Friday, July 4, 2008
My French Dress Form
Madame arrived a few days ago, rather unceremoniously, in a cardboard box by way of New Jersey. Like so many bloggers before me I set out to antique her French form, using the instructions from Heather Bullard published in the April 2008 issue of Romantic Homes. Here she is in her natural state in the back yard. I thought it would be easiest to paint the form upright, so I left it on the wood base, but because I'm a sloppy painter, I put the base inside of a garbage bag and secured it to the metal pole with masking tape. The form was first sprayed with Kilz white primer and then painted with Valspar interior flat finish paint in the color Churchill Hotel Wheat using a foam brush. Then Valspar's antiquing glaze in a color called Asphaltum was watered down and ragged on. (The paint and glaze were purchased at Lowe's.) To me, this glaze appeared very grey in the bottle and I was a bit worried, but the company website described it as a deep brown and I was happy with the way it looked over the paint. Like Heather, I ordered the dress form with a black base. (I picked an ebay "buy it now" seller after searching with the words "dress forms". There were a number of form sizes and styles, base finishes and price points to choose from.) I sanded the base and neck cap to age them a little and then rubbed them with a less watered-down solution of the antiquing glaze. I had the most trouble with the neck stamp. I stamped, painted over the stamp, and then re-stamped it several times because the image was blurry. I finally realized I was using a dye-based stamp pad and that the dye was, to borrow a term from the textile world, fugitive--it was running. I used my handy Michael's online coupon, purchased a pigment-based ink pad and was happy with the result. The stamp I used is from a collection called French Mail by Crafty Secrets Clear Art Stamps and was also purchased "buy it now" from an ebay seller. (Yes, I'm an impatient crafter!) Since my studio has a lot of sewing collectibles, I began Madame's decoration with a needlecase necklace I've had for years. Now on I'm on the lookout for more thrift and antique store necklaces, pearls, chains, pins and who knows what else to adorn her.