I current live in London nine months of the year and sew for all twelve months. When I moved to London I decided not to bring my Singer dress form with me because I knew when I went home for visits brining it with me would be an issue (that and it wouldn’t fit in the car on the drive up to London). I decided on buying a cheap non adjustable dress form off Amazon instead which I would keep in London and have my adjustable form for at home. As im sure many of you know non adjustable dresss forms are a pain as they’re never quite your exact measurements. I shopped around a little bit and eventually decided on a Size 8/10 Dress Form with the intention of padding it up. I’ve lost a lot of weight in the past year (still losing weight now) and I currently sit between a size 10 and 12 so the 8/10 size seamed perfect to pad up and eventually take away from (the padding) in order to best suit my size.
Here is the process on how I went about doing just that!
Materials you’ll need,
•Dress form (size smaller SUGGESTED) Ideally the dress form should have a cover too.
•1 meter of thin quilt batting, I found 1m was enough for me but depending on how much you have to add you may need more. Alternatively you could use thinker batting but I found the thinner batting easier to work with as you could create more gradual shapes.
•Dressmaker pins (these are the metal ones without colourful tips on the end)
•plastic wrap (optional)
•Felt tip pen
•Silicon bust filler (optional, you can just use an old bra)
•Your measurements! Please write them down somewhere so they’re easy to access while padding.
I started with the bust area and then worked my way down to the waist and hips.
Because the bust needed filling the most I bought a silicone bust filler to help keep the shape correct (you can also use an old bra!). First I traced the general shape of the bust filler onto quilt batting,
Through trial and error and lots of re pinning every five seconds I found that I needed two layers of batting under the bust filler as well as two layers of the batting continuing around my back in order to meet my bust circumference.
It’s really important to keep checking your measurements as your going.
I then set about patterning the area under the bust, this took some refining… Thankfully the thinner quilt batting does have some stretch to it which makes it so much easier to manipulate over curves.
I was actually quite surprised by how easy things were going! I used my measuring tape to ensure things would be symmetrical. Most of my pattern pieces consisted of front bust, back bust, front waist, back waist etc…
I was really lucky and found that doubling the quilt batting for all of my patterns resulted in my measurements.
The back looked like this,
Make sure that you match where the batting should meet perfectly! Otherwise little gaps can appear and the dress form won’t be as smooth.
I continued with the hips which I decided to make into two large sections (following my previous pattern work) rather than splitting it up. There wasn’t as much shape to curve around and the batting wrapped around perfectly!
Next I patterned above the bust on the front and back.
The bust front was a bit more of an awkward shape and I do recommend using lots of pins to keep the batting in place and to ensure it lays flat!
You can see I used a lot of pins here!!!
At this point you are kind of done although if you want to you can cover the quilt batting in plastic wrap. This will help ‘set’ the batting and hold it in place as well as keep pins from moving too much.
I do recommend getting a friend or family member to help with this so you can apply the wrap as tight as possible.
That step is optional!! If you want to throw the cover back on straight away you can do that too!
Speaking of covers, this is what mine looked like when complete!
The sharpie is visible on the quilt batting through the cover, this could be fixed by trimming away these fibers before putting the cover on. In all honesty I wasn’t bothered by it and it won’t be something I change until I alter the dress form again. Maybe I’ll dye my cover lilac, that would be cute…
So what do you think! Is it something you’d look into knowing dress forms can be altered cheaply? I literally spent £1 on the quilt batting for this project, everything else I had in my room. It’s certainly something to look into! Do tell me if you use this tutorial or find it useful!
Spring break is a week away for me now and I’ve finished all of my work for the term so I’m looking forward to a stressless week ahead!
I’m really happy my dress form is accurate to my measurements now and its made me a lot more motivated for making things again! I’m hoping to take a huge step forward with my ballgown over the spring break but we’ll see how that goes with my work shifts again. I do want to get the new petticoat made and I plan to make a new corset when I’m back in London for my third term.
I keep you all update that’s for sure!
Thanks for reading,