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January 27, 2017 4 min read

We suppose you already discovered the incredible benefits of a dress formfor your work. However, no matter how great a dress formis, it still needs a few adjustments, to make it perfectly work for you. We agree that it is an amazing fitting tool that helps you a lot in your work, as it mimics the body as closely as possible, but it still needs some proper padding to make it into an excellent fitting tool. So here we’ll help you to get the basics of how to pad your dress formto make it perfect for you.

Basic requirements

Prior to going on with the instruction on how to pad your dress form, we would like to make sure that you get the basic requirements for your dress form. So here we’ll show you what you need to take into consideration when you’re looking for the perfect dress formto use in your work.

  1. It must be smaller than the person it is planned to mimic. For this, you must do some measurements, and the most essential ones include the high upper bust, front and back. It is ideal that the circumference and the two dimensions to be equal to the person’s measurements. Avoid these measurements to be larger. In conclusion, the dress formthat you choose should be smaller in the bust, waist and hips than the individual whom it is intended for.
  2. Look for a form that has a firm stand. However, it is ideal to have a stand with wheels.
  3. Try to find a form that is adjustable in height.
  4. It is ideal to have a dress formthat is pinnable. This feature allows you to easy poke pins into it. You would find it helpful when you tissue-fit patterns on your dress form. However, it is not necessarily a must, as you’ll pad out your form, so it will become more pinnable, anyway.
  5. When you’re looking for the perfect dress formto use, there are certain measurements for the body that must be accurate. Some of these measurements include:

- Upper bust

- Full bust

- Shoulder length

- Shoulder center to bust point

- Shoulder to waist, front and back

- Neckline to waist, front and back

- Torso just under the bust, about an inch below the bra’s lower edge

- Waistline

- Hipline

How to pad your dress form

It is relatively easy to find a firm dress formthat mimics the exact body measurements. However, using such a form for a fitting tool may easily result in garments that are too large. Therefore, it is recommended that you pad out your dress form, to make it more similar to the body. Doing this to your form results in garments that fit the form more truly to the body. So now let’s see the steps that you need to follow to pad out your dress form.

  1. Add a layer of quilt batting around the torso. Although this batting tends to stick to itself, you should better pin or tape it in place to make sure it holds temporarily.
  2. Choose a bra that fits you perfectly and put it on your dress form.This should be done for two important reasons. The first reason is that not all bust dimensions are the same. The second reason is that pads alone can’t always imitate the shape the bust takes when it is it wears the undergarment. Using the bra that you usually wear and padding the form appropriately helps the bust area of your dress form to exactly imitate your body.
  3. To make sure that the bra mimics the actual shape of the bust as closely as possible, you need to pad the bra with fiberfill.
  4. To mimic the shape of the flesh in the back area as needed, you should add layers of fiberfill around the bra area in back.
  5. If it is needed, add shoulder pads under the bra straps, to exactly imitate the shoulder-to-bust apex or bust point measurement.
  6. In case it is needed or available, add more layers of quilt batting, and separate pads.
  7. Measure as many times as needed, to make sure everything is right.
  8. When you finish all the padding, pull a formfit slip or a bodysuit over your dress form.
  9. Stand next to it, turn slowly and also turn the form, to check the body dimensions and shapes from all angles. Where it is necessary, adjust stuffing.
  10. Measure your dress formagain and compare the results to your measurements. Make the necessary adjustments, if needed.
  11. To make sure you perfectly padded out your dress form to fit your measurements, you should get some blouses, tops, dresses, skirts, pants, and jackets that fit you well and try them on your form. By doing this, you can adjust the padding a bit more, to make sure that the garments fit on the form exactly as they fit on you.
  12. Once you get the fit as close as possible to your body, pin or stitch black twill tape onto your dress form and mark the following areas, whilst you ensure that the dimensions and distances are accurate:

- Neckline

- Shoulder

- Center Front

- Center Back

- Side seam areas

- Crotch seam area

- Bust

- Waist

- Hips

Once you make sure you did everything right, you’ll be ready to use your dress formas a really useful fitting tool. Enjoy your sewing!

Image Credit: Patty Brower