Here’s something you don’t see every day. On a sewing blog.
I attempted to make a close-fitting model of myself, which to then carve up along the Six Napoleon seam lines into 9 pieces (five for bodice front and four for the back). The plan was to lay these long, narrow pieces flat on paper and trace around, also adding seam allowances and grainlines for an accurate bodice pattern.
In a method similar to making a duct tape dummy, I had my ‘husband’ wrap multiple layers of cheap industrial clingfilm (shrinkwrap) firmly around me into a kind of semi-rigid carapace. It’s the stuff used to wrap pallets.
At first I wanted just a kind of corset. The shoulder straps were added as an afterthought, the idea being that I’d get an accurate angle of the shoulder.
Unfortunately we got rather carried away and wrapped way too tightly!
As you can see from all the flesh squeezed out into my armpits and general resemblance to sausages.
Before the mummification, I’d put on a bra to give my bust the volume and support that I’d want while wearing the dress. I also wore one of those waist-trainers which I bought to wear under my wedding dress. It reduces my waist by 1-2 cm. The corseting took off another 3!
There’s something fascinating about feeling yourself becoming smaller and… plastic. I enjoyed smoothing each new layer around me as I twirled around. My husband drew a line down the side, roughly representative of a side seam, and the warp was then slowly and carefully cut along this mark whereupon my flesh spilled out of its casing like a hot haggis.
But the clingfilm form is too small to be of use. The inner layers are less rigid than the outer ones and after releasing they pull a little, shrinking. But had my husband not then gone to France (screaming into the distance), I’d have given this another go as I believe it could work with more layers and aiming for snugness rather than tightness.
This is probably not something any right-thinking person would do, but for the rest of you who might here are some tips:
- Be careful. Don’t attempt to do this on yourself or you might have to offer an embarrassing explanation down the Accident & Emergency Ward. Get a well-briefed friend to help you!
- Don’t rush it or you might fall over. The process took some twenty minutes starting with my husband walking around me, till he got dizzy. He sat down and instead I slowly rotated on the spot in front of him till I got dizzy. But I couldn’t sit down!
- Wear a swimming costume or leotard with a side seam to give your friend an indication of where the cutting line should be. For a balanced bodice, draw on both sides before cutting as it will be difficult to know where the opposite side seam is once the form is off.
- Snip carefully.
- When binding, don’t pull too tight above the midriff.
- Post update Official: it’s not just nutters who do this. Fashion Incubator – who is a clothes-manufacturing industry professional and extremely experienced – did a similar experiment. Check out the post here. There’s good advice in the comments too. Thanks to Pella for the tip!