Sewing Room Seamstress Mini Dress Form

Whenever I see an old wire seamstress dress form, I can’t help but imagine Coco Channel in vintage Paris…pinning her newest design to one of these forms.  I decided that I wanted a seamstress form for my craft room, as they are quintessential to sewing, a skill of which I’ve learned a bit about from my mother.

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Having never been to France, I figure that New Orleans is one of the next best things, so I like to imagine that I found this one at a second hand shop, just off Bourbon Street, in the French Quarter;  however, the truth be told, I made it myself, well, it’s a mini version, anyway.  If you have a piece of chicken wire, then you only need a few more items and you can make a seamstress mini dress form for your sewing or craft room.

sewing-craft-room-mini-seamstress-form

Here is what you need:

Chicken wire (poultry fence) 1-1/2’ x 2’

Wire cutters

Thin gauge 3-4 strips cut to about 3” each

Celluclay (or similar)

Craft paint in colors: raw umber, vanilla, orange, red, and copper

Teaspoon, or so baking soda

Standard paint brush

Spray primer (I used gray)

Buttons

Glue gun

 

form-chicken-wire

Roll up the piece of chicken wire into a tube shape and to about the size of the width of a wine bottle, give or take.  Make sure to that you have the exposed cut wire ends on the top and the bottom.  Also make sure that you wrap the chicken wire around twice.

Using wire cutters, cut the edges of the chicken wire lengthwise where the 2nd layer meets the beginning end.  The ends will not touch because the beginning end should be on the inside of the “tube”.  You just want the inside end and the outside end to line up.

Here is the fun part, because you will be forming that perfect lady shape that these seamstress forms seem to always have. So start by squeezing in on the wire at about ¼” or so down from the top to create her waist.  As you start to see the female shape begin to form, pull on the wire in the required places to create a bust and then a dress.  It will take a little work, but your perfect lady form will emerge.

Once you are happy with your form, attach the thin gauge wire strips to her back side along the seam to hold her together.

celluclay-strip

form-celluclay-around-wire

Mix up some Celluclay, per directions and lay several strips around the base of the form.  Let this dry overnight.  (Store-bought air-dry clay would probably work too, I just haven’t tried that.)

Give the entire form and base a coat of primer.

 

paint-base-copper-brown

Paint the form and base any color you would like.

I painted the base of the form with a mix of raw umber and metallic copper.

 

waist

Here is how I painted the wire part of the form:

I started with craft paint in the color raw umber, and I also mixed in just a touch of baking soda and water to the paint mix (kind of like chalk paint.)  I let that color dry, and then went over her again with craft paint in the color vanilla, but I didn’t get every spot, I gave her large vanilla accents.  Then I gave her another coat of raw umber, creating accents.  Then I gave her a paint wash (paint and water) in vanilla.  I accented her with raw umber again, and finally mixed together a bit of orange and red and gave her some more accents with that as the last color.  Let all paint dry between coats.

 

buttons-scrapbook-paper

Gather some buttons.  They can be all the same, or a variety.  I was inspired by this piece of scrapbook paper…

 

mothers-buttons

…and I just so happened to have my mother’s collection of sewing buttons!!

 

hot-glue-buttons

Plan your button arrangement, and then attach them to the base with hot glue.

 

button-base

 

hot-glue-button-base

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This one holds cherished items for me, that belonged to my mother.

 

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I call her my French Quarter Lady, and I might even place her next to my French Quarter style paper and wire flowers!!

She would be a lovely bonus to any craft or sewing room, don’t you agree?

You might also like my chicken wire lamp shade or my chicken wire pumpkins!

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14 Responses to Sewing Room Seamstress Mini Dress Form

  1. Danni@SiloHillFarm April 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    Amy this is awesome! I can’t believe you made this! What a great tutorial too! I do not know about celluclay, but I’m going to check it out. I hope you link this up to some parties because I think it will be very popular!

  2. Mel April 21, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    Amy that is so clever I love me a dress form 🙂 I love the button detail too xo

  3. Nicole April 22, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    This is awesome! I’ve always wanted one. Gonna in it so I can try it later.

  4. SheilaG @ Plum Doodles April 25, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    I love this project, Amy! I would love to make one or five!

  5. Sharleen May 1, 2013 at 7:56 am #

    Hi this is great. so glad I found you. Iam signing up to see what you come up with next. thanks so creative.

  6. Margaret May 2, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    What a lovely tribute to your mom! This is unique and very sweet! My mom passed in 2003, and was born in New Orleans, so yeah, I get it, dear!

  7. Sophia September 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    I would really like to make this for my daughter’s room. She is in a fashion design class that has taken over her life (in a good way). She will be making clothes before you know it and this would be the perfect way to encourage her.

    Sophia
    twentyfiveseasons.com

  8. Denyse @ Glitter, Glue & Paint September 13, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    Amy! I just love this. I would like to make a mini one for my craft room or better yet my salon. Thanks for sharing this at Throwback Thursdays.

    xoxo
    Denyse

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