Clone Yourself A Dress Form
by David Coffin
A few years ago I had a custom-fitted body form made for myself, which totally changed the way I fit clothes and alter patterns. Ever since, I've been telling anyone who'll listen how useful it is to have a full-scale duplicate of your body on hand when making clothes for yourself. But the process I used (making a surgical-plaster body mold, then filling it with an industrial foam) must have seemed a bit too costly and/or demanding, since not many people appear to have followed my advice. I've recently been investigating other form-making methods that are so simple, quick, and inexpensive that I've returned to my original evangelical enthusiasm, and am ready to start shouting out the message once again: every sewer needs a dress form!
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|Make your own dress form, four ways:
• Create a Custom Dress Form
• Quick and Easy Duct tape dress form
• Close Fit Duct-tape dress form
• Molded papier-mâché form
• Paper-tape dress form
What's so earthshaking about having a clone in the sewing room? It's simple: fitting is the hardest thing about sewing, especially sewing for yourself, and having a form on which to solve your fitting problems transforms the challenge from a slow, abstract process of measuring and altering outlines on a flat piece of pattern paper into an immediate, hands-on process of playing with fabric (or paper) on a 3-D version of yourself. With a few pins, some muslin, and 20 minutes, you can explore more pattern tweaks (and learn more about fitting) on a custom form than you could in hours of flat-pattern investigation on paper.
Minor adjustments become so easy and obvious when you're looking at the actual problem in fabric on "yourself" that you often don't even need a muslin or a corrected pattern. You can simply reposition the seamlines involved right on the form, when you're ready to stitch them, without worrying that the weight or drape of your fabric might throw off your elaborate flat-pattern changes. This is the process I use on my form, for example, to correct all garments for my nonsymmetrical shoulders. Of course, custom-made forms are just as useful as commercial ones for all the traditional dress-form functions--draping, visualizing, shaping collars, holding garments during sleeve insertion and hemming, and so on.