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Tips & Techniques > Padding a dress form.... easy method

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Posted by: donaleen

About donaleen
Member since: 4/6/09
Reviews: 14 (tips: 7)
Skill level:Intermediate
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Posted on: 3/12/11 9:51 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 3 people   Very Helpful by 18 people   
I have a standard Wolf dress form that worked pretty well for me... in my thirties. Now I've put on a bit of padding. Since I know that the dress form fit me once, I just needed some additional padding on the form. I used strips of warm and natural quilt batting and just wrapped the dress form, overlapping the strips, kind of like you'd wrap a mummy. The overlapping strips allowed me to build up some areas more than others. When I had the right measurements I covered it very simply with stretchy cotton lycra, using straight pins to keep it in place. If I need to, it's very easy to make adjustments or even take it all off.

I don't know that my method would work for taliored garments but I don't make tailored garments. I just want something I can use to alter patterns, either to implement design changes or size alterations. I can also use it for simple draping. It was fun to do and it didn't take much time.

Update: This padded dress form is working very well. I would recommend taking a few more measurements than I did. I did put too much padding in the area between the bust and waist. Easy to fix, though.

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MSpilner said... (7/24/11 7:08 AM) Reply
THis is just was I was about to do! I have some batting and I just bought a dress form that goes to size...except that I dn't have much of a waist! Good to see a way to accomplish this easily! Thanks
SewSewFunny said... (5/25/11 12:04 PM) Reply
I like this idea! Unfortunately, I was unable to purchase a true dress form of any kind, due to lack of funds, but I was able to purchase a t-shirt model on a stand from a local Goodwill for about $9. It's a size 4, and I'm a 14-16, but I padded her (with poly-fill stuffing and shopping bags) and put my old college t-shirt (tight) over her. I will have to re-do her with your suggestions. Strips of natural quilt batting and stretch lycra is a much better idea! Plus, she's ready to go for a natural form for regular clothing, enhanced form for theatre and even a corseted look for my re-enactment gear! Thank you!
mkeith said... (3/26/11 11:19 AM) Reply
Good tip - I pad my dress forms but I use a T shirt over it, I am going to try the cotton lycra
donaleen said... (3/17/11 11:07 AM) Reply
I thought about doing a sloper but I kept putting if of because I don't enjoy drafting slopers and working with them. I did enjoy the wrapping process. And I like how my wrapped form looks. I never liked how slopers looked. And especially not for my padded soft body. This wrapping process made me feel better about how I look. The sloper method wouldn't have. These days I find myself avoiding doing things I don't enjoy and finding alternative methods that i DO enjoy. This one worked for me so I thought I would share it.
leandam said... (3/17/11 2:13 AM) Reply
Kenneth King's moulage drafting produces a pretty accurate "skin" that you make in muslin or calico and if you put that over the dummy and pad it up to size it works very well.
donaleen said... (3/14/11 12:46 PM) Reply
I don't know that it wouldn't work. The way I did it was pretty quick and I didn't take a lot of measurements. I think you would have to be more measurement conscious than I was. I think you can make any dress form smaller than you work. The length measurements need to be right, too (back waist length, etc... you can't change those. I am having a lot of fun with my padded dress form.
catsmeow said... (3/14/11 0:43 AM) Reply
This is a really great tip! I have fallen between two sizes of dress forms and didn't know which one would be best. Why do you think padding the form would not work for tailored garments?
elsew said... (3/13/11 1:51 PM) Reply
I've been looking at the dress form that my Mom got me when I was 16 - that was way over 60 years ago. I've kept 'her' around in my sewing room and now after this review she is getting bands of warm and natural and changing her measurements so I can put that gal to work for me. Thanks so much for this great tip.
SandiMacD said... (3/13/11 9:37 AM) Reply
I think you have made a very valuable discovery. I bought a form for my aging measurements. It does not fit. I still have small shoulders. There is still a flat tummy and butt in the form but a wider hip and tummy measurement in the sides. I wish I had gone with a smaller form and padded up. I do use it OK for my husband or loose draping but am thinking if getting a smaller one for me. I lost weight and now the hips can't go smaller because the tummy area screws won't let it. Buying a smaller form and padding is a better way to go. Great review!
tatica said... (3/13/11 8:28 AM) Reply
Thanks for the tip. I'll try it right away.
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