A few weeks back, Erica, Amy and I all bought dress forms. The thing is, when you get a dress form, RARELY does it fit your exact dimensions. A custom made dress form will run you well over $1000, so instead, our dear Amy Alan taught Erica and me how to customize our dress forms to fit our proportions perfectly! We love Amy!
She taught us to basically make a fat suit for our dress forms. We would create our body doubles. We laughed about how funny it would be to try on our fat suits on our real bodies (it doesn’t actually work!). Every body is so unique and it was the first time I had ever taken so many measurements of my own body. We began staring into a full length mirror with a tape measure wrapped around every circumference and down every length, writing down numbers. You figure your back length, shoulder width, hip to waist, you name it, it gets measured! After all of our measurements got recorded, we had a mini lesson in draping. The body double consists of one layer of fitted muslin, one layer of batting (the fat) and one more layer of muslin on top. The wonderful thing about this method is that it zips off your dress form, so if you lose or gain weight, you can still use your base form.
The padding was my favorite part. You are literally sculpting your body with high loft batting. It was so interesting. You cut and spray adhesive your batting to build your dimensions. Once this is correctly corresponding to ALL of your measurements, you drape your final muslin over it, sandwiching the batting.
I love my dress form and I use it ALL the time now. Purchasing a dress form is another sewing investment, but one that will make you wonder how you ever lived without it! Amy was such a fabulous teacher and a wealth of information. Any of you who have taken her classes know what I mean. Erica and I insisted that she offer this as a class at MD and she is now! I would have never figured this process out for myself. Thanks Amy! Below, I am including some notes about the class from her:
If you take a look at the class supply list, you will notice that you’ll need a dress form! I would recommend that you use a non-adjustable form. This is because adjustable forms with springs and knobs tend to “jump” back down in size when something tight is draped over them. You are welcome to use one, but you’ll have to use it at its closed, un-adjusted size. This may make the form too small to use though, so let me explain.
When you’re choosing a dress form for the Body Double class, you’ll want one that’s close to your measurements, but just a bit smaller. If it’s measurements are a lot smaller than your body’s curves though, you’ll need to add quite a bit of padding to it. If you add a huge amount of padding, it will take some extra work and batting, because you wouldn’t want your form to be too soft or squishy.
At MD, there are two size 10 forms and three size 12 forms available for you to use during the class. The forms are reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. With the removable Body Double you’ll make in class, even if you don’t have your own form at home, you can always come in and zip it over an MD form and use it during Open Sewing.
To choose what size of dress form to use, check the measurements in the chart below.
Compare the neck, bust, waist and hip measurements. Go with the largest size you can, making sure that none of dress form measurements are larger than your body measurements. For example, I own a size 10 form because it matched my neck circumference. The bust, waist and hip proportions are all much smaller than my own, but that’s okay because I can build all of those up. You can add on to make things bigger, but you can’t make them smaller!
If you have any questions about choosing a form size that’s right for you, you can call the shop or email me at amy at reallyhandmade dot com.