The problem with commercial dress forms is all the work it takes to get it to mimic your body. Measuring & re-measuring. Adding batting to re-create rolls & hip fluff, etc. For someone who does not have a trim, proportional body, it can be quite a chore. Luckily there is another choice – Make your own.
Several years ago, I read an article in Threads magazine (www.taunton.com/threads) about creating a dress form out of duct tape. And it works beautifully.
materials needed: old T-shirt, 2-3 rolls duct tape
The basic process is that you have a very close friend wrap you in duct tape to create the form.
Begin by wearing an old T shirt that you will sacrifice for the cause and your best undergarments. Using duct tape in your favorite color, wrap your body as snugly as possible, while still being able to breathe. I had my husband help me. We started from the top down because the overall process took about 2 hours and I wanted the option of having a bathroom break, when needed. We used strips of duct tape about 6 inches long, wrapping over the shoulders, across the back, around the bust, etc. I suggest wrapping the bust like a cross-your-heart bra – with an X shape between the breasts to separate. This can be important when making some dresses and bathing suits. Once you have completely covered your torso down below the widest part of your hips, cut it off either up the center back or on the side. Be very careful with the scissor. You don’t want to cut the person, or their undergarments.
This creates an exact duplicate of you. As you can see, you want it to be snug so that you have the most accurate fitting. You will get accurate dart positions, back length, armhole depth, hip position, etc. This is particularly good if you have one high hip, or any curve of the back or if your bust points are uneven.
I do have to warn you. You might be surprised with what you see. Once you take this off, you will see your body exactly as it is. I learned that not only do I have my grandmother’s knees, I have her boobs as well. It took me a couple of weeks to be able to really look at it. It was hard to see that at 40 I had the same basic shape my grandmother had at 70! Reality sucks. I did end up using this form for several years and my clothes never fit better!
Here is the article at Threads magazine: http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00002.asp.
There are other articles available on the web and movies on You-tube on how to create a custom dress form.