Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Evolution of Babs (and other things)

Before we get onto the subject of Babs I would like to say a huge thanks to those who voted for my red dress. I was surprised and thrilled to received 13 votes - I wasn't expecting one vote seeing as how there were so many beautiful dresses. I entered to challenge myself and am humbled to receive votes.

I have taken some photos of the evolution of Babs to show my family so I thought I would post the pics to show you as well. I haven't finished but she has already proved to be so helpful in pattern fitting, seeing how things go together and in showing how things will look.

This is her fresh out of the box.

As posted earlier I split her ribs to make her the largest size. On that topic let me say that I came across a comment when researching what dress form to go for. One person had said to buy a dress form where the smallest size of the form is closest to your size as you can not pin in the cracks at centre back and centre front once open. I ordered my dress form from "For Frocks Sake" and the lovely lady there told me to go for one smaller than my size as you can always pad up but if you lose weight the form would be useless.. So I took her advice and am very pleased I did. As for pinning in the cracks - even if you don't pad the form you can easily put a cheap t-shirt on it and that will allow you to put in pins.

I used both Wadding (2 packs - eek) purchased at Spotlight and padding I purchased in the Fabulous Fit System (FFS) and I am sorry to say - she is "starting to look a lot like....... me" :-(
Good for fitting - bad for self esteem - well at least I can't lie to myself!!

The first step I took was to wrap one layer of wadding around her and pull on the first of 2 covers that came with the FFS. Can I say that was a TIGHT fit. The XXL FFS goes to size 20 "up" but they couldn't tell me how far up the up went.... Anyway it went on and I smoothed out the wadding underneath then pulled the front up to replicate my tummy ....hmmmmm ... Phew - first layer..

I then rolled on the second cover (with the princess seams) and carefully put pads in all the right places.. even able to replicate the hump on the top of my back :-) :-( Happy I could do it - sad that I had to..... I added yet more wadding - more padding under arms, on sides, and top of stomach and then put on one of my old bras... ALL of the remaining padding and yet more wadding went into the bra and voila...

Here she is helping me with the lay of  Butterick Connie Crawford's 5430 . She was invaluable in helping me to work out how to put the yoke on the dress and seeing the fit.

By the way - you can see that I pinned one seam on the outside and one on the inside... didn't think much of it as I was only pinning to see the fit ....... but ....... I thought - hey it's pinned - I may as well sew - and of course sewed one side in and one side out - using the overlocker at that - spent quite some time with the unpicker!

There are big ripples showing on the back...

I don't know whether this needs to be adjusted on the pattern or on Babs - maybe she needs padding on the back. I have tried it on myself and the ripples are there on one side but not as bad. I ask myself - and anyone out there who knows - does Babs need more padding in the back or is it because I have arms that hold the dress up more? Any advice?.

The almost twins - I can see Babs is a bit taller than me and will adjust accordingly - this will bring her bust line down too.. Although the measurements are correct - it also looks like she may need a bit more padding too!

I still want to add another feature. I purchased some stretchy silky material used to make slips (not sure what it is called) I want to make another cover that shows the princess seams (the FFS seams are so tightly stretched they are not in the right place - and are covered by the industrial strength bra...) This will also enable the garments to slip on and off easier. I will also put where arm holes and necklines should be on this cover. I also purchased some ribbon tape with cm increments that I am going to sew onto the front and back centre seams and around the middle so that any pattern adjustments needed will be easy to measure... That is all for another day.

This weekend I am hoping to finish the Butterick 5430, hem another version of the Pamela's Patterns Magic not so pencil skirt to see how that goes and maybe even finish another skirt that I have cut - A Simplicity Khalia Ali pattern.

BTW - can anyone tell me why I am having problems with my blind hemming? The foot seems to work okay but leaves this pulling - the stitches seem to be a little too far into the hem?? Any advice? I am going to have to unpick and do by hand.

Next time I will have pics of the finished dress and skirt.

Until next time.....


  1. Babs is coming along nicely. I am yet to take mine out of the box. Have had an awful start to the year and all my good intentions were blown out of the water. Will be back on the radar soon. In order for Babs to work she must be your exact measurements, that means breaking your measurements down to halves (ie back and front) or even quarters (ie left/right front/back). I think you will need a patient friend/hubby to help. I know it took forever to pad out Pam Too (in its original form) and I suspect it will be same/same when I get to the new system. Good luck.

  2. I just love Babs - she is a real sewing beauty. With help from Babs, you will really sew up many an outfit together from now on.
    My poor nameless/shapeless 'dummy' is assembled, but missing all the little extra's that didn't come in the box (you know, the bits I have grown myself!!!) You have motivated me to not only name my poor lonely dummy, but to dress her (and pad her) up to become my twin. So, there is my first Easter holiday task on the list...

  3. I so wish I had a Babs. But seeing my double sitting in my sewing room is a bit daunting!

    That is a genius idea of putting the ribbon with measurements on her. Pure genius!

  4. Felicity gave you good advice. I may have to look at this fabulous fit system as I have the same dummy but cannot adjust mine to suit me exctly. However I have reached the stage I need to pull her in in someplaces and cannot go any smaller :(

  5. Your mannequin is looking great! and don't worry if it isn't exactly the same size. Mine is a tad big, which works well since I find if a garment is skin tight on my mannequin then it fits quite well on me and has breathing space.
    Thanks for your comment!

  6. I'm so jealous of you. My dummy Dot is of limited use as she's a bit bigger than me, doesn't stand straight and isn't pinnable. Still useful, but could be so much more .......... poor Dot, definately not living up to her full potential.

  7. BeaJay you did a wonderful job at adjusting Babs to your shape. I have attempted to do the same with my dress form, but I still have some way to go. I like your idea of covering the whole 'body' up with a slinky fabric so garments you are sewing are easier to put on the form. Thanks for your great post - I have learnt a lot!

  8. Great job on Babs - she'll be a great help to you. I think with the blind hem your machine is taking too big of a 'bite' into the fabric, try decreasing the width of the stitch. I find that I need to play around a bit with the settings each time I use mine because each fabric reacts to the blind hem foot so differently.

  9. That is fabulous you are getting Babs to work for you. I sure love my dress form but she doens't have a name yet. It is so nice to use for photos, so much easier than me getting dressed up, LOL and having to get someone else to take photos that I like. I have been able to try all of my patterns on it and it does save so much time with alterations. The over fabric on Babs looks great too, now she just needs clothes.


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