Introducing Coraline

I think I mentioned a couple months ago that I picked up a second-hand dress form at an antique shop?  Well, when I bought her she looked like this:

Not so pretty, and the fabric oozed bits of filth whenever I touched it.  So I decided to recover her.  This ended up being quite a project: I tore off all the old fabric and scrubbed down the plastic pieces underneath.  Then I decided it would be easier to clean, and to recover, if I took it completely apart.  I wish I'd taken photos of this process!  Basically, I unscrewed all the dial mechanisms.  The knob at the "neck" of the form unscrews as well and that piece comes off, releasing the tops of the form sections.  The waist/hip sections are held to the stand with arch-shaped pieces of metal, which also unscrew.  So I was left with eight sections of dress form completely separate from their stand.


I used about a yard and a half of 99-cent polyester-blend fabric from Hancocks to recover.  I wasn't quite sure what to use to stick it on (the old fabric had been glued) but since I wasn't certain of what I was doing, I decided to use double-sided duct tape, as being easier to change if something went wrong.  I applied it along all the edges of the sections on the inside, and cut the fabric wide enough to wrap around to the back.  In retrospect this would have been easier if I'd used something like a jersey knit, with some stretch -- it was hard to get the woven fabric to lie smoothly over lumps and curves -- but it looks all right, I think.

This shows the inside view and the metal U-bends holding the lower pieces on.

The metal pieces holding the lower portion of the form to the stand were originally held in place with little brads - like those paper brads with the "wings", but much sturdier.  I tried to use paper brads to reproduce this effect but they weren't nearly strong enough to hold the weight, and kept falling out.  I contemplated either trying to find sturdier brads, or using little nuts and bolts, but a friend suggested (and donated) some sturdy wire and a pair of wire clippers, so I ended up using those.  Not perfect, but it holds!  I reassembled the form, screwing the dials back in through the fabric cover (this also helps hold everything in place) and putting the neck topper back on.  She's quite adjustable; the photos are of her smallest size (about a 23" waist and comparable bust and hip measurements); she also dials up to be slightly larger than I am.  Height is likewise adjustable, as is length of torso!


So here she is -- this is Coraline.  Not perfect, certainly, but for a total of about $30 I'm very pleased!

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