ve cut a bunch of the tape to start with and while it’s nowhere near enough G. is going to stop every now and then to cut some more. We’ve also cut quite a few strips in half length ways. These narrow pieces are great for the curvy parts – especially chest, under and upper arms and neck.
  • Hands on hips! In an effort to make my shoulders more effective (?) I am going to try and keep my hands on my hips at all times!
  • Computer head height for film watching. No turning head or looking down. Stare straight ahead. Become fascinated and addicted to Black Mirror.
  • Pelvis forward. Huub, my yoga instructor, would be so pleased. In an effort to straighten my spine I’m gonna keep my pelvis forward. Hopefully this will also ensure my back isn’t sore at the end.
  • Slowing down. Last time it took us nearly two frustrating hours and it just didn’t quite work. But it still felt rushed, so this time we’re just gonna chill out (easier written prior to be  embalmed) and take our time.

With hind sight another thing we should have added to the list is MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH TAPE. Yes that’s right, we’ve committed the cardinal sin (oops initially wrote carnal – bloody dyslexics) of not being 100% prepared. See somewhere after the second layer of tape we realised … err … there wasn’t enough tape. Now given that we are making the second dummy because the first one wasn’t quite good enough, we weren’t willing to risk just having two layers of tape. So we agreed that G. would go in search of more duck tape. This sounds easy enough although perhaps a bit annoying, but when you consider it was after 6pm on Saturday, the chances  of finding an open shop were growing smaller and smaller.

Prior to going out G. spread stroopwafels on the desk and handed me the kitchen tongs. See because we were so much more thorough and I had held my arms in the correct position so well, I was actually unable to bring my hand to my mouth. So the tongs were for picking the stroopwafels up and bringing to my mouth. And scratching my forehead. And picking my mobile up. And attempting to press pause. G. though this was quite humorous and despite time being of the essence stopped to take numerous photographs of my efforts.

G. then went out on a quick recon mission: local hardware shop – shut, local stationary shop – shut, local Hema – run out of duck tape (suspicious that – I don’t even want to hazard a guess as to why everyone might need gaffa tape on a Saturday evening). He came back proposing to going to another Hema that should be open late and have tape. But he might be gone a while. Could I bare it? Well I decided at this point, it would be more irritating to not finish the dummy than it was to stand and watch another episode of Black Mirrors ( yes, I have now become totally addicted although highly disturbed). So off he went in search of duck tape. And I was left with the slight fear of what I would do should the Jehovah Witnesses come knocking – invite them in for tea? Or worse, there was a fire in the building – I think I would just climb into the bath tub and start praying.

By the time G. got back I had poked myself in the ear with the prongs, nearly broken my neck after my knees locked in an attempt to retrieve my mobile in Awkward Pose – Utkatasana and was onto my second episode of Black Mirror.  No duck tape, but we did have clear packing tape and some other kind of tape. Both of which worked a treat.

Finally the last pieces were applied and I was cut free – four hours later. And I sank happily to the floor as knee and elbow joints rejoiced! The long sleeve shirt, good posture and hands on hips I think made a real difference and thank the goddess for tongs.

But we’re not out of the woods yet. Still need to stuff and mount the old girl and then try on some dresses.

Last time we ran into some trouble with my stumpy little arms. Looking at this second one, I realised that as soon as the second skin is off your model the arm holes distort. Our task then is to fix this before we stuff her. So circumference of arms measured and according pieces of cardboard are cut, inserted and taped in place. Yes, this appears to be working and I can even recognise it as me.

Arm holes plugged, now it’s time to mount the beast (everyone always did say I had a tendency to be dramatic). Out with the old, in with the new. Our first attempt has been unceremoniously removed from her pillar and been gutted. The new me is then secured on a coat hanger, on the pole.

Now for the dreaded stuffing. This time however it went better than previously. There were several things that we did differently:

  • Instead of stuffing her lying on her back, I held her upside down why G. stuffed her. I also held the bottom of the form – pulling upwards, against the direction that G. was stuffing. This helped ensure that the shoulders didn’t become too bulky.
  • Use smaller handfuls of stuffing. By using more, smaller handfuls, we were better able to control the lumps and bumps.
  • Stopping to cop a feel repeatedly. We both paused often to feel for firmness and bulges.
  • Repeatedly turning it right way up to check alignment on role, re-situating as need be.
  • At the end, there seemed to be one small deflated area. Instead of removing bottom, plug as it were, G. suggested slashing a hole and stuffing the specific area. Against my better judgement, he did. And it worked. There I said it – you were right, I was wrong.

Final test – put on a few different dresses. It is looking waaaayyy better. The only small problem is that by having my hands on my hips my upper back is a wee bit smaller than in a normal posture. But I think the benefits of better shoulders out weight the negatives of a slightly smaller upper back – I’ll just have to take that into account when putting in zips etc.

Blimley, it appears that I have a proper dress model, bigger right boob and all.

Now on his little outing G. picked up some pretty looking tape that’s a mottled lilac that we’ll use to finish it.  Because he wasn’t sure I’d like it, he only got one role, so we’re not entirely finished yet, but close enough to give you a good preview! Not bad for a day’s work eh?


You can meet Mabel in a later post where she’s all dressed and ready to go.


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