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8 May 2013

DIY: a dress form made of fabric


Last week, I took some time to make (for the second time) a dress form.
Yes, watching Project runway made me long for my old dress form I had to leave in France when we moved to Germany. I know, this obsession has to end, but I can't help myself :-)

It's not a long project, it took me a few hours, and although it looks a bit wonky in the picture it's perfect to make dresses. I always find it a bit hard to make my neck line directly on paper, the dress form is easier, and gives immediately an idea of how the dress will look like.

You will need: 
your block pattern
tracing paper
thick fabric
filling for cushions
a very long zipper
and maybe a kind hand to help you check the fit, I did it alone.

I had a bit of a Scarlett O'Hara moment. I used some curtains I don't need anymore. They are a 100% thick cotton, perfect for a dress form. It needs to stand so don't hesitate to buy the most uncomfortable fabric you can find.

Then you need your basic bloc pattern. 

I don't have a block pattern:

Well Lady, if you want to enter the fabulous world of pattern making but don't have time to waist you can buy this one : Butterick B5627 Misses' Fitting Shell

It's almost perfect, I would just not use all the darts, remove those who are in red, and you will have your block pattern. Also, stop your pattern 15cm below the hip line.

It has to fit perfectly You will have to make a muslin first, (OMG this subject would need its own post itself!). Make the necessary changes, report them on your pattern.

I have a block pattern: 

I adapted a bit the pattern to make the form. First, shoulder princess seam.
It has to fit like a glove. In order to do that reduce the ease under the arm by 1cm and raise it of 1 cm, add 1 cm to the neck line so that it will be as close as possible to your neck.
Don't forget the grain line.
Your pattern should look like this:

Or like this if you prefer:

 Assemble the pieces and place a zipper at the back because you will want to try it and fit it tight tight. Wear good underwear you would normally use, not your supper push-up you never wear, because it would change your figure, and don't forget to breath!!
Add a bustier dart in the middle front buy contouring your breast.

contour your butt:

Is it perfect? Yes? Well, remove the zipper, cut a piece of fabric for the bottom, attach it, and cut two others for the arm hole that you'll attach later, and fill your double like a cushion!

Warning: do it in front of a mirror. 
You will notice that with exactly the same measurements two persons can be very different looking. One can be very thin looking from the side and wider from the front or the other way around!
It can take a bit of time to have the perfect shape, but I found it funny. Measure your waist and bust as you fill, my form tends to be a bit bigger than me by 1 or 2 centimeters.

Add a ribbon at the waist to reinforce it, and because it's pretty!

The method to make this form is exposed in the two books I own on pattern making, although is better explained in Line Jaque's book as in ESMOD's.

Then you can make a dress form stand made of PVC, not very pretty, but with a bit of paint...Also the image is bad, I think I copied it some years ago from Thread magazine, but, I can't seem to find the article anymore. Anyway, you can find there four ways to make your own dress form. I strongly suggest thought, never to wear a T-shirt under your papier maché or tape, it's too thick, just use a trash bag that you can cut to fit yourself.

I think I might make one just for the bottom part, to make underwear and swimsuits. Because you know, I just can't live without a dress form for everything now!!


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