DIY Dress Form Part 4 – A little bit lumpy

So I’m done. And I have mixed feelings. But before I go into that, I will document the rest of the process.

My last post ended with me having cut the fabric for the main body pieces. After that it was just a matter of sewing it up, and I didn’t really need to check the instructions for it as by that point I’d made two mock ups and watched countless videos about it.

Before actually sewing I did make sure to spend some extra time basting all of my pieces together first. This honestly wasn’t as time consuming as I thought it would be and was really helpful, especially as the markings on my fabric were done in a thick pen so I had to make sure that I was sewing on the inside of that line. Basting was even more important for the places with a lot of curve, such as the under bust, neck and arms. I would not have been able to get a good finish without it.

I sewed the project using Gutterman Sew all and size 100 needle which helped my machine go through the fabric really easily. I always worry about thicker fabrics, but it was really no problem. In fact, the bits that were difficult to sew were the bits that weren’t interfaced. I did need a bit more than the one spool of thread that I bought, so I ended up using non matching thread for places that wouldn’t be seen such as the quilting on the inside piece.

Whilst I did work quite hard to make sure everything was right and matching, I didn’t get everything perfect. The ideal situation would be one where every seam matches up, but obviously this is hard to achieve, even with basting, so there are a few discrepancies. I decided not to redo the seams because I was sewing at a 2mm stitch length and it would have been really frustrating to unpick everything. I’m not super bothered by the slight mismatch because it will end up being covered by twill tape, but it is a reminder to me to get my hands on some clover fork pins for all of my future garments!

Not quite

You might be wondering about the twill tape. There’s an optional step to zig zag over the seams to mark the pattern lines. This can look really good, especially when done in a contrast colour. It can also look really bad, especially when done in a contrast colour. I decided to forgo the zig zag partially because I didn’t trust myself to make sure it looked really good and partially because I couldn’t be bothered to change the colour of my thread. Traditional dress forms usually have a bit of twill tape around the waist so I thought that twill tape would be good to mark all of the fitting lines on this dress form. I could have sewed the twill tape on before stuffing, but I watched this video by THISISKATCHI and the ribbon that she used ended up digging into the dress form when she stuffed it, so I decided to hand sew it after the dress form was finished. I haven’t gotten around to doing it yet, but I’m glad I waited as I plan on making a few adjustments which would have messed it all up anyway.

I bought a cheap sponge from Wilko to stuff the neck (I actually bought two but I only used one). The height of one was about 2/3rds of the neck height, but I just put two of the cylinders that I cut on top of each other and stuffed it in. It’s a sponge, so it squished in fine! I think it only cost me about 80p.

For stuffing I took apart an old duvet. This was actually a really cheap way of getting stuffing, the duvet stuffing filled a large black bin bag and I used a significant portion of it. It would have gotten really expensive to buy that much stuffing.

The stuffing is where I feel like I messed up the most. I did it over one episode of Strictly so I wasn’t paying much attention as I was doing it and I was definitely rushing. I did it on the floor and I think that that lead to some of my stuffing coming out uneven. I think that next time I’ll do the stuffing whilst the dress form is on the post, that way I can spin it around to make sure I get it more even.

I made sure to measure as I was stuffing the form, but one of this issues with stuffing is that it does expand. As such, the places where I stuffed the form more firmly (such as the bust) match my measurements, but the places where it was less firm (such as the waist) actually measure larger. There’s also excess fabric at the waist which makes it look wrinkly which I’m not too happy with.

The only other thing that I wanted to mention was the stand and the pipe. The pipe was bought from BnQ for about £2 and is just a plastic pipe that I cut to size. I thought it would take me ages to find a stand that I liked, but I actually got mine from ebay for around £18 and, whilst it’s a bit too lightweight, I really like how professional it looks!

So yeah, it’s sort of done but there’s a few things left to do, first I need to take in the waist, then restuff it more carefully and finally sew the twill tape in. That probably wont be done for a while as I actually have another project that I’m working on that I would like to finish first. The dress form has already come in handy for that actually, it enabled me to fit the back of bodice, so I’m super chuffed that I have it. It did make me really uncomfortable looking at it at first, but I’ve gotten used to it! Overall this project probably hit around £55-60 once you account for all of the thread, muslins and zips. The cheapest non-homemade option on original list was the adjustoform, which you can’t get for less than £100 so I’ve definitely saved money and I feel like I’ve got a better product because my form is closer to my body and also pinnable.

A little bit lopsided too

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