Friday, April 19, 2013

Altering a Dress Form for Long Torsos - Tall Dress Form

I'm sure anyone who is taller than average or has a long torso can relate to the frustration I've felt when buying clothing, sewing with commercial patterns, or finding a dress form to use when altering / test fitting clothing.  Adjustable forms sold at fabric stores offer the ability to change girth, and some are even able to adjust back length (with a change made at the waist), which helps, but doesn't solve the full problem.  There's also the issue of extra length above the bust line (which is why store-bought empire waist shirts/dresses or anything with a defined waistline, like jackets and coats, never work for me -- one of the main reasons I wanted to learn to make my own clothes).

After much searching online I found a jersey covered, fiberglass dress form with somewhat realistic measurements (which were actually very close to my own).  It looked something like this:

[I don't have a full step-by-step since I purchased this dress form and did the initial alteration about 9 years ago.]  I knew it needed to be elongated in two different places so, after removing the cover, I marked a line around the chest above the bust and at the waistline.


Then a took out the hack saw and had at it.  I admit I felt strange sawing away at something that resembled a human form...

After the from was cut, I spaced out the pieces using some things I had around the house -- big Glue Dots and a somewhat rigid plastic folder.  I cut the folder into wide tabs long enough to overlap between the pieces of the from and space the pieces out as much as I needed.  I used the big Glue Dots to attach the tabs to the inside of the form.

Cat on a Limb-1030.jpg
Inside the dress form (at the neck)
When that was done I used strips of muslin dipped in plaster of paris to wrap around and solidify the extensions.  After letting it dry for a few days I added some batting for padding on a few areas to make it my  measurements, and put the cover back on.

Over the years and after two kids, my body changed a little bit, so I needed to change the padding (take away in some areas, add in others).  I also decided to sew a new cover and re-stain the wooden tripod base.   I'm much happier with the form now. :)

Dress Form Alteration 4

Dress Form Alteration 3

Dress Form Alteration 1

Dress Form Alteration 2

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4 comments:

  1. I know you will never see this comment - the post is over a year old - but I NEVER considered cutting a form apart to lengthen it. GENIUS!

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  2. This is exactly my problem - plus I'm a pear shape with a slipping back to front waist. Not sure if I can do it with my form, which is adjustable and has a metal of up the middle, though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's a sloping waist and a metal rod! Published before I could correct.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Amazing that you had the idea and the courage to do this. Chapeau!

    ReplyDelete

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