Bootstrap Dress form – Finally Complete

Wohoo!

It’s been a long time coming for this Bootstrap fashion dress form to be completed. Unlike other projects that sit in the UFO pile for a while, this project was actively holding up other projects that I needed to drape! Click here to see my previous post about this project.

I’ve had my old dress form for maybe 10 years. It was given to me by my Mum and I’ve been using it to hang knitted parts of jumpers before I sew them together. But it was useless for draping. It is made from fabric stretched over plastic and will only hold a pin if I push it in at a steep angle so it’s hard to be precise. Also when I enlarge it to my size it leaves gaps in the exact places where I need to put pins. However, the biggest problem was that I could never get the darned thing to fit my shape.

But now I have finished, and she is finally here in all her glory. If I behold her, I may just have to squint a little to ignore some of the defects that have made this project imperfect. But despite these issues I am super happy with the result.

Pros:

  • All of my draping dreams will now come true (maybe)
  • Squishy
  • My size
  • Not full of spiders (like my old one)
  • Pretty fabric
  • Used up a lot of cabbage (coleslaw stuffing)
  • Makes everything I put on it look stylish
  • Massive arse

Cons:

  • One shoulder is a bit lower than the other (my imprecise sewing)
  • The fabric was damaged a bit when I had to unpick areas so there are some bumps
  • It’s a little odd seeing your shape like a doppelganger with no head.
  • Massive arse

For this project I did have to break out my sewing machine. The hand stitching just wasn’t neat enough and caused puckers. Although if you would like to read about my outlandish opinions on sewing machines, click here.

This project started off well, I was leisurely and aiming for high quality workmanship. I cut out my pattern pieces from paper and laid them on my pre-washed fabric for a long time while I arranged everything. I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t have enough fabric for the bust sections to be pattern matched. But the fabric was expensive so I’m glad I had enough (1.5m) for all the pattern pieces.

Pattern pieces – bootstrap dressform

I didn’t have seam allowance on the pattern (it’s optional – I prefer not to have it) so I cut out each piece with a generous allowance. I then cut out the pattern pieces flush from the iron-on interfacing. That way I could use it as a guide for sewing.

Unhappy interfacing – bootstrap dressform

Well that was the plan!

As soon as I received my order of iron-on interfacing I knew this would be a problem. Firstly, it was lighter than I expected. Secondly, the surface of the interfacing made me physically recoil. It just felt gross to touch. Slippery and fury and like squeaky plastic. I ironed on each pattern piece to its interfacing and hoped I had done with the worst of it.

Nope!

Ripping out the neck seam – bootstrap dressform

After doing the first few seams I gave them a damn good press with the iron. And the interlining started to move and bunch up and reattach to the fabric in strange ways. I was not a happy bunny. I’m 95% sure this is why my shoulders are uneven.

Two back pieces sewn together – bootstrap dressform

Anyway I soldiered on, pressing my seams less heat and worked my way through the instructions.

Insert your own montage music

I found doing the internal support part the hardest. I just had to wing it and hope for the best. If it was terrible, I could unpick it. But found it was ok first time.

Stuffing it is the MOST fun part of the project. It’s really difficult to visualise how it’s going to look in 3D while you are making it. So when you add stuffing is really when the magic happens!

It was only when I got to the lower part with the stuffing that I realised, Damn, I have a big arse… It looks quite out of proportion without my full shoulder width to balance it out.

Costs:

  • Pattern – £16.65 (after conversion from $) – Bootstrap fashion
  • Fabric Robert Kauffmann – Sky, 1.5m £30.95 – Misformake (I have expensive tastes)
  • Interfacing 2m -£7.00 – William Gee
  • 2x 6″ Zips – £4.31 for a pack of 10- William Gee
  • Jumbo Car Sponge (for the neck) £2.69    Ebay
  • Push fit Waste plumbing pipe 32mm width £5.85    Ebay
  • Filling – Mixture of stash toy stuffing (1kg bag) and cabbage – £0.00
  • Stand – I used the original stand from my old dress form – £0.00

Total – £63.99 – Not cheap but still cheaper than a professional dress form! If I was doing it again I would choose a heavier, cheaper fabric and not use interfacing.

Would I do it again? Yes. It was a fun challenging project and the resulting dress form will be used for many of my future projects. I could always use another.

What would I do differently? Use thicker interfacing. Remark all the pattern points before using each piece. Check twice, sew once. Don’t work on it when I’m tired. Use sturdy card on the arm holes and *check before you sew* if any printing will show through the fabric.

Have I inspired you to make your own dress form, custom fit for your specific measurements? Or maybe you have one already and use it for draping projects. If so let me know in the comments!

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