Oh lala, my dress form got bigger!

altering a dressform by thisblogisnotforyou.com

You probably haven’t noticed as you hopefully focus your attention on the dresses I make and not the dummy wearing them, but my dress form is now a curvier lady.

Actually, she’s got my curves as I customised my former dummy by padding her out, giving her exactly my measurements.
I don’t really have any ‘before’ pictures of her, since I normally photograph her wearing more or less pretty dresses, but I found a picture on Amazon (where I bought her April last year):

dress form size 34/36 (UK 8-10)

38 Euro  really isn’t much for a dress form and I can only recommend this one if you are approximately the size of the dress form (they sell them in different sizes). Mine is a 34/36 (UK 8/10) which is the closest to my size. However, I couldn’t really drape on the stand as she is much smaller around the hips and has a different shape. These dummys are often quite “round”, whereas a normal body (well, at least mine) is wider but also flatter at the same time. So even when the circumference measurements are the same, you might end up with a dress that doesn’t fit well (ask me how I know this!)

As many other lovely ladies out there, I’m of the pear-shaped kind and they don’t sell dress forms like that. I would probably need a size 34/36 bust and size 40 hip dress form. Luckily, I was smart enough to buy a dress form that was slightly smaller than I am, so I could alter her shape by adding wadding, pillow stuffing and muslin pieces. I sewed them onto the styrofoam with a curved upholstery needle.

Bad blogger I am I forgot to take pictures of the process. (Oh no!)  But here’s a link to a post from another blogger who basically did almost the same thing (in a more professional way hehe): Customising a tailor’s dummy

Here she is, pretty much looking like me 🙂
altering a dressform by thisblogisnotforyou.comDon’t look too close – she’s got a few bumps here and there, especially on her unmentionables, but I love her anyway.

Draping and making muslins is sooo much more fun now – the first muslin I draped on her fits like a glove. The blue ribbon I used as markings for my recent project (which is still top-secret). Here’s a glance – don’t even try to figure out what it’s gonna be!

altering a dressform by thisblogisnotforyou.comIf you don’t have a dress form and want a dummy which represents your size, there are different options for making one yourself.

Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons has posted about her paper maché dummy here.
This is one of the easiest ways of making a dummy. There are also much more complicated options out there.

I tried the Tilly version just before I decided to alter my already existing dress form. Why I didn’t post about it? This is why:

making a dressform by thisblogisnotforyou.commaking a dressform by thisblogisnotforyou

This may look like a distorted version of a clone of me in a parallel universe but it’s totally unusable. I bet our neighbours almost got a heart attack when finding this headless mummy in the dustbin.

Problem with the paper tape/paper maché option:

  • If you don’t use enough tape, the whole thing will loose it’s shape when cut off your body.
  • If you use enough tape, this thing will be a lot bigger than you actually are (ask me how I know this).
  • Try not to tie up your unmentionables with the tape, otherwise your dummy end up looking like mine. Hooray!
  • And: I almost fainted since I couldn’t really breathe after adding the third layer. I started shouting at Mr Thisblogisnotforyou who had patiently wrapped me up in this %$§$% and then had to lay me down (by this time I was stiff and hard as a concrete plank not breathing and definitely not moving) and cut me out of this thing. My second near death experience (first time I choked badly while drinking water)!

Well, sometimes the easiest way is not the best way.

At least there was a happy end – now I’ve got a perfect dress form. I’m still looking for a name (I name everything. Even my bicycle and plants. I have to in order not to neglect them). My sewing machine’s already named Marilyn. So this one might become an Audrey or Coco or Dita. Ideas?


Stay in touch!

8 thoughts on “Oh lala, my dress form got bigger!

  1. Let us know what name you choose. (Don’t forget Rita Hayworth- much curvier than Audrey. And a redhead:) I tried sewing a child mannequin dummy once that looked like road kill! I wonder if you covered her in spanx over the padding & under the cover- if it would smooth her out- or if it would mess up pinning. Hmm…great job! She’s fab!

    1. That’s a smart idea – I think it’s worth trying, although the bumps don’t really bother me much.

  2. I’m excited to see all the new things you will make from draping on your dressform! I’ve been hankering for a dressform for awhile now but I’ll have to wait to see what Santa brings 🙂

    1. Me too, Zoe! Draping is so much fun but it takes a lot of time and nerves 😀 If Santa doesn’t bring one, there are fairly cheap ones you can get in different sizes e.g. on Amazon. Mine was only 40 Euro.

  3. I love your mannequin! I would love to have one as well, but can’t make up my mind which one to buy. I also cloned myself using the duck tape method, so I can fully understand how awful you felt. My boyfriend pulled everything so tight I couldn’t breath and had to stand next to the open door. I still have mine – but her boobs have also lost their shape 🙁 Did you make a little jump suit for your mannequin?

    1. Well the selfmade mannequin went into the dustbin, neither boobs nor butt stayed the way they were supposed to stay 😀 The former dress form came with a spandex cover which is super stretchy, so I could use it for the altered dress form, as well 🙂

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