Christmas Tree with a Dressmakers Twist

I was asked a couple of months ago by the local church here in Syston to design a Christmas Tree for their Christmas Tree festival which was held last weekend. I have done this before a few times & I do try to think of something new each time but I was struggling a bit this time. Then I remembered putting a tree in the shop window a couple of years ago & decided to repeat the idea & hopefully make it better. Some of you will remember the tree which had a dummy on top of it so it looked like the tree was the skirt of the dress.

The last time I did it I had a very old adjustable dressmakers dummy which was at the time falling apart. As it has gone well past it’s sell by date I decided to get a new one. The shop display dummies are better for doing jobs like this as they take a bit more bashing about. The only problem is that they can’t be adjusted, or at least that was the only problem I could see. I was really organised & got all the bits & pieces together that I thought I needed. The church is only just around the corner from the shop so on Thursday evening last week my sister Wendy & I went around to set up the tree. There were lots of people in the church all doing the same thing representing companies & organisations based in Syston.

So we set to, everything in a very organised way. The boned bodice top that I use for the top of the tree isn’t long enough to cover the whole of the dummy but I had for seen this problem.  I have a long green tree like tinsel which I hook up so it looks like the top of the tree. Here is where things started to fall apart. The new dummy is made of plastic. Sellotape & blue tac do not stick tinsel to plastic dummies nor can you pin it in place. This wasn’t the best time to find this out. We must have made quite a noise about this not working as the editor of the local paper who was calmly setting up her own tree came over to offer her double sided tape. Thank goodness this did work. Once we had the bodice set & the dummy on top of the tree. The lights had to go on. Then it was a case of lifting the tree on to the platform & finish decorating the tree. It was a good job I had taken Wendy with me as lifting it on to the platform proved quite tricky when you are only 5’5″ tall. Thank goodness Wendy is 5’9″ & was able to reach without too much of a problem. Problem number two, they had run out of extension leads for the lights & I had to move things around to get the lead to fit. To fit in with our theme of a dress we used lace & ribbon instead of tinsel. So it looks like tiers on the skirt. Then we added as many baubles as we had & made a quick exit just in case things fell apart.

Problem number three, they wanted me to pick up the tree on Monday, I was in London all day on Monday so had to arrange for the tree to be picked up on Tuesday. I tried to get it back in one piece but in the end had to split it up & get a friend to help me bring it back to the shop. We did manage that until we got to the shop doorway & had to lift up the lower branches before it would fit through. Considering all the little problems, we only had one small bauble break & I have now set it up in the shop so if you are passing by at any time come & have a look at our tree and other decorations.