Sunday, February 5, 2012

Half-scale dress form

After discussing half-scale forms with a friend who has one, I decided that it would be nice to have a half-scale dress form with my measurements.  

From the Stash:

  • cotton twill
  • bias tape and zipper
  • poly batting
  • blue camping pad foam
  • shoulder pads

A couple of the major dress form manufacturers make mini dress forms, but mostly in the half-scale of a standard size 8 form. Most of the ones available online started at around $100.  Truly Victorian makes one for $70 they call a demi-form that is a half-scale and fits their demi dress patterns.  Nice to have but not necessary.  I let the idea sit until I saw a small decorative metal dress form at my local Ross.  Apparently decorating with dress forms is in because there were quite a few from small jewelry holders to one that almost looked like a standard size form.  I measured several and found one that seemed like a good approximation of the mini forms I found online.  Most of the online forms had measurements of around 17", 13", 17".  I found a metal one with 18", 13.5", 20".  It is a bit more of a flattened oval than a standard dress form, but since I knew it would be padded anyway it would work for my shape.  The more critical measurements were the length from the shoulder to the waist.  This form had a shoulder to waist length of approximately 10" which is almost exactly half of my shoulder to waist measure.

I have a recent moulage that I made last semester at CCSF.  I've already used the moulage to update and re-pad my Uniquely You form.  I took the paper pattern down to my local copy shop and scanned it in using their large-scale copier, then I reduced that by 50% to get a half scale pattern.

Since muslin stretches it was best to make the cover out a more tightly woven fabric.  I used a white cotton twill and sewed the moulage exactly the same way I would for a full size.  The blue bias tape finished the edges to keep them from unraveling and to prevent them from stretching. 
I used several different materials to pad the metal frame.  Camping pads are a nice firm closed cell foam that made a good base layer.  I wanted the final form to be pinable but firm enough so that it wouldn't distort from draping.  The only area that didn't require any padding was the very bottom of the hip, which was a snug fit to my low hip measurement.

I used shoulder pads to shape the bust and wrapped everything in a layer of thin batting in order to smooth the lines.  It is very important to check the cross section when making a custom form in order to distribute the padding in the correct areas of the body.  Many people can have the same measurements but how their figures are proportioned is what makes the difference in fit.  The best way to check the cross section is to use two t-squares to form a box around the body.  In my case at the waist the box was approximately 12 inches deep and 18 across and my mini form was 6 inches deep and 9 across.

Here's a comparison with my Uniquely You form wearing my current moulage with the mini form wearing a half-scale moulage.  The whole process took about 4 hours from purchasing the form to finishing the padding.
Final half-scale dress form


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