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Tailors Dummy, padding out?

SewCrazy | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on


I have just purchased my first tailors dummy and wondered which is the best way to pad it out so as to mimic my own body shape!  Not too sure I’m looking forward to seeing the end result thought! ha ha!

Any suggestions would be greatly received.



  1. User avater
    fashionlizard | | #1

    This is another place in the forum where padding out was discussed....

  2. User avater
    artfulenterprises | | #2

    There were some wonderful articles in Threads on this subject back in 1993 by Suzanne Stern. But let me give you the short version here. First, make a basic fitting shell using any commercial basic shell pattern ( McCalls, Butterick, Vogue all have them). Have a friend help you adjust the muslin shell until if fits perfectly. Then make the appropriate changes to your pattern and recut it in white "Tee Shot Poplin" with a center back opening with enough seam allowance to accomodate a double ended zipper. (Note: normally this pattern would be turned into a "torso block shell" meaning the bodice and skirt, from the hip line to waist, are joined together forming a single garment which ends just below the full hipline. Since I don't know what level of sewing skills you have, that step could be eliminated and the poplin shell made with a waistline stitched into it.) Try on your new poplin shell and have a friend pin out any remaining ease in the garment so that it fits like skin. Don't forget to remove the "bridge" of fabric between the breasts. When that is done, zip it onto your dress form. It should be fairly easy to see where you need to pad out the form. I suggest you use cotton batting which is available through furniture upholsterers. Batting sold in fabric stores is far too fluffy and/or springy. It also helps to make a nylon net cover for the form before applying the batting. Then slip the poplin shell over the top and the three layers can be pad stitched together, marked with black embroidery thread at appropriate guidelines and zipped off and on the dress form at will.
    Here are a few photo attachments from my classes to illustrate.
    Edited 11/17/2005 2:31 pm ET by artfulenterprises

    Edited 11/17/2005 2:33 pm ET by artfulenterprises

  3. netizen | | #3

    I have a cheapo dress form that has dials to adjust. This was a good starting point, but my body doesn't have perky boobs or a rounded bum. I also didn't like that it was plastic with just a thin fabric to pin into. So, I dialed it to about a size 12 (I'm a 16)put an old bathing suit (it didn't have a bra in it) on my dummy and cut large squares and strips of polar fleece. With a measuring tape and a mirror, I started sliding the layers of fleece under the bathing suit, and checked the view in the mirror, side by side. Eventually I tried on clothing on me, then hung it on the dummy to see what was different and then adjusted. I was able to do this without any help. It works fairly well for what I need. I gain and lose weight from summer to winter in the tummy so I either add some fleece in or pull some out. Fleece worked much better than polyfill as it didn't lump and I just layered it on. Just like fat, hah!

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