If, like me, you often surf the world on Pinterest for DIY inspiration you may have come across pictures of made-to-measure dressforms. I was intrigued by this, as an avid sew-er and maker I had considered buying myself a mannequin for dress making but had stopped myself for 2 reasons;
1. I am thinner than an average dressform so I wouldn't get garments to fit properly by working on a standard sized one.
2. They are blinking expensive! Especially the adjustable ones and as much as I love to sew, I could not justify paying so much for a dress form.
So, what you'll need
1. Strong tape, I used Poundland's "reinforced tape" (I used five of the six rolls that I bought)
2. A cheap t-shirt that you don't mind losing
5. A willing volunteer to attack you with tape.
So I hit Poundland and bought 6 rolls of their "reinforced tape"
I then looked out an old t-shirt that I didn't mind sacrificing.
The only other thing that you'll need is a willing volunteer, armed with a pair of scissors, to cover you in tape - G was more than willing.
We started from the bottom, and went from front to back with enough tape to go halfway around my body to keep the tape smooth. (also, I have just noticed how ridiculously boney my wrists are! ew!)
I apologise that there are no photos of the way that we did the top half - Professor Brian Cox's "Science Britannica" was on at the time and we were both engrossed while covering me in tape.
Allow me to explain just how we did the top half though - as we got to just under the bust line we then started using smaller pieces of tape and from the middle of my bust at the front started putting on the tape on so that it formed a semi-circle shape across my chest if that makes sense? Like when kids draw a sunset and then have the rays going around the sun? If you are still following me, that was how we tackled my chest and then placed more tape, again in smaller sections (about 6"), horizontally to reinforce the structure across the front. For the back, G placed tape vertically to overlap with the bottom half, again he then placed more on horizontally to reinforce the structure.
As we got to the more tricky parts (i.e. neck and arm-holes) we used very small sections of tape (about 3") and we just used those to join up the arms and neck to the rest of the body, using smaller sections makes it much more manageable to get around curves and contours of the body.
We then went over the body for a second time, crossing over the tape so that it made the structure a bit more sturdy.
Then get your volunteer to carefully cut up the back of your t-shirt and tape combination and then take it off. this was the point of which G was surprised that it actually held up the shape and stayed true to my body shape!
Tape the back together again, being careful to make sure that it isn't overlapping or that a gap has been left between each side.
Then I placed my form over some cardboard and traced around the form, cut out the card board and, yep, you guessed it, taped that on. The arm holes and neck were a little more tricky - so I just freehanded inserts for those and trimmed them where necessary - don't tape them all up though! Leave the neck open for now!
I used a combination of torn and scrunched up magazine paper and toy stuffing, keep stuffing it until it feels totally solid as you don't want it to lose shape when you start using it properly. Once that is done, tape up the neck.
Once you are all taped up that is you! I am currently still on the lookout for something to use as a sturdy base but aside from that this was a great project! I'm going to get tonnes of use out of it and it cost me £6, an old t-shirt and an hour and a half of my time. Not a bad deal if you ask me!
Would you give this a go to save on some cash?