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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mannequin Make-over - from Ugly to Fun

This room is an inspiration (idea) room.  Part of a display in a local home that is an idea house.  I have been working in my mind on our master bedroom redesign and the colors you see here is very much what I've had in my plan.  However, the real inspiration piece I'd like to talk about today is the mannequin on the right in this photo.
You see last week, my friend, Carolyn had spotted this mannequin at a local antique shop and had given me a heads up about it.  The day I went to view it, the shop was having a storewide 20% off sale.  She was quite dusty, lop sided, wobbly and of needing some tlc.  I've been looking for mannequins to feature my jewelry for quite some time, and the price was quite good too.  Thus she is now part of my display props for my jewelry business.  However, she needed a make-over badly.  What to do?
Weapons of choice... I mean tools of the trade, used on my make-over.
I bought this Friday, and viewed the idea home on Sunday.  A light bulb moment for sure...
Do you see a resemblance between the two mannequins?  I did, so away I started to working on removing her ghastly overlay that was quite outdated.
Have you ever looked inside one of these ladies?  They are filled with hinges and screws.
I had to remove portions completely in order to fully remove the outer layers of fabric, but when I was done with each section, it was a small victory.  It took about 4 hours of tedious work to remove the fabric and put her back together again.
Here she is partially dismantled.
This photo shows all of the bluish/purple stretchy material removed, but the black fabric is still intact.  This is what I first thought I'd do, but I didn't like the condition (dirty) the black material was in.
I also didn't like how distracting the black fabric was when trying to photograph my jewelry, either, thus I began the process of removing the black fabric as well.
Here I'm removing the fabric.  The bent nose needle nose plier was invaluable, as was the scissor on most of the fabric removal.  I only used the exacto knife for removal of the black portion of fabric, as I already had the mannequin tightly fit together and would of had to take it all apart again without it.
Yeayyyy!  The finish results...and I'm quite happy with them.
My latest "White Wednesday" jewelry design.
Lots of fun details, and I'm loving photographing on this lady.
Beach theme necklace...
Lots of fun surprises and treasures make up this necklace.
More unique pieces collaborate to make this one of my all time favorite designs.
This is the back side portion of the necklace.  Details flow throughout the piece and is something I always strive to do with each of my one-of-a-kind designs.

Thanks for visiting me on this "White Wednesday" event and for taking the time to read my lengthy post.  The name I've chosen is Carolina, as my dear friend, Carolyn is whom found her for me.

This necklace, as well as others from my Mimi-Toria's Jewelry line will be available at the upcoming Remnants Of The Past event in California in Sue Whitneys booth.   The show is this coming week-end, April 24th from 9-4 pm in Nipomo, CA.    The remaining pieces will come back to Minnesota and be offered along with many other designs at the Arts+Architecture/Junk Market Style show/event being held in Minnesota in May from the 5-9th.  Check out the website and won't you plan to join us?  We'd love it if you can.

I am linking this up to Thrifty Tuesdays event, as everything used in this blog post was found while thrifting.  Thank you to Linda for hosting this fun event.
Thanks once again Kathleen of Faded Charm for hosting the White Wednesday party which I linked up to, and to Suzanne, the Colorado Lady, and her blog which I'm linking up to for the first time for her Vintage Thingies Thursdays she hosts.  Be sure to check out all of the rest of these blog parties participants, and leave a comment for them.
I am also linking up with Kristin Duke through her blog "The Idea Room".

Also, linking up with Trash to Treasure Tuesday for the first time.


  1. You did a GREAT job with the mannequin! Lots of work, but so worth it. I have been looking for one as well. I do have a really cool wire dress form but would prefer a fabric one.

  2. What a Difference ~ Love the way the Mannequin turned out..... Time Well Spent!

  3. Wow Gretchen,
    This is one impressive transformation! I would have had no idea what a diamond in the rough this piece was!

  4. Great job perservering with the project to make it fabulous!

    I love the colors of the inspiration room also.

  5. Thanks for the "how to". I have an old mannequin in my shed because she's in such terrible condition. Now I know how to easily give her a facelift. And, I can buy those ugly dress forms when I'm out and turn them into something wonderful!

  6. This manequin turned out beautiful and what a great place to display your gorgeous jewlery. Thanks for sharing today.

    ~Happy WW~


  7. oh.my.gosh. What a beautiful post!
    EVERYthing is wonderful.. the corner, the dressform transformation and the necklace. Perfection!

  8. I love the after!I need one of those!

  9. You did an unbelievable job transforming the mannequin! Hats off to you and for the patience in taking that apart, recovering and reassembling! It's beautiful.
    Your necklace is gorgeous as well. You create very pretty jewelry.

  10. Great transformation...I love the new look! I think I'd have been afraid to tackle that one!! Love the outcome...Have a great VTT!

  11. WOW she turned out great! Goo djob!

  12. Awesome job. Now she is perfect!! Happy VTT!

  13. Wow! that looks great. I saw one that had been recovered with burlap, but after seeing how well this turned out, I'd leave her all alone, too.

  14. Wow! that looks great. I saw one that had been recovered with burlap, but after seeing how well this turned out, I'd leave her all alone, too.

  15. Great job! Love what you've done to the manequin. That beach necklace is divine too!

  16. It looks so much better now! Happy VTT!

  17. hey gretchen the manequin turned out great. i noticed you used one of the bottles i sent you in the necklace ;). i knew as talented as you are they would come in handy. great theme. so showed the gals at work they were impressed.

  18. What a wonderful transformation....
    You did really,really well. I fear that if I had taken it apart,I would never have gotten it put back together. Happy VTT,,have a wonderful weekend... and before I go I must tell you how beautiful your jewelry pieces are. Just gorgeous.

  19. What a time consuming process, but the end result is fabulous! She looks like a million bucks! Happy VTT!

  20. Wow what a makeover!


  21. Great job...she looks so much better! Very interesting to see the insides of the mannequin.

    Your jewelry looks lovely on her!

  22. What a wonderful job you did on transforming "her"! She looks so much better, and I love the necklace she's wearing, especially all the unique pieces that went into the making of it. Just beautiful!
    Happy VTT!

  23. Gretchen, years ago, I bought my mother-in-law a dress mannequin...do not remember it being this well built though. You did an amazing job here and oh, the necklace is beautiful. Love the bird piece connected by the wing and the beak...so beautiful! Thanks for sharing....debbie

  24. You did GOOD on this one girl!!! I will have to remember that the ugly fabric can be removed & a butterfly can hides beneath!!!

  25. gretchen,
    i LOVE your dress form! i love the raw state..very industrial looking and so decorator current!

    my hubs and i took a whirlwind 4 hr.(each way) trip to retrieve a wonderful vintage wire cage dress form this past saturday. it was WELL worth the trip plus we snuck in time at Ikea and Whole Foods which is a treat for us.
    I hope to get her posted this week...so stay tuned! hehe
    judi ;)

  26. Luv her makeover...your pieces are so neat and thanks for sharing them with all of us at NTT!


  27. Its wonderful and I love your room, so pretty!

  28. Great job on the dress form, looks wonderful. I love love love your jewelry :)

  29. That looks like a lot of work but the end result is wonderful! I have been looking for a vintage dress form for quite a while...boy can they be expensive. Thanks for your visit and kind comment on my yard sale finds.

  30. Sometimes those looooong transformations are worth it, huh? She turned out just great!

    Also, love the first photo as far as colors go...so soothing for the bedroom. You should ask Cassie to email you pics of her bedroom - it is really lovely.

    See ya soon! Andrea

  31. Wow Gretchen! I can't believe how different it looks! You are right, our dress forms might be twins :) I never thought about uncovering what might be under the fabric... might have to give it a try! Is that the display you used at Junk Bonanza that I had a picture of?

  32. Wow, I just came across this post too! I have the same mannequin only with no black section! I'm going to have to try this. I've been afraid to take her apart. I'm excited!


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