Q&A Monday:  Good Form! 1
All,  Refashions,  Sewing Tips

Q&A Monday: Good Form!

Katy Perr-ody
ModCloth One Swell Swoop Dress Copycat

Q:  You do a lot of your custom fitting with a dress form!  What kind do you use?  How can I get one if I’m strapped for cash?

A:  That’s right!  If you look through my earlier stuff, you’ll see how I took things in without a form, but I MUCH prefer refashioning with one.  It’s just way easier to do when you have a silent clone of yourself (actually, it sounds a bit creepy when I put it that way)!

I went ahead and spent a little over $100 on this one by Singer.

Ooooooh!  Adjustable!
Ooooooh! Adjustable!

I went with an adjustable model because I knew I wanted to start costuming a few shows around town, and being able to set it to any cast member’s specific measurements was a huuuuge help!

But you can go a cheaper/more DIY route, too!!!!

You could make a dress form out of polyurethane foam like this one I found on BurdaStyle:

Not adjustable, but not too shabby!
Not adjustable, but not too shabby!

I also like this tutorial on how to make one out of duct tape from Offbeat Bride!

The "during"
The “during”
The "after"!  :)
The “after”! 🙂

Johanna at Making it Well can show you how to make one using  a papier mache method, as well!

I actually the the punk look of her "during" photo!  :)
I actually like the punk look of her “during” photo! 🙂
Nicely Done!  :)
Nicely Done! 🙂

Having a dress form can really take your refashions to the next level!  Sooooo…go get you (or make you) one!  🙂


Katy Perr-ody
ModCloth One Swell Swoop Dress Copycat


  • Michelle

    You really should be a dress form saleswoman. At least they Singer should advertise on your blog 🙂 You make a person wonder how they ever lived this long without one.

  • Barbra

    Reading all of your posts in the span of two days has convinced me that I NEED a dress form. The Singer link is for a Medium fitting sizes 10-16. Since we appear to be a similar build, I would imagine this would be too big. Have you found any issues with adjusting it to your size?

    • ReFashionista

      Oh yeah…Mine’s a small, I just posted that as an example of the model. 🙂 The bust/shoulders of the small is actually a little big on me, so I have to remember to take the top in a smidge more than what looks right on the form.

  • PurrlySchells

    I just spent the whole night marveling at your creations or recreations. I wish I had your mad sewing skills!

  • Tricia

    I made my own dress form today with the help of a friend! We did the duct tape method. I can’t wait to start sewing some of your projects with it! 🙂

  • Makayla

    I’m 14 and me and my mom have been looking for a dress form that will fit me but also fit when i finish growing. I uses thrift stores for fabric and design my own clothes. (you have know idea how awesome it is to see a popular highschooler be asked who is your designer and have her say your name.) I love how this is adjustable, so guess what my birthday gift it going to be?!! I can’t wait! Thank you so much for doing this blog. Most of my designs are inspired by your creations. So, thank you. 😀

    • Elizabeth Davis

      Makayla, I LOVE that you are a designer! How wonderful! I got turned on to sewing when I was about your age. I’m lots older now & still love to create my own stuff. Good luck!

  • Danielle

    i found this dress form on kijiji for $125…I looked into making one, which IS cheaper if you take the simplified route (duct tape, etc), but I read that in order to create a really durable one plaster is recommended. After accounting for the second pair of hands, an entire Saturday, and a considerably expensive list of construction materials, the kijiji lady can have my $125. As long as you can avoid a “lotion in the basket” kind of kijiji horror story, its a fantastic place to save money and avoid primary consumerism! (take a friend 🙂 )

  • sgsy

    I got my Singer® 150G Adjustable Grey Dressform from Joann.com when it was on sale for $99. It’s been good so far and helps me with visualizing the end product.

  • Natalie

    It’s interesting how we, as individuals, view the cost of things. So many of the reviews talk about what a great affordable option the Singer is…and at the same time I was thinking…my husband would be a little peeved if I bought that as a beginning sewist. HAH! I may try my hand a diy or trying to find a second-hand one. Great post!

  • Michelle

    I have a dumb question as I have never used a dress form. I see pictures where you tightly pin up both sides of a dress. Do you unpin one side to get the garmet off the form? Maybe it just looks like the dress would not come off the form in the pictures but it really does? Sorry, never used a dress form.

    • ReFashionista

      Not a dumb question at all! I either
      A. Just yank the thing off (don’t do this…it’s dumb and the pins will probably just go flying)
      B. Remove the pins from one side (you guessed it!). Then measure where the pins lay on the other side and duplicate that. I usually do this by draping my refashion on my ironing board, but a table would work fine too!

  • Maureen R.

    What a timely post. I just finished making a duct tape form and I am pretty happy with it. I used some of the techniques for the stuffing and the top and bottom that was used for the paper mache. I am fairly happy with it, even though it isn’t as sturdy as I would like. Perhaps next time I’ll try the one with polyurethane foam! 🙂

  • Meleah

    Me and my grandma were just talking today about making ones for us so we could sew a lot easier. So happy you posted cause now I have an even better idea of what to do! Thank you 🙂

  • redbamsews

    I’m right there with you. I like using my dress form as well. Check out Nancy’s Notions she has pads that you can add on to your dress form to make it bigger. My girl friend uses them for the gowns she makes. It really helps with customizing.

  • Susan

    I have made my own and speaking from experience the duct tape versions falls out of shape very quickly. The paper mache version is very frugal, MUCH more durable, and will stay true to your form. Make it pretty by using old book pages, colorful scraps from a recycle bin, or the comics from the Sunday paper. You can even fill it with expanding spray foam and set a large stick in the middle to stand it up with or add a hanger inside to save on space or store it easily. If you use spray foam it is a one shot deal because the can will foam itself shut after one use. Be sure to paper mache your halves together well on the inside then spray the inside of the shell walls with foam . Let the foam expand to fill the middle. Any foam that comes out the arms or neck can be easily cut away with a knife. To keep the hanger or stick in place while the foam is expanding tape a couple pencils or chop sticks to it before any foam goes in. Be sure to do this on a trash bag so any oozing foam won’t stick to your floor and away from pets/kids who will get covered in the sticky mess. Let the foam set overnight before adding any more as it keeps expanding for quite some time. You don’t want to have to spend any more money on supplies than you need to!

  • Erin W

    Go for duct tape! I have one, I haven’t used it much but I have it! My husband had to help as it is a bit hard to get at the back. and it is my exact body shape…although I hate looking at it because it is so exact.

  • Hope

    I also have an adjusatable one and I love it. I made mine to my exact shape though by padding it out a bit and putting a basic block (sleeveless shirt form) over top. In Canada forms are at least twice the price as other places, I ended up getting mine for free from a friend. A good place to look for cheaper ones is at garage sales and flea markets.

    • adventuressmiss

      Great idea about the garage sales and flea markets. Here in AU, forms are about twice as much or more too than in other places. I couldn’t make myself spend AU$200 since i’m just a newbie sewer. I managed to find a 3rd-hand one (2nd-hand bought that was sold again) on gumtree.com.au (like craigslist, i think) for only AU$50. Win! pre-loved ones are hard to find but they do exist! 🙂

What do you think?

%d bloggers like this: