Type in “DIY Dress Form” into any Google search and you will undoubtedly be inundated with DIYs ranging from duct tape to plaster cast to simply padding a manufactured dress form.
While I must admit that some of these DIYs seemed to be easy enough none really hit the nail on the head. I essentially wanted a dress form with all my measurements and curves that looked like a proper dress form not some crazy taped up mess. I spent ages looking through different methods of DIY before finally deciding that I didn’t want to go that route, all the duct tape and plaster seemed like too much work and/or too messy. I wanted something that was pleasing to the eye, I could pin fabric to and I didn’t need help from anyone to create it. I decided that my best route would probably be to buy a manufactured dress form and pad it so I looked all around Amazon and Kijiji but couldn’t justify the hefty price tag for a dress form that could easily cost me upwards of $300!
After maaaaaany Google searches, I finally came upon a YouTube video that answered my prayers. In the video, Joey Sewy introduces us to a new method of creating your own dress form that not only matches your measurements but is also pretty, pin-able, and you can produce it all on your own! I was sold.
BootStrapFashion specializes in custom fit pdf sewing patterns that you can print from home. But the best news is that they have made-to-measure dress form sewing patterns.
BootStrap’s dress form patterns come in 3 different versions; missy, plus and an arm add-on. My measurements put me in between sizes so after contacting the company and getting a very swift response I was told I’d fit better in the plus pattern category. What is so awesome about this pattern is that it corrects for posture, shoulder shape, belly protuberance, and buttocks shape. There are also additional measurements you can take to customize the form; neck circumference, shoulder width, bust height, front length, back length, and back width which ensures you can get a really accurate replica of your unique body shape.
I had no problems printing the pattern off at home, lining up lines, and cutting it out. The pattern comes with a VERY detailed and image heavy 44 page (22 pages printed 2-sided) set of instructions so even the advanced beginner should be able to have success with this.
Construction went pretty well, I did hit a few snags here and there but they were of my own doing and no fault of the pattern. All in all the entire process from start to finish took me about 3 days working in between dinner and bath and putting the kids to bed. So had I sat there and just pumped it out I’m sure I could have finished it in no time at all.
I picked up this beige upholstery fabric from my local Fabricland when they were having a 50% off sale for members, the reason I chose this fabric was because it was stable and had a bit of slip to it so I could more easily get my garments on and off. I also scored a great deal on polyester fill, the pattern calls for 10lbs of fill for a plus size but I only bought 5lbs and found it sufficient.
The dress form is not without its problem areas but most of the time I was squeezing sewing into the wee hours so I attribute the mistakes to being tired. The mistakes are mostly just puckering in a couple spots and don’t affect the dress form at all so I didn’t see the point in ripping it out.
I had my husband make some adjustments to the old Ikea coat stand we had laying around the house so that we could account for height. Then I decided to give her a name… please meet Sheila… my dummy. Below Sheila is wearing the latest in bespoke from the 2017 summer collection of the House of Allison.
I am so looking forward to seeing Sheila wearing some more of my makes!