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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

M'Lady the Vintage Dress Form

Last summer my hubby and I were visiting our favorite little town just North of San Antonio, Boerne (sounds like brun-e). We stopped in a little antique shop and found this great dress form. It had been marked down, and marked down again to $175.00. I'd been looking for a dress form for years and could never find anything in a reasonable price range. Although the $175 seemed fair, I asked for more. I was thrilled when the dealer let me have her for $125!!!! (I know some of you have gotten way better deals, but I'm rarely that lucky LOL)

Unfortunately, my dress form was so stained and dirty, that she wasn't even invited into the home (except to take these photos). I removed her outer cover and found...

shredded paper!! I have to tell you I was shocked and disappointed. But I had to get her clean if she wanted to stay inside the house.

Here she is naked! I vacuumed her off really,really well and them steamed her all over. It was a lot harder than I had thought it would be, but I finally got her smelling almost good.

I obviously wasn't going to put that nasty paper back in so I wrapped her in thick batting. Meanwhile, the nasty, dirty cover was being soaked for a couple of days in a big tub of powder Tide, Oxyclean and what started out as very hot water. The fabric came out very clean with only one or two little ink marks on it.

I didn't put the cover in the dryer because I was afraid it would shrink. And I think it did anyway because it looks a little tight. I hand stitched the opening all the way up the back and it looks really good. This was the part I thought would be the hardest and it turned out to be the easiest. The really hard part was filling her bust! The first go-round she looked like Dolly Parton!! After a little reductive surgery, she looks pretty normal.
I've heard that every dress form should have a name and this one is named M'lady. When we first bought her, my hubby referred to her as "your lady" meaning my lady. He carried my lady on his shoulder. It was sooooo cute and funny looking. Then my lady had to stay in the garage, and I had to work on my lady to get her cleaned up. I kept thinking of her as "my lady" so the name stuck.
Now she's in my guest room wearing the prettiest lace robe. I'll share that with you on the next post. It's beautiful and I'm sure you'll love it!
Happy New Year!!
Patricia :o)


Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I can't wait to see her completed and all dressd in a lovely robe! I wonder why the shredded paper and I wonder how she got so dirty? I think of dress forms as being dressed in new clothing etc.
This is the first time I have seen one all padded..but they probably are in alteration shops etc. Dress makers probably have the padded ones. I am thinking of the kind in stores. Is my ignorance showing? YES! :)

Is she apart of your guest room decor permanently? Or would you use her for sewing?
I almost bought a half one in a shop that was using it on the counter to display antique jewelry. I still wish I had bought her..of course her head was on..and she was covered in a black material. And I have hats ...sigh..
A lesson learned. YOu were smart to take m'lady home with you!

silk purse said...

Im glad that m'lady wasnot "the one that got away" and that you had the presence of mind to "snap her up",so to speak, dirt, grime and all!.., She's lovely; I've always wanted one as well! The price of $125.00 wasn't bad!~ I think that you did well even to get the price whittled down from $175.00!..,

What a procedure!~ Good for you! You sure were thorough with cleaning her! (The vision of your husband carting her home for you is priceless)!..,

I can hardly wait to see her, all bedecked in lace in the photos of her in your guest room! Lovely I'm sure!

Have a marvelous,"tea-licious" and blessed New Year in 2010 my dear lady!

~As a tea affectionado, I warmly invite you in this busy season to enjoy a wee respite by visiting my little tea party over at my, Silken Purse and The plumed Pen blogs..,

"Hot chocolate, steamed flavored milk and coffee, along with some fashionable little tea cookies, perfect as befits the theme of (your little dress form); will also be served for those who prefer.~ Do also bring M'lady dressed in her finest!

Cheers form Silken Purse @ The Plumed Pen

Solange Belém said...

Hola mi amiga guapa!
Un feliz y prospero año 2010,lleno de esperanzas y mucho amor!
Un chin chin y un gran abrazo

Feliz Año Nuevo!


Holyoke Home said...

WOW! What a labor of LOVE. Thank you so much for sharing this with us! You know you could now sell her for about a bazillion dollars. But with a name like M'lady, she's sure to never leave the house. Except for fancy outings and teas.

Thanks so much for stopping by Holyoke Home!

Solange Belém said...

Hola My dear friend.
Happy New Year, Happy New Decade!
Thank you and hugs


Anonymous said...

Patricia, thank you!!! I have an old, yucky-looking dress form and I've wondered since I've had her how to fix. Your post has inspired me. I'll give her a good steam-cleaning and cover her with batting then some muslin I have. Thank you so much - cuz then i'll be able to put pretties on her, yippee!
Your lady's nighties and gowns are like confection...beyond pretty! She's a happy dress form now. :))

Duchess of Tea said...

Darling I stumbled upon your blog and now I don't want to return to my cottage. You have a lovely blog and a new I will return often, now I am off to read all your archived posts.

Love & Hugs

Paris Atelier said...

OH MY!!!! I love her! These are so rare and gorgeous, you did an amazing job with her, she looks like a real Lady now! I could just imagine the hubby dragging her around! She's perfect.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just recently purchased a vintage dress form at a yard sale & I would like to clean her up; however, she is linen or cotton linen and does not have a cover - the fabric is attached to the form. What do you think is the best way to try to clean her? I don't really want to put my clothes on her until she is sanitized - she lived with cats before & the first thing I did was to vaccuum her! :-)



Vintage Linen Treasures said...

Hi Christina, I don't have a way to contact you, but hopefully you'll come back and see this message. I would clean her like a piece of fine furniture. Always do the least harsh way. Vacuum her like you said, then try steaming. If she still needs a little work, try wiping her down with a damp cloth dipped in woolite/water solution. And press a clean towel against her to absorb as much water as possible. The least amount of water you use, the better. Then air dry and repeat if necessary. Finish with a spritz of lavender water or Fabreeze. Hope that helps!
Patricia :o)