Follow this blog post and learn how to make a dress form based on your body measurements
The earliest dress form can be traced back to ancient Egypt. When Howard Carter opened King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1923, he found a crude wooden dress form nearby – a stand that was likely used to display the ruler’s clothing. The dress form, estimated to be from 1350 BC, was made exactly to the pharaoh’s measurements, making it a valuable piece of information as well as a significant milestone in the world of fashion.
If you're keen to learn how to drape clothes for yourself the dress form is one piece of equipment that's a must-have.
Dress forms can be an expensive investment to make especially if you purchase at the upper end of the market selection. Brands such as Kennett & Lindsell - recently bought out by Eastman Staples - and Seigal-Stockman are at the top of the range. These forms are the ones favoured by the famous fashion houses and have been around for decades. The K & L forms are rigid and made from fibreglass that's covered in special padding. This is then finished with a 100% linen fabric. The Seigal-Stockman forms are made from recycled paper and covered in off-white cotton. Both models are pinnable yet solid and will last you for a lifetime if well looked after. These forms can be found second hand on eBay.
There are more affordable forms, made from polyurethane finished with a polyester cover. These are a recent development and are great for home dressmakers. They're flexible and fully pinnable.
It's also possible to use a form that's smaller than your measurements. You will need to pad it. Padding a form is a relatively painless exercise and it's something I do with my 1:1 students.
Should you prefer to try your hand at making your own form please click through to the links of the brilliant blog Grow Your Own Clothes, recommended to me by my student. Her hand made mannequin is featured in the images.