DIY Dressform Cover – The Reveal

This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for….Maud’s new custom cover is fitted and stuffed.

This has been such an adventure. Both because this was the sewing of something completely alien to me, which stretched (pun intended) my sewing skill set, but also in terms of body confidence and acceptance. I think I need to ponder on that a bit more and revisit it in a separate post.

But for today I’m going to talk about the final stage – stuffing Maud’s cover to look like me.

I can’t say it was particularly difficult – certainly not as difficult as I’d feared. More time consuming and a bit faffy. It certainly took a good couple of hours or so, but I broke it down into sections, because you do get a bit ‘shape blind’ and need to step away and come back with a pair of fresh eyes.

A good example is those shoulder pads. They were swapped out for the final fit because they’re too high compared to mine.

It also helped having Dave with me, because, even though I’ll never admit it to the kids, I don’t have eyes in the back of my head. So padding shoulders and derriere was so much easier with his help.

The trickest bit was the embonpoint. Getting the shape and lift right was quite difficult and I’ve settled for ‘good enough’.

So this is Maud now.

Not bad, I’d say. And certainly good enough to do the first fittings in tissue and muslin so that I can see backs and shoulders really clearly.

So, what are my final thoughts:

First up the positive stuff:

  • This is a relatively inexpensive way to make a standard dressform better replicate your own body shape.
  • This is a great way to upcycle a cheap second hand dressform.
  • It’s not as difficult as you think it is. Really….it’s not.
  • A second pair of eyes is a godsend. They don’t need to sew…they just need to be able to compare shapes.
  • Unlike a custom form, this can easily be adjusted if you lose or gain weight or otherwise change shape.

And the stuff I’d like to change next time around:

  • The website and pattern do have some minor glitches that I’ve alerted Yuliya to. But these aren’t a dealbreaker for me.
  • I over fitted the shoulders so the seamline on Maud isn’t the where the seamline on the garment needs to be. User error and nothing a line of thin tape can’t fix.
  • I really wish I’d cut a seam down the centre front and centre back. I was banging my head repeatedly on the sewing table when I realised that one. To be fair to me, the pattern was ‘cut on fold’.
  • The recommended fabric on the pattern instructions says to use a stretch fabric such as ponte. This is great as you can pull it over your head and try on easily for fitting. However, next time I’ll use a firm woven and put an open ended zip in the back. This will give some resistance when stuffing I think and might make that process a bit simpler.
  • It’s still wasn’t cheap. I used a Fabulous Fit pack of pads, some interlining and £15 of shoulder pads, plus the face fabric. I reckon I spent about £100. But….even if we factor in what Dave paid for Maud, we’re still looking at about a quarter of the price of a custom form.

So, I suppose the $63 million dollar question is would I recommend this pattern and this project.

With the caveats mentioned in my previous posts here and here, the answer is a resounding yes. Being aware of the pitfalls means you can avoid them, which should make this whole process even easier

And now I’m really looking forward to my first project using Maud, which is the Blackwood Cardigan….the new pattern. The pattern is printed and the fabric is in the wash! I’m excited to be sewing for the first time in ages!

Perhaps that’s the real magic of Maud!

10 Responses to DIY Dressform Cover – The Reveal

  1. Kim says:

    Well done on perseverance. It’s not easy to do this yourself so it was good you had a second body that was able to help.
    I found that even with the adapted dress form I still had tweaks to make to garments, but you get so much closer first time!
    Enjoy your new toy 😊

    • Evie says:

      I’m hoping that using Maud I can get a reasonable tissue/first muslin fit and then only have to do the final tweaks on the body. I think the first couple of times I’ll be ironing out any minor issues with Maud too. But if it makes fitting even a teeny bit easier then it will have been worth it, because getting a good fit is so hard but so necessary to a half decent hand made.

  2. K-Line says:

    Great work! I remember when I did this with my dressform – but she will never work for muslins cuz her shoulders are many inches wider than mine. I should have bought a form with collapsible shoulders. Live and learn. I’m sure you are going to get so much assistance from Maud over the coming years.

  3. That’s amazing, well done Evie! My dress form in Spain was so far off my real shape that I gave it to charity, but I’m going to look out for another one and give this a go. Haven’t been sewing much recently, mainly be used I’m finding it so hard to fit garments. This could be what I need. Sewing Bee tonight…will you be watching?!

    • Evie says:

      You can pick them up quite cheaply on eBay or charity shops.
      If I’d known then what I know now, I would definitely have gone that route rather than spend the money on a new dressform.
      I watched the Sewing Bee last night. I miss Claudia and was most distracted by the woman in the green dress that fitted so very badly!

  4. Fiona M says:

    Maud looks fab! I used a Fabulous Fit pack too, but I went the lazy route and just used an old T shirt for my cover!

    • Evie says:

      The Fabulous Fit pack really helps, but it’s quite pricey! I used the covers they sent to hold Maud firm for the pads. And I think an old t-shirt is eminently sensible.

  5. tialys says:

    Fabulous! Did you manage to get through the two person fitting session without falling out? I can just imagine that umbrage might be taken if your other half was not of the sensitive sort. Mine would have a field day and be upsetting me right, left and centre just for fun.

    • Evie says:

      Mine’s not that brave! 😉
      We actually work quite well together. We can even decorate a room without falling out! Choosing take out is a whole different ballgame, though!