Most of the tutorials for padding a dress form that I found advocate using non-stretch fabric and a paper pattern for the purpose, adjusted to fit your body, that you stuff with filling then spray with water to get it to shrink a bit. Since that’s the sort of fiddly nightmare I bought a dress form to avoid, I’m going to try something else.
In one of the tutorials for the above method the stuffing was done by applying layers of thin batting until the form matches your shape. I figured if did this first I could put a ‘sock’ of stretch fabric on top, pinched in at the sides until it fits snugly.
I started by measuring myself all over again. It was rather dismaying to find I’d put on a bit of weight since I bought the form. I also hadn’t got the body length quite right. I had to crank it out to the maximum – double what you saw in the previous photo.
The trouble with adjustable dress forms is the more you expand them the more gaps there are that you can’t pin to. And they feel a lot less stable. The trouble with most brands is that the next size up starts at 16, so I had to buy the smaller and crank it way open. To combat these problems I decided it would be better to set the form a little smaller than me and pad out more, to counteract this.
So I started applying layers of batting. I traced the cup of an old bra first then cut smaller and smaller pieces to get a smooth shape. I filled in the waist and padded out the hips, then sewed it all together so it wouldn’t fall off in the next stage:
I put the bra on again and decided to leave it there so it would hold the bust padding in place and indicate where bra straps are likely to be. (As you can see, the bust needed a lot more padding. I’d read an 8 on my sheet of measurements as a 3.)
Which was to baste some fleece into a tube and carefully slip it over the form. I then pinched, pinned and basted it together at the sides and up over the shoulders to the neck:
On it went again for some tweaking. Measurements were checked yet again. Once I was sure it was fitting well I overlocked the seams. Here it the sock back on the form:
And with lines:
I was pretty happy with the result. There are a few tweaks I want to make, though. I need to work out how to fix the bottom of the sock in place. I also want to do a silhouette test – take a photo of the form and me next to each other, from the side and front, to see if the padding is in the right place. While the form is the same measurement as me, I suspect there’s padding in the the small of the back that ought to be at the belly.
And the front and back pieces of the form appear to be overlapping at the shoulders, pulled in by the sock. I need to find a way to stop that happening or all my garments will be small at the shoulder and around the armholes.