The Sewing Place

Personalising a adjustable dress form


Personalising a adjustable dress form
« on: June 11, 2020, 10:27:21 AM »
I am enquiring if anyone can give some advice.
I have a adjustable dress form which my hubby bought as a gift, I have tried various different methods to personalise the shape, all complete failures ( padding(too soft and squishy) adding rice for heavier saggy bits ;), duct tape outer skin, bra and padding). I have recently had a renewed interest in trying to deal with it as its just gathering dust. I have quite a varied shape and it needs quite an enlargement even though it is a larger one. Any suggestions, I really want to use the form as a base as I do not want to upset hubby as he spent quite a bit on it and tried to be thoughtful but am lost.
I saw the bootstrap patterns but it does say not for use on an existing form. I also looked at moulages but can't find any free instructions with equations and I am hoping not to spend to much more on this.
So please any suggestions or links would be gratefully received, there must be plenty of people out there that has the same issue. Thank you


Re: Personalising a adjustable dress form
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2020, 10:48:05 AM »
@Elnnina!!!! Where are you?!?!?!?!

@Tia it seems you can either have use or ornament but not both necessarily. 0_0 If you really want a mini you it entails lots of tape and vest and old bras and curtain weights..... Elnnina'll sort you right out. She's been working on me for a while now.  0_0

Welcome to the site.  :drink: :cake:
Harbouring resentment is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die!


Re: Personalising a adjustable dress form
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2020, 12:46:53 PM »
I would make up the bootstrap pattern, put it on your dress form and pad it out.


Re: Personalising a adjustable dress form
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2020, 13:05:32 PM »
Wrenkins I am here!!!! and am ready and willing to help Tia.

So hello Tia, all is not lost with your dress stand.  First of all you need to close this right down to the smallest it will go and thus this will stop any wadding etc. from falling through.  Next may I suggest you try and get some stockingette from Halfords, they come in two sizes a smallish amount and a huge great roll.  The smaller one will be sufficient as this is going to be used to hold the wadding in place.  Next do you have a particular garment that fits you well or is in fact beginning to strain over certain parts of your body?  Are you prepared to sacrifice this for the time being?

So you will need to have accurate measurements taken, in particular from mid shoulder to the bust point, and across the upper chest - so armhole to armhole.  Do you also have a bra that you are willing to donate to your dress stand, one that is right for you, gives you support and shape.

So things you will need are stockingette, plenty of thick wadding, the polyester type that is all lofty not the American batting, some really thick string of curtain weights, the thicker the better - I got mine from Merrick and Day up in Lincolnshire v(this is my own method for marking CF, CB, Shoulders, Underarm seam, Princess Seams). and some old M&S ribbed Thermal vests, or ribbed T shirts.

So I presume you know the areas which are going to need padding out.  I literally wrapped the wadding around my stand, sometimes this was several layers, and this is held in place by stockingette.  (Now to be honest with you I was wrapped a good few years ago now, and this initial wadding was to stop the wrapped duplicate of me from wobbling on a much smaller and closed up stand.  somewhere in the middle of mine is a dry cleaners polythene bag, so I can easily slip my duplicate off if I want to.  I have also used some old, and I mean old and tatty Marks and Spencer's Men's thermal vests, one on top of another and some have wadding inserted between the layers as I have put on a colossal amount of weight since I was wrapped.  These M&S vests are long and ribbed, and the ribbing helps to show where the CB and CF are, get this straight and then the top one has the string of curtain weights sewn on and thus I can feel where it is when working with the stand  as you cannot see through fabric generally.)   So back to wrapping the wadding around in order to try and replicate the size and shape of you.  Once you are getting near to the size you are put the bra on and get it positioned so it is giving you the same measurement mid shoulder to bust point, and then start stuffing the bra as much as you can to replicate your bust, try and make it as hard as you can.  If you haven't got any ribbed T shirts or vests, then the stockingette will have to do but it will not be easy to see the crucial CB and CF lines.  I have found that I can get stuffing in between the M&S vests and poke it to where I want it via the armhole, and I have just unearthed my cooking chop sticks which are quite thick, and a brand new wooden spatula to try and get into a smallish space via the armholes.  Now once I was reasonably happy with the amount of wadding and vests on and had my curtain weights sewn in place, I then tried on one of my toiles that I had been making recently as I knew that this fitted me.  This toile is a shoulder princess line that I have been messing about with for ages trying to get this just right for my particular shape, very large bust and a very large egg shaped abdomen.  I then pinned the front together and positioned this over the CF ridge that I could feel, did the same with the CB, and then I could see where else I needed to push in more wadding (I still need to push in some more in certain places.)  This toile is just about straining on the stand which is what I wanted - I know the toile is a good fit on me and I feel comfortable in it, so my idea is that if it is straining on the stand I can pin tightly  into her when fitting and this will  ensure I have my ease - so I can move and breathe.

Now one advantage of the string of curtain weights, I have an assortment of funny little things fastened to the dangling ends and these act like a plumb weight and keeps the string  straight so again I can see from underneath where the lines are.

Now trying to pad your own stand out is not going to be a five minute job, it may take many days or weeks, and by continually measuring  yourself and then where you are on the stand until you get enough wadding where you need it and get this secure.  (I just raided initially my husband's old M&S vests, may be five or so first time around, then I found I liked wearing these M&S vests myself they are long and come down over my rear and really keep the cold out, only I did not like the highish round neck, so I doctored these to suit me  by carefully taking of the originally neckband, cutting this in half lengthwise, and then cutting the vest neckline down by 5/8" and applying a much narrower neckband so mine look like ladies scooped neck T shirts.  I cannot say how many I know have on my stand, but there are a lot plus the wadding and all of this has given a lovely smooth surface that I can pin into very tightly.  The vests are all ribbed, some slightly different in the ribbing, but they are ribbed, and it is so easy to pull them into place to get a straight CB and CF line.)

I also have a reasonably chunky chain necklace around the neck - this is to show where I want a jewelled  neckline to be.

Now just recently I was pinning tissue onto mine, I had already drawn on the tissue the CF lines, where I like my side seams (they have to hang straight), the beginnings of the lower armhole and the beginnings of the shoulder seam, the neck line, so with the tissue pinned in place at CF, CB, side seams and at the neck edge of the shoulder, I then started smoothing the tissue paper across the upper chest towards the armhole, and sort of stopping mid shoulder line, and then smoothing again from the armhole and a natural wave of tissue just formed for a shoulder dart aimed at the bust point, I then pinned this in place and it looked good.  I then turned my attention to the underarm dart and did the same and the wave of surplus tissue just fell in to place, and it astounded me at how easy that had been.  I am now in the throes of this tissue being the pattern for a summer robe - I have the darts stitched in place and again placed on the stand and it looks right so I am pleased.

I hope that this has encouraged you to have a go, and please feel free to come back to me for more help.  Dare I ask whereabouts you are in the UK, you never know someone else on TSP may live near you and could help.

Good luck - and thank you Wrenkins for singing my praises - I am still waiting for that  extremely loud yell from over the water!!!!!!!!!!


Re: Personalising a adjustable dress form
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2020, 14:43:30 PM »


Re: Personalising a adjustable dress form
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2020, 16:28:15 PM »
Thank you Elnnina, I will have another go at it. I clearly did not do enough wrapping and making it tight.


Re: Personalising a adjustable dress form
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2020, 16:29:56 PM »
Thank you Morgan as well.


Re: Personalising a adjustable dress form
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2020, 16:53:04 PM »
I am in Cornwall.


Re: Personalising a adjustable dress form
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2020, 18:27:13 PM »
Hello again Tia, not knowing which specific parts of the body you are having trouble in fitting, may I make a few more suggestions.

There is an excellent DVD available called Full Busted by Marta Alto of Palmer/ Pletsch.  Now the Palmer/Pletsch people have produced some patterns under the McCalls label, so on the pattern envelope right up at the top and under the McCalls name they have the name also of Palmer Pletsch. Now referring to the DVD Marta says they have had printed on their patterns the extra lines needed to be able to do a full bust adjustment, and you just steadily work through this.  Now when I got my copy of Full Busted, I combed the DVD very closely looking for the pattern numbers of the garments Marta was using, quite a few have now been discontinued, but are available if you go hunting for them on line in the USA.  So far I have not had to pay any Customs Charges over here for them.  I also go for the Factory Folded/uncut versions, sometimes the envelope might be a little marked or torn, but the pattern tissue itself is still as it was when it left the factory.

Marta also makes reference to an excellent book called Fit for Real People, and this is an excellent book on showing you how to do tissue fitting.  An up to date copy was issued I believe last year.  Marta and Pati Palmer really do believe in tissue fitting and they make it look so very easy.  I find I often watch Marta’s DVD, you can stop and rewind just as much as you need to, and  I have also been following her step by step it really helped me no end.  In fact the more I watch this DVD the more I understand exactly what she is doing.

McCalls also in the last few years issued two new Palmer/Pletsch  patterns, one for a shoulder princess line dress, and one for an armhole princess line dress.  The shoulder princess dress pattern number is McCalls 7352 and covers sizes 6 up to 22 all in one envelope and it says on the front of the envelope ‘with alteration lines printed on the tissue’.  The other one the armhole princess is  McCalls 7169 and comes in group sizes and again this pattern will have the crucial alteration lines printed on them.

If you happen to have some McCalls patterns already that have the Palmer Pletsch name on the front of the envelope as well have a look to see whether they have some of these extra lines printed on them.  I do not know when they started printing these extra lines, but it has certainly helped.  There is also a part in Fit for Real People by Marta telling you the equipment you really need to use for this tissue fitting lark, and believe me it is worth getting these bits and bobs and not to try taking sort cuts by using other stuff.

Despite now having my own personal dress stand I still make up a toile of what I am wanting to make and this is in calico.  I make sure I use a soft feeling calico as sometimes the much stiffer calico is really no good and very uncomfortable when trying on for fitting.  Making toiles for me is essential and I really do not mind making two or three of the same garment in order to get it just how I am wanting this to be.  It is not really wasteful as the previous toiles can be taken apart and used up for other things.

I do hope this has helped a little.  Yes do go and look at the clip that Morgan has highlighted for you, Hevsi was a member of the forerunner to TSP, and how she padded out her dress stand was excellent.

Just seen that you are in Cornwall, a beautiful place.


Re: Personalising a adjustable dress form
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2020, 22:33:00 PM »
@Morgan  Ooh, Hevsi! That was a blast from the past.. A very pleasant one I hasten to add.


Re: Personalising a adjustable dress form
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2020, 17:32:57 PM »
 :toast: Hello, I just wanted to say thank you for all of you that helped with my dressform adjustments, the information was very very helpful. I persevered and am pleased to say that despite my frustration at not being able to get what I needed and I learned to make do ( I used some thin foam carpet underlay in the end), I have succeeded in (almost) replicating me, some tiny measurements are out but do not seem to make a difference in fitting, ( I had it nailed and then some how it would change overnight), it took me weeks but it was well worth it. The only thing I have not managed to do well was a calico cover to fit over it,( that is for another month), I managed to find some thin ribbed jersey which I stretched over as tightly as I could and sewed into place. So BIG THANK YOU!!!!!



Re: Personalising a adjustable dress form
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2020, 17:54:19 PM »
So glad that you have persevered with this, if you are happy with the resulting shape/shapes, and it is working for you then that is the main thing.  Your final cover can be anything you like really, I just happen at the moment to still have this calico toile in place and that has shoulder princess seams.  Sometimes just to cover her up as she is not a pretty sight is to throw a huge square flimsy scarf over her and that covers her up nicely.

Have fun now with your fitting, hope it works for you.