I’ve been working hard at getting the dress forms ready for CNCH. This involves quite a bit of tedious grunge work. First you have to have someone wrap you in plaster bandage to create the mold. Then you have to remove the mold, let it dry, and then sew it back together and seal it. Then you put in mold release compound so the plaster doesn’t stick as much, and pour the foam. (Which is kind of magical, by the way: you mix up this cream-colored liquid, pour what looks like a tiny bit into the mold, and a few moments later, the foam magically rises to 10x (or more!) the original volume. It’s like watching a stop-action film of bread rising!)
After you pour the foam, you have to remove the plaster mold. This is more complicated than it looks, since some of the plaster will stick to the form. Removing this involves a chisel, a rasp, and lots of patience. (Lots of patience.) Once the mold is removed, you have to cut a wooden base for it, mount the base, and make the stand. After mounting the form to a stand, you then have to rasp/sand it down until it reaches the correct dimensions. (Because you breathe during the making of the mold, it’s going to be slightly bigger than it should be.) Finally, you have to sew the cover.
All in all, a highly time-consuming process, but the dress deserves nothing less.
Currently I am about 2/3 of the way through the process for the 2nd form. The stand is complete, most of the plaster is removed (I’ve got about another hour’s work to go, best guess), and most of what remains is rasping it down until the coat hangs on it properly. That could easily be another several hours of “fitting”. Alas, I can’t work on it until the sun comes up, so until then, I’m hanging out and blogging. 🙂
A few other interesting notes:
- First, I have confirmation from someone who is willing to wind skeins of silk for dye samples for me. This is tremendously exciting, as I’ve said before, and I’m starting to look through various manufacturers’ dye colors to see which new primaries I want to try.
- I took the dress in for appraisal on Sunday, and should get the results back today. The appraiser (former textiles curator for the DeYoung Museum) said the workmanship was excellent, and the ensemble was exquisite (!). Now I just need to get the final number so I can get insurance. I’m expecting it to come in around $30K, but the real value (of course) is “priceless”.
- I’m probably going to donate both dress and coat to a museum sometime after the wedding and all the weaving exhibits are over. (I’m not planning on having kids and I refuse to let it go to a garage sale when I die!) Melissa (the appraiser) suggested either the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles or the Oakland Museum, and I’ll contact them in a couple of months, after all the weaving and fiber exhibits are done.