Monday, November 28, 2016

BLC Day 28: Making of a Body Double

In film making terms, a body double is defined as a person who substitutes in a scene for another actor where the person's face is not shown.  In dressmaking terms, a body double is a dress form dummy with measurements and dimensional contours which mirror its owner for the purpose of constructing and fitting hand-sewn garments.  I've wanted a dress form model that was close to my own measurements and dimensions for a long time but the retail price tags always seemed prohibitive.

Online searches for a professional model in reasonably good condition at an affordable price were unsuccessful.  I've also looked into making a duct tape model and actually purchased multiple rolls of tape many years back, but you need a partner to help wrap you in tape and I didn't have access to a "sewing buddy", nor did I want to frustrate myself by asking any of my family members...IJS!  Plus, I've read stories of others who went through the work of creating a duct tape form only to be disappointed with its shortened durability - the tape's adhesive would eventually break down leaving a gummy mess.

instructions available from Threads magazine

In August 2013, I learned through an online sewing group that Hancock Fabrics was advertising adjustable dress forms for $99 with free shipping, so I took advantage of the opportunity and ordered one.  The ability to adjust the measurements sounded like a plus and a feature I thought I would like.

I found, however, the large gaps located at the front, back and side seams when the dials were expanded interfered with adjusting and pinning my garments.  I would also like to experiment with fabric draping and couldn't see being able to do so with those gaps.  And, while the form's circumference measurements may be close to mine, the dimension and body contours were not.  I wear a C-cup bra and have a tummy and hips and booty... and my dress form had none of these attributes.

Last year, I ran across this video on modifying a standard dress form using the Fabulous Fit Padding System and searched online to learn more.

A set of Fabulous Fit pads retails for $127, but I bought one on sale at Amazon for $77 in Aug. 2015.  The system included 17 contoured foam pads, 2 stretch knit pullover covers (one with a turtleneck and princess seam details) and instructions.

While the pads are intended for specific regions of the dress form body, you can use them wherever you deem appropriate.

Before adding the pads to my form, I turned down the adjustment dials in the bust, waist and hip areas so all of the gaps were closed.

This was my second time experimenting with adding these pads and I wanted the form to be closer to my own dimensions, so I also used rolled batting and fiber fill to add more padding in key area where I have more "fluff".

I then slid the plain knit cover over the form's neck and began adding pads in key areas between the cover and form, sliding the cover down to secure each pad in place.  In addition to measuring my bust, waist and hips, I also measured my neck-bust length to make sure the bust pad was realistically positioned on the dress form.

Once all the pads were positioned as I liked and the measurements matched my own...

...I slid the turtleneck cover over the padded form, making certain to align all the seams with those on the dress form and the front princess seams over the bust points.

I then folded in the turtleneck extension to neatly fit around the form's neck.

With my dress form now padded out, I'm able to customize the fit of my garments to the form and feel confident they will also fit me!

Do you use a dress form?  What adjustments have you made to make it look more like you?

Be blessed!



  1. Thank you Thank you Thank you! You have answered the questions I've been asking over the years about these two things.

    1. I'm so glad this information helps, Siobyan, and thank you for your feedback...I really appreciate it!!