Posted by on Jan 21, 2015 in Lessons, Sewing | Comments Off on DIY Dressform – Part 2

Last time, I showed you how to make a body double with only a t-shirt and duct tape. Today, you’ll learn how to turn that body double into the pattern you’re going to use to make a dressform.

Of all the steps in this process, this is likely the easiest. There are few difficult sections, and all of them are at the beginning. Let’s start with the materials you’ll need today:

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You won’t need the muslin, stuffing, or fabric scissors that are pictured. I took that picture when I thought this was only a two-step process. I was wrong. Though this is the least time-consuming of the steps, if I put it together with creating the dressform, this post would be far too long.

You will need the following:

Your body double – if you haven’t done the first step, you can’t do this one.

A stand – you will want something for your dressform to be placed on. Because there’s no solid centre, I recommend putting it on a stand. For this demonstration, I’m using my existing, adjustable stand that came with my dressform. If you don’t have one, you can improvise. On my old costuming blog, I show how I made a stand using a flower pot, a large dowel, and plaster. Try that, or tell me your other solutions. If you are making a stand, don’t do it until after you make this pattern because you’ll need to have the pole easily moved around.

Paper – You’ll need enough pattern paper to go around you

Pencil, seam allowance tool, eraser, paper scissors

Okay, the first three pattern pieces are the hardest. If you can get through those, you’ll have no problem with the rest.

Use a few pieces of duct tape to close the back of the double. Then stand it up on your paper. Standing up, here, translates to, “hold it up with one of your hands.”

2015-01-08 14.16.20You will then trace around the base that the body double creates while you’ve got it propped up.

2015-01-08 14.16.26The resulting, not-quite-an-actual-shape will not be pretty, but it will give you something to go on.

2015-01-08 14.18.08Now, you’ll take your pencil and smooth out the lines. Your result will be kind of a lopsided almond shape. There’s no prescribed way to do this, just use your eyes to figure it out.

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Estimate the centre and put the tip of your stand there.

2015-01-08 14.21.39Trace around the top of the stand.

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Using your seam allowance tool, trace around the outside of the stand circle then around the rest of the piece.

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Label this pattern piece so that you know where the front and back are.

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Measure around the stand you’ve chosen and measure down to where it’s at the same height as your butt.

2015-01-08 14.58.28For me, it was 3″ in diameter and 6.5″ down. Draw a rectangle one-half inch larger than each of these dimensions (3.5″ x 7″ for me) and add a seam allowance.

2015-01-08 14.59.37Now, stand your body double up on its neck. Look down through the base and trace around the neck hole.

2015-01-08 14.24.46Again, this will result in a really strange, wobbly shape.

2015-01-08 14.25.45You’ll eye out an almond-shape again. Label the points so you know which is front and which is back.

2015-01-08 14.26.41Make a seam allowance around the piece.

2015-01-08 14.27.31Now, cut the body double up the two centre vertical lines you labeled. Make sure you know which side is left and which is right. If it helps, you should write it on the shirt side of the body double.2015-01-08 14.28.51Stand one of the sides up and trace the armhole like you have the other two.

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For the love of all that is good, label the front and back of this piece too.

For the love of all that is good, label the front and back of this piece too.

Congratulations! You’ve finished the hard part! It’s all downhill from here.

You’ll probably notice that there is quite a bit of extra fabric at the bottom of the body double. That comes from layering the lengthening muslin on top of the t-shirt.

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Cut as much as you can off without exposing the duct tape.

2015-01-08 14.33.55Cut up the line you marked up the side. You’ll notice the resulting pieces are most likely no longer straight. That’s ok. That’s what we’re going for. Curved pattern pieces equal curved completed items.

2015-01-08 14.35.53If you guessed that you were going to cut up the curved lines on both these pieces next, you were right!

2015-01-08 14.43.10Real talk time: it is very, very, very, VERY important that you label these pattern pieces correctly. If you don’t, the dressform will come out wrong. I labelled them as:

  • Left Front Side
  • Left Front Centre
  • Right Front Centre
  • Right Front Side
  • Right Back Side
  • Right Back Centre
  • Left Back Centre
  • Left Back Side

Trace each of these pattern pieces, label them, then draw their seam allowance.

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Trace the sections of your body double until you’ve done the whole thing.

2015-01-08 14.57.25Now, I had a piece where the t-shirt folded under the tape, so the piece wasn’t quite secured. The result was something that looked like this:

2015-01-08 14.48.27To fix this. Just fold the fabric up until the tape comes back together.

2015-01-08 14.49.09I trace around it then corrected for the resulting fold of fabric before I made the seam allowance.

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Okay! You’ve now made a dressform pattern. Friday, we make it!

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