We were looking forward to the planning and decorating of our 2018 Christmas Mannequin Tree since the summer. What colour should we use? What style of dress should she have? Real branches or artificial? All these questions brought forth ideas to discuss and finally formulate into a plan for our annual window display. In 2016 we draped rich purple with teal and peacock feathers. This was our first one, and we loved making it, even though it was really awkward to get it inside that window (the door was only 16″ wide).
In 2017 in our new store (with a larger window opening), we decided to use a real corset instead of draped fabric. You could say we kicked it up a notch with all those Swarovski crystals adorning the ivory satin corset. We even used real cedar and pine branches cut from Denise’s backyard. (Yes, she knew we were there!)
This year, in October, I had emails asking when we were going to announce our tree for this year. I was still thinking about the colour when one of our Boob Camp students inspired me with a combination of fabric and colour. She used a fabric that we called “liquid metal” under an open lace. As soon as I saw the bra she made, I knew that was the colour combination for this year’s tree.
We interfaced the flimsy liquid metal fabric with fusible knit interfacing to give it a little more body. It doesn’t fray but it is very slippery and drapey. If we had to do it over again, we agreed we would use Misty Fuse to stick it to a much heavier fabric, such as corset coutil, or even cotton sateen. Then we put the lace over the gold to create our fabric, which we treated as one layer for the construction. Contrary to the pattern instructions (who needs those anyway…lol) we sewed the front together instead of using a busk. We added a full-length zipper to the centre back so we could get the garment on and off easily. The grommets and gold lacing are just decoration.
To make the skirt, we used fiberglass chicken wire and darted it along the top edge to make it curve. Yes, that’s sticky masking tape holding the darts in place on both sides. We covered all the pokey edges with tape as well. We want to be able to use this skirt next year too.
Finally, we added a hula hoop Denise had laying around to keep the bottom edge circular. We had to make sure the diameter of the skirt when finished, would still fit in the window. And it did, but just barely. I didn’t get a picture of the hula hoop taped in there but it held the bottom to a perfect circle.
We inserted a combination of real and fake boughs into the mesh of the skirt to fill it out, then added the lights. The come the fun putting on the gold decorations. Putting her into the window (18″ off the floor level) was another whole challenge. In the end, Agata suggested we wheel her onto a wide and long shelf, lift the shelf into the window and wheel her off into the window space. It worked like a charm!
So, my faithful readers, which tree is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below. Oh yes, feel free to share this post with any Christmas mannequin tree enthusiasts!