My latest knitted finished object is the Hitchhiker shawlette, finally complete and ready to wear. If you’ve read the blog and listened to the podcast, you’re already familiar with this little darlin’s epic journey, so I’m taking this opportunity to share the full story on another project that, while not strictly knitting, is knitting-related, and that’s recovering my dress form so I have something pretty on which to take pictures of my finished objects!
Last year, I picked up two dress forms on a yard sale site for $25. One of them I plan to pad to fit my measurements, which are not, shockingly, the mannequin default. That’s the one I’m going to use for fittings. The other, though, I decided to leave in all its whackadoodle Barbie-esque proportional glory as a frame for shawls and scarves and such. Both, however, need to be recovered first. They’re a little rough.
This is Barbie’s story.
I recovered my knitting form using an easy tutorial online at Flossie Teacakes. I started by shopping for the stretchiest fabric I could find. My dress forms live on a bookcase situated in prime living space, so I ended up with a fun robin’s egg blue Spandex blend that would blend with the “bright pops of color” decorating scheme of my craft area.
The tutorial instructions were very clear. I started by sewing a narrow tube that would stretch as it went on the mannequin and cling to its curves. Then I tried it on Barbie wrong-side-out and marked the locations of her shoulders and neck stump. More sewing, more fitting. Stretch and staple the open bottom of the tube so that it stays in place. Voila! Done!
Of course, it wasn’t quite so easy as that. My dress forms are old, and when I removed Barbie’s old cover, her neck crumbled a bit. I repaired it with glue and duct tape and tried to think of movies about friendly zombies (like the buddy in Shaun of the Dead. He was okay!) that frame decay in a positive light. Thankfully, she pulled through surgery with no complications.
Also, I’ve never sewn a knit or stretch fabric before, and it does seem like something I’m going to need to practice. I used a stretchy zigzag stitch and sewed a test swatch first, but the number of times I tried my cover on the mannequin and pulled it back off again taxed my first try at seams to their limits. I had to repair and reinforce a few. I would recommend using a sturdier fabric for a truly removable cover.
So you’ll probably see Barbie a lot going forward as she starts her career as a premier headless fashion model for knitwear, and hopefully you’ll meet her sister soon, too, but first I have to wrap sis in enough batting that she looks like someone who enjoys ravioli. Soon! Really.
Crap. Now all I can think about is ravioli…