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.


Karen from A`Musements said...

Madame Dress Form is magnifique! How fun is that?! Glad you are embellishing 'her' in such a beautiful way... what a wonderful, fun 'gift' for yourself!

Jan & Tom's Place said...

I loooove the DRESS FORM!! It makes such a wonderful statement!!!

Marilyn said...

Oh, WOW, Carla! Madame is a real beauty...the antiquing and embellishment you did is fabulous! May you continue to enjoy her for many years to come...Marilyn:) said...

Heather's idea sure is a good one, isn't it? Gorgeous!

We;ll miss you on Thursday.

Beth Leintz said...

Wow- nice work- I bet she adds a touch of fun to your studio.

patty said...

Love, Love, Love it...I would like to do the same. I have been serching the web for a source, but I'm a little confused. If I may ask, Who did you order yours from? I'm finding ones with foam under jersey fabric. Is this o.k. to paint over? What size is yours?
Sorry for all of the questions.
Thanks for your help.

linda t said...

Wow!! Great job!! I would have been sooo nervous.
You sure are talented and gutsy... and inspirational.
I love her!
She's a beauty!

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

oOOOHLalaaaa I ADORE HER! Thee Madame is gorgeous!
I would LOVE to have one like this. Would you email me back and share your source, so I could try to get one like yours?
Thanks too for sharing the HOW TO... You did a wonderful job. I had wondered where to get a stamp for the neck, and now I will be able to find that too! I'll definitely be back to read more.
Have a wonderful foo foo weekend,

Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents said...

Absolutely beautiful!! You did a wonderful job!! I just love how you adorned your sweet Lady, too!

Cute way to cover her up & then "unveil" her!!

Big TX Hugs,
Angelic Accents

Art by Ronda Juniper Ray said...

Madame is magical and magnificent! You did a beautiful, amazing and fantastic job on her!

Alisa said...

Madame turned out wonderful... great job!

Saucy said...

Madame is wonderful! I love her story. She will be a work in progress for you... I also like how you unveiled her! So cute!

just being crafty said...

Madame is just Beautiful I love what you did to her she looks wonderful!!! Have a wonderful day


Maija said...

You made her look fabulous!!!

Beth Quinn said...

wow !! what a wonderful idea !! love her !

Pamela Jane said...

You've done such a great job -- she'll be truly yours from the skin up!

The Scarlett Rose Garden said...

Oh my! Le Gasp! Madame couldn't be any more beautiful. The Paris stamp is SO perfect. Great job!

cherished*vintage said...

You did a marvelous job on Madame. That's what I want to do to Stella - I just gotta be brave and do it. Thanks for sharing your sources!

Miss.Maddie's said...

This is delightful!
I am very intrigued by your sampler in the previous post.Do you know anything of it's history?
I am a vintage textile appraiser and always thrilled by samplers I have not seen.

julie haymaker Thompson said...

You did a great job she lokms so good!

momof3girls said...

I have been searching for an antique dress form for my sewing room. After seeing yours, I think I'll just 'make' one and save a whole bunch of money. I too would love to know your sourch for the form. I've been looking on ebay and can't find one that's exactly like yours (I really like how long it is). Please email me the info. Thank you so much for sharing this project.

Liz Bugh, Gypsy Feather said...

She's absolutely gorgeous! I, too, have been searching high and low for a dress form I could afford and discovered your link. Would you be willing to share your source with me? I would soooo appreciate it!