Posted in sewing

From moulage to custom dress form: I finally finished the project!

img_3860There’s nothing like a customized dress form that reflects your body precisely back to you to make you feel a bit like a real designer. I’d like to think that now that I have finally finished my customization project that everything I sew for myself from here on in will fit better. We’ll see. Anyway, I finally have Gloria Junior finished and what a work of art she is! When I wrote about my doppelgänger before as I began this project, I came to terms with looking objectively at my own figure and accepting that this is who I am. Now that she’s finished, I’m even happier with what I see.

I’m by no means the first sewer to do a project like this. And indeed there are more way to get to this point than I could have imagined when I began. On their web site, Threads magazine has a slide show of “9 ways to customize your dress form”[1] which was one of the first pieces of research I hit on when I started this. There’s the duct-tape approach where you wrap yourself with duct tape and then cut yourself out (presumably with a helper), ditto for the paper tape method; the paper maché approach which seems excessively messy. The rest all seem to be variations on these ones. None of them appealed to me, but they are certainly faster and probably cheaper than the method I chose.

As I wrote about previously when I started this project, I decided to use the moulage I created on the road to a custom bodice block (sloper) for designing my own patterns, as the basis for my custom dress form.

I started with Gloria Junior, my adjustable dress form whose adjustments never really did capture the nuances of the hollows and bumps of my body. If I dialed her out to fit one part, she was then too big in another, but I soldiered on. Then came the moulage.

I started by dialing her back down so that she reflected the smallest part of me (the under-bust area as it turns out), then proceeded to pad up the other places.

After installing a separating zipper down the back of the moulage (as I discussed in the first pot on this subject), with the help of my doctor-husband who has a stash of ace bandages, gauze tape and bandage tape, we secured three sets of shoulder pads in the bust area and filled in the hollows with quilt batting. I had originally placed one set of shoulder pads where shoulder pads are meant to be: on the shoulders. However, that raised the shoulders so much that the neck ws off – so I had to improvise. Once we had her stuffed, it was time to think about how she would be covered.

Several wonderful bloggers[2] have gone before me and created little patterns for what has been described as the “easy-peasy” way to cover your mannequin. Well, I am the queen of making the simplest sewing task difficult, and this was no exception.

First, I wanted to ensure that the pin cushion at the top of the dress form was still available to me, so there had to be a hole at the top. Then I didn’t like how the neck wasn’t properly contoured which was the same problem at the waist. So I had to manipulate the lovely little pattern, tweaking the final product by hand.

Some people choose light colours for their forms, reflecting a belief that flesh-toned forms will better show the eventual garments. For me, however, black is just so slimming, n’est ce pas? And besides, I had a length of black jersey just the right size kicking around.

So there she sits in all her glory, waiting for me to begin another project – which I fully intend to do as soon as we return from our upcoming fall road trip to the east coast. See you on the other side.




...a Toronto woman of a ‘certain’ age who writes women’s fiction and business books...deeply interested in fashion, but mostly style, which as anyone knows is not the same thing...designs patterns, sews, reads style books...Gloria Glamont is my pseudonym.

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