A Rant, Another Knitting Dilemma and More Mannequin Madness

Warning:  Sensitive cyclists do not read on.

Disclaimer:  Some of my best friends are cyclists.  True.  One such madwoman friend is cycling from Paris to where I live in the South of France which is almost 800 km – a distance I consider fit only for an aircraft.

Vintage French Cycling Postcard

They love cycling in France and it appears to take priority over other traffic be it pedestrian, car or ambulance.   I don’t love cycling.  I’m not talking about cycling down to the bakery to get your croissants or zipping round to see your friend on the other side of town or gently trundling along taking in some beautiful scenery.  I’m talking about vast armies of cyclists, five or six abreast, steaming down country roads, grimly determined and in my way.  I don’t like the hideous lycra they wear or the way they hog more than one lane.  I can’t understand the attraction of standing by the side of the road watching streams of bikes going by in a blur or parking your vehicle on a bend to watch so that cars can’t get past you for 10 minutes in case they knock over one of the oncoming cyclists.   If  it had been suggested,  some years ago, that  men (as they mostly seem to be) put on skin tight body stockings and wore them in public the idea would have been laughed out of town.     It is particularly unappealing when they stop by the side of the road and, without bothering to conceal themselves in the trees, face the oncoming  traffic that is already being forced to go at a snail’s pace and take a pee –  although that is something observed regularly here in France even when there is not a bike race going on or lycra to contend with.  I can barely wait for the Tour de France next month.

They made me late for my yoga class this morning but I’m not bitter.

no cycling

Anyway, rant over (until the next time) and here is a sneak peak of my dress for the Outfit Along which, to be honest, I haven’t really been ‘alonging’ with but I’ve made it and it will be photographed and entered.  I have recently learnt – too recently for this dress – that you should make the size of dress or top  for your upper bust measurement, not your full bust because that will make the shoulders and neckline too big for you, and then you do a full bust adjustment.  Oops!  So that’s where I’ve been going wrong.  My last couple of dresses that have had fitted bodices have indeed been too big on the shoulders.  Next time……..

Simplicity 1803The cardigan part of the outfit has also had its problems.  I didn’t like the way I had picked up the stitches for the sleeves so I have frogged both of them and then I realised that I had cast off the stitches of the body too tightly and there was no way that ribbing was going to stretch round my waist.  So I, very carefully and with much trepidation, undid the cast off and redid it using Jenys Stretchy Bind Off.   Now it will!  Just got to do those sleeves again now.

Myrna CardiganDespite sharing my life with quite a few vintage French mannequins,   one of which I sent off to Canada a couple of weeks ago in a box big enough for a coffin, I decided I needed an adjustable mannequin to help me in my dressmaking endeavours.  My friend had a Lady Valet and I thought it looked good as well as being useful so I treated myself.

lady valet dress form

 Handsome aren’t they?

However, I had to buy the small size (the one on the right) for all my measurements including the chest but, though  I don’t like to brag,  that girl has got nothing on me in the bust department.  So, what to do?  I googled it, as I do most things I don’t know about, and found that you must not only adjust a dress form to your measurements but pad it a bit to make it feel more like flesh and, if need be, put one of your bras on it and pad to the desired fullness.  Then you must cover the whole thing in a body stocking of sorts – should have nabbed one of those cyclists this morning – or use, as I did, a sort of body shaping slip that I sometimes wear if I have a very fitted dress and don’t want lines of underwear showing.  So now, instead of my beautiful, clean looking mannequin on her lovely wooden stand, I have this.
DSC_0011 Note the chest cracked open as if for heart surgery as I struggled to make a doppelganger of myself.  I must neither gain nor lose weight as I don’t want to go through that process again and my plans for noting down the measurements of the Tialys madamoiselles and altering the dress form to suit when I’m making something for them will also not be implemented any time soon.

On the subject of mannequins, you may recall that I bought a baby sized one recently in order to get better photographs of the baby clothes I’m making.  Just to remind you here it is

Baby Mannequin

Well, guess what, it’s too big.  So now, having got the idea in my head, I’ve had to find another, smaller one.  No matter, this one can go in my shop – it’s from Paris dontchaknow.  Unfortunately, despite these tiny ones giving me the creeps and being grateful it had no face the one winging its way to me as we speak actually does have a head.  Plus, and I don’t know whether this makes matters better or worse, you can remove  it.  I feel a nightmare coming on.

I am no longer ‘waiting for the wadding’ as mentioned in my last post.   It is sandwiched between the front and back layers of my quilt and basted with curvy safety pins.  Off to start quilting it as it’s taking up my workroom floor and I won’t be able to get anything else done until it is at least de-masking taped from the floorboards.


* Post not sponsored by Lycra



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  1. #1 by katechiconi on June 29, 2014 - 22:41

    My sympathies, madame. My sister in Eymet (Lot et Garonne) has the dubious privilege of having the Tour actually pass by her door, so it’s going to be Lycra galore and pseudo-sportsmen coming out of her ears for days before and after… Your mannequin issues also struck a chord, but for different reasons. I have too much shoulder and not enough bottom….

    • #2 by tialys on June 29, 2014 - 22:59

      We also are host to a leg of the Tour de France but we normally endeavour to be on holiday elsewhere in France at the time. However, it is broadcast on every available T.V. in every bar, hotel and restaurant. There is no escape.

      • #3 by katechiconi on June 29, 2014 - 23:01

        As if the World Cup were not enough… Here, any sport involving a ball of whatever shape and description is venerated and arouses huge passion. I am very, very over soccer just now…

      • #4 by tialys on June 30, 2014 - 19:50

        Mr T. is a rare beast who has absolutely no interest in football whatsoever. When taxi drivers, or other people who don’t know him, make the mistake of trying to engage him in conversation about it, you would think he’d confessed to eating newborn kittens for a hobby, such is their disbelief. Some people can’t even register the fact and carry on talking about the latest match even though they get no response as he is completely clueless about the players, the teams or the rules. I myself used to be a Chelsea fan but I am talking about back in the mists of time when I was still a resident Londoner and so were most of the team – those were the days.

  2. #5 by lovelucie1 on June 30, 2014 - 13:30

    A great post. You had me laughing out loud! I am rather partial to a muscled thigh and buttock in-cased in black lycra, but that’s just me.
    Enjoy your mannequin. I can imagine fitting a garment is quite tricky when you’ve not got one of the Tialys madamoiselles around to help.

    • #6 by tialys on June 30, 2014 - 19:44

      I was just saying to Mlle Tialys the elder as I was driving her to the airport ‘what happened to the nice tight jeans of my youth which showed off a young man’s bottom to great advantage? Now the jeans hang off them and are sooo unflattering’. A funny conversation to be having with your daughter you might be thinking but she is nearly 21 now and we have watched Game of Thrones together! However, I still think lycra is going a step too far as I would like some things to remain a secret until I’ve at least had dinner with somebody. Plus, unfortunately, the buttocks and thighs on show were certainly not all of the muscled variety.

  3. #7 by Jan Marriott on June 30, 2014 - 20:29

    Very impressed with unpicking a sweater ( and a new bind off)
    You seem to be ‘treating’ yourself quite a bit these days.

    • #8 by tialys on June 30, 2014 - 20:43

      Do I? Oh well, let’s not tell anybody round here 😉

  4. #9 by sew2pro on June 30, 2014 - 22:51

    Don’t ever have little kids staying over: all those mannequins will scar them for life, psychologically!

    Where did you hear the rule about the upper bust measurement? I look forward to trying it out for myself though it’s too late for my next Sureau as the fabric’s already cut.

    Your dress is gorgeous! I love the colour, the print, the design; fingers crossed with the fit.

    I’m scared of being up on a bike (what? all that speed and no seatbelt?!) but I do tend to take a sneaky look at the long legged ones when I overtake!!

    • #10 by tialys on July 1, 2014 - 10:20

      Well, now that I’ve seen that tip I seem to be seeing it everywhere. I can’t remember the original but, at random, here’s a blog post explaining it although there are many others. I think doing the full bust adjustment afterwards only applies if you are more than a B cup.

  5. #11 by The Snail of Happiness on July 7, 2014 - 18:37

    A friend of mine has a life-sized baby doll for modelling the baby clothes she crochets… it’s so gruesome that she has to keep it behind a curtain, on a shelf in the spare room when it’s not in use. I think I’d have nightmares if it was in my house!

    • #12 by tialys on July 7, 2014 - 19:22

      I can’t stand dolls – the more lifelike they are, the more I don’t like them. Give me teddies any time, with their friendly little faces. However, needs must and a furry, boot button-eyed face just doesn’t look right peeking out over the neck of a baby dress.

  6. #13 by Carly on July 10, 2014 - 11:41

    As I’ve already said I LOVE that polka dots fabric! Nice dress!

  7. #14 by tialys on July 10, 2014 - 13:39

    Thanks Carly – shame it’s too big!

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