Custom Dress Form

I’ve wanted a dress form for a long, long, long time; but they are so expensive! Finally I found the time to make one myself and here’s how I did it.

Sewing Skill: Advanced (Create Pattern and Assemble Bodice with Zipper)

Materials: Brown Paper, Fabric, Thread, Zipper, Hook and Loop Strip, Ribbon, Cardboard, Polyfill (I used 2 large bags)

Tools: Sewing Machine and Iron

Create a Custom Paper Bodice Sloper

I learned how to make a Bodice Sloper from a tutorial online. There are only a few tutorials I could find for free on the internet and this is by far the best one. It even shows you how to take your body measurements. You could use a Fitted Blouse Pattern you have already, but this sloper will come in handy if you want to start making your own patterns later on.

1. Take your measurements and fill in the chart in this link (MEASUREMENTS ARE TAKEN IN CM!!!):

2. Use your measurements to complete the table in this link and draft your Custom Bodice Sloper:

3. Note that this Bodice Sloper is exact to your measurements and you will have to add seam allowance when cutting out fabric later with them.

Cut and Sew the Dress Form

1. Choose a fabric that does not stretch. A stiffer fabric is best.

2. Place the paper sloper front on the fold of your fabric and place the paper sloper back on the fold too. Cut both front and back outside the edge of the paper to give yourself the desired seam allowance. I used 3/8″ seam allowance.

3. Sew one side seam with right sides together. Sew a zipper into the other side seam.

4. Sew one shoulder seam with right sides together. Sew hook and loop into the other shoulder seam.

(These zipper and hook and loop openings allow you to take the sloper on and off during the fitting process.)

5. Sew the front and back darts. I added side darts so that the sloper fits around my chest perfectly. Try the sloper on and adjust your darts until it completely conforms to all your curves. This is the challenging part and will give you good practice at fitting a garment. (During this fitting process, mark your adjustments to the darts on your paper Bodice Sloper if you intend to use it to create Sewing Patterns later.) The fabric sloper should be very tight.

Create a Base and Close Holes

1. Loosely stuff the dress form with Polyfill (this stuffing is temporary).

2. Cut a strip of fabric to be used to close up the base hole:

a. Measure the width of the base of your dress form and divide this number by 2. This will be the width of the strip of fabric.

b. Measure the distance around the base with a piece of ribbon and cut it to this length. The ribbon will be used as a drawstring later. Remove the Polyfill.

c. Cut a strip of fabric to the width measured in “a” and as long as the ribbon “b”. Finish the two short edges. Create a drawstring pocket in one long edge by folding the edge over twice and sewing close to the fold. Then sew this to the bottom of the dress form by matching raw edges with right-sides together.

3. Follow the steps in number #2 for the arm holes, except finish the long edge instead of creating a drawstring.


4. Fill the dress form up again and cut out a cardboard base roughly the shape of the bottom of the dress form. Insert this inside the dress form and pull the drawstring to seal up the base.


5. To finish the arm holes, gather stitch the finished long edge and tie off.


6. Continue to stuff Polyfill into the dress form until it is firmly stuffed. The Polyfill doesn’t make a perfectly smooth surface, but it will not affect the shape of the clothes you are fitting on the dress form.


(by Jen)


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Auntie Nena
    Oct 18, 2011 @ 11:02:32

    Love it you are very creative Jen!

    Auntie Nena


  2. queenbaker
    Oct 18, 2011 @ 11:07:24

    Very clever!!!!


  3. kia
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 17:56:03

    How did you add the side darts? how wide and long were the darts? Did you have to do allot of adjusting for it to fit?I love the sloper but want side darts as well not sure how to do that please help


    • crafterellasisters
      Apr 21, 2012 @ 13:30:16

      Hi Kia,

      The sides are just side seams on this. When you make your bodcie sloper the side seem will slope from your bust line to your waistline to your hip line.

      I did do a lot of adjusting to make it fit my body shape. First I made sure the side seams gave a snug fit around my body. Then any puckering and loose fabric in my stomache area and back area were fixed by adjusting the darts in the respective areas. I was constantly trying it on and looking in the mirror to see what needed tightening and what needed loosening. It just takes time and patience to get it right.

      Best of luck on your project!


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