Telling the truth; how I made my own dress form and started to own my size.

My very first post here was a piece detailing how I refurbished my adjustable dress form.

I bought Venus when I was in my late twenties and a size 10-12. Venus is an adjustable dress form that went from about a size UK 8 to UK 14 max. By the time I returned to sewing I had gone up two sizes. Last year, when I was working on #sewtogetherforsummer I decided to draft my wrap dress and I used my beautiful refurbished Venus, however it came out too small and I had to admit that I had finally outgrown the old dress form. You can probably see in the pictures below, Venus is a bit skinnier than me.

This is when I discovered Bootstrap Fashions had a pattern with which you could make your own dress form. I had been aware of them before, having seen their pattern design website, but I was directed back there again when I saw @acraftteacuppa‘s version of their DIY bespoke dress form.

This is a brilliant idea because you make a dress form which fits your own body so you should get a good match to your size and shape, it was fairly economical as well for $24.00 to buy the pattern. I initially made mine up in calico (because I’m a cheapskate) and I decided to fill it with my sewing scraps which had built up considerably.

All the pieces ready for assembly.
A quick view of the original cover.

I’d read somewhere that wire wool in the neck will help to sharpen your pins if you stick them in there while you are working so I inserted some of that into the neck section.

I stalled because once I had made up the dress form and stuffed it I felt that the fabric scraps were really heavy and lumpy and didn’t give me the feel that I wanted also the calico was quite thin and actually was not opaque so it didn’t look very like nice either.

I also found that my form was actually a little small when I measured it against myself, maybe an error on the seam allowances. As well as this, once I closed up the bottom, the scraps were so heavy, they were weighing down the form. The bottom began to sag and eventually the flimsy calico seams started to split and actually burst the bottom of my dress form – now we all know, no one wants the burst bottom!

So the remedy for that was to make a new cover in some fab marbled scuba from the stash. I tried this on before closing it up and its a perfect fit. It needed a bit of extra padding and I used wadding rather than the scraps and now it has a great feel and is pinnable.

Second skin!
A faux flat lock gives my design lines a pop

I found a dress form stand on Amazon and bought a tube of acrylic pipe to complete the height. A word to @acraftteacuppa I wish I’d followed your advice fully and got this before I started as my girl is a little shorter than me because the poles are just not long enough! Well you live and (eventually) you learn.

Now this is when I showed my best slapdash sewist tendencies in that I’ve actually been using the dress form without totally repairing it!

I’ve never blogged this because it wasn’t finished but a couple of days ago SewOver50 posted one made by somebody else. I immediately thought “I’ve done one of these” and it got me thinking that apart from the practical benefits of dress form that is actually made to measure, it also made me be honest about what size I am and as I get used to seeing myself I can make for the size I really am rather than wishing I was a size I used to be 25 years ago.

Venus and Milo

So it’s thanks to Bootstrap Fashions for creating this brilliant pattern and to @acraftteacuppa for inspiring me and to @SewOver50 for reminding me that she needed blogging and sharing.

Have you made one of these, has it had an effect on your sewing or on you? Are you thinking of making one, if you do, make sure to share.

Thanks for stopping by .

About Elaine Batiste

I'm a teacher, a lifelong learner, a traveller, a maker, an adventurer and a 'want to do more' kind of gal.

5 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for your kind comments … don’t think I’ve been an inspiration to anyone before πŸ˜‰ And in turn you just might have inspired me to get back to my blogging! Particularly with this make as it such a game changer in sewing clothes that actually fit as well as the positive body image effect it could have for those that suffer body dismorphia issues. Happy sewing x

    Liked by 1 person

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