Having a custom dress form that matches your body shape is a boon to any home sewer. Especially any home sewer who'd like to more precisely alter commercial patterns, or venture into pattern-drafting and draping. The problem? Cash money.
This is the second in a two-part series on the insanely daunting and complicated task of making a dress form. For the first half of the how-to rigamarole, go here.
Making one from a commercial custom dress form kit is nearly as expensive as buying one of those featureless, and very overpriced, Wolf forms. Alternatives like duct-tape dress forms and paper-tape dress forms lack for exactness and have an annoying tendency to melt and lose their shape over time. (And pinning into duct-tape results in gummy pins.) The good news is, you can make the best kind of custom dress form out of durable, light-weight, waterproof, closed-cell insulation foam, injection-molded from a custom plaster cast of your body. You can pin into this kind of form, you can drape on it, and you can leave it in the sun all you want without risking its shape. I made the form pictured above in two weekends for about $95 worth of materials. Last week, I showed you how to make the plaster cast. This week, it's time to get molding.
As I mentioned last week, here are all the things we're going to need to complete Dress Form Phase Two, Electric Boogaloo (A.K.A. the molding phase): One, the plaster mold. Two, a drop cloth. Three, rubber gloves. Four, a mask and protective goggles. Five, 5-6 cans of expanding, closed-cell insulation foam. (I used something called "Great Stuff Big Gap Filler." It was at Home Depot.) Six, some WD-40 or other mold lubricant. Seven, a putty knife. Eight: A hacksaw and extra blades. Nine, not pictured: Approximately 1.5 yards of light-colored fabric, such as medium-weight canvas (a smidgeon of Lycra helps). Ten, not pictured: A sturdy needle and some heavy, non-stretch thread (I used the linen thread that I also use for bookbinding and leather work). Eleven, not pictured: a hot-glue gun and extra sticks of glue. Twelve, not pictured: A base with wheels (I used an IV pole).