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DIY - Dressform

For a long time I have searched and compared, but I again and again had to realize, that it will be difficult for me to find a dressform, which does not belong to the pro section and the associated price class. So what to do now?

It is really important for me to have the bust point in the right place and I also want to be able to adjust my dressform to my somewhat oblique body posture. Additionally I want my dressform to have shoulders, because that’s the area I do have the most difficulties with. All sewing patterns with sleeves simply won’t fit.

And since I also do have the second book by Guido Hofenbitzer for some time now (title: “Maßschnitte und Passform -Schnittkonstruktion für Damenmode”, volume 2) and there is a wonderful instruction for self-building your own dressform in it, I was willing to ultimately give it a try. Why not? 😉

Here you can find the video tutorial and for those who do not have the book I’m going to list the needed material, at least what I needed, a bit later in this post.

This is the link to the YouTube-video from Verlag Europa-Lehrmittel: https://youtu.be/bLT6vsfkkkI (sadly it is only in german, but maybe even seeing what you have to do might help. If not and you really want to to give it a try too, send me an email with your questions and I’ll try to help the best I can.

What do you need:
– wet adhesive tape (paper), width 3 – 4cm (for size 34-38, one roll is enough)
– plastic wrap + some rich oil-based cream
– fan heater (very helpful)
– strong scissors (best with dull tip)
– 2 or 4 strong braces for hanging
– lumber-core plywood, approx. 50x25cm
– round wooden rod (22mm, suitable for my doll’s stand from Dummydoll , although they write: ø about 2,5cm, the inner ø is only 2,2cm , so that the size your round rod needs to have to fit in)
– saw (a workbench would certainly have been practical, but we do not have one)
– hole drills (suitable for the rod diameter)
– tacker, short nails, pole nails (I just needed the tacker)
– water level
– foam flakes (or filling of 2 cheap pillows – 80x80cm – by Ikea)
– thin volume fleece
– spray adhesive
– tubular jersey with elastic
– masking tape 3mm for curves (also contours, or similar)

Oh yes… and you need at least one helper (the more the better)! You can’t do it alone.

I am not going to writing an instruction for how to do it, since the video, or the book explains everything very good, I just like to share the things I have changed and what kind of experiences I made during the production here.

Here my tips and experiences:

Making the form:
For this you have to stand very long and motionless, sadly my circulation wasn’t that good and right before the end (my friend was already cutting the form open) I collapsed. Result: My form unfortunately got a lot of unnecessary bumps, which I all had to fix again. So please make sure that you have something to drink and perhaps something to eat and/or glucose at hand, so that you can save yourself from this extra work. 😉

You’ll have to correct little bumps anyway after you get out of the form, but certainly not that much. It is additionally advisable to correct these bumps immediately, as long as the form is not yet completely dried, just because it is much easier. Otherwise, you have to moisten the form again to be able to do so.

Correct the body measurements of your form:
The book says that you should remove 0.5cm at the center back, the center front, and at both sides. Thats because the form has been created around you and so it is already bigger than you, to which later comes the upholstery (volume fleece) and the cover (jersey). In order to reduce the circumference of your form, you have to cut it open again. One side after the other, then remove 0.5 cm, and then IMMEDIATELY close the form with your wet adhesive tape again. My tip: Reduce your form at the waist a little more (see video), because I have kept to the 0.5cm as mentioned in the book and the waist of my doll is now somewhat wider than me. *grumble*

Attach your form to the stand:
Oh dear what an act, but I was simply too stingy to get me a proper dressform stand with ball rod. 😉 But still I wanted my doll to be at least nearly as tall as I am and not significantly larger. So I expanded the hole in the bottom plate to 2.5cm with sandpaper so that it also fits over the metal frame of my doll’s stand and I can slide my doll over till the wooden part of my stand.

Sew the cover:
Just pull the tubular elastic jersey over your doll and pin so that the fabric fits perfectly around the form. Then remove the tubular elastic jersey carefully from the doll again and sew as pined. That’s what the book says.
Hmmmm, but what if you are a little asymmetric, like me? If you turn the cover to “dress” the doll, everything is mirrored. That can’t be right. So I took the trouble to pin everything to the other side. For this I have turned the fabric to the right side, marked the pinned “seams” with tailor’s chalk and then transferred all darts to the other side. Unfortunately this is a bit time consuming, but I find the effort was worth it. 🙂

Or what do you think? Here is my dressform in the different stages.
By the way… the ball on the top is a black lacquered wood finish for attaching to curtain rods. 😉