Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Recovering a Dress Form

I have wanted to try using a dress form for a while, but couldn't justify spending a stack of money on something I may barely use. I kept a look out on Ebay, but the prices quickly got out of my price range. Flicking through the paper one day I found one listed for sale minus stand, for $50. I drove through the rain, with a sleeping baby for half an hour to find that it was an Autoset, Diana, in terrible condition, rusty, cracked plastic in places and the fabric cover turned to red sand with a touch. I drove away, got 10 minutes a away, turned around and over the professional junk dealer $20. We settled on $35 and I took it home, quite excited.

 After carefully removing screws that held the fabric in place, I raced the shapes plus 1cm all around onto new fabric that I chose.  I wasn't sure what I was meant to recover the dress form in, but I chose a sparkly stretch Jersey. 
While cleaning the dress form, it's top came away from it's bottom, which was just as well, because covering it was to be easier this way.  I sprayed the rusty bits with a matte black, rust kill type spray paint and was then ready to recover.
Armed with glue, bull clips and pegs I commenced the long process of gluing.  I glued the fronts on first, waited for the glue to set a bit, snipped the curves, trimmed the hems where needed and held the hems in place with bull clips and pegs, just long enough for the glue to set.  At the bust, I actually had to cut a dart, much the same as I would sew one,  as the fabric was bulky. 

cut dart

It was long tedious process, and I am thrilled with the end result.  There is a couple of things that need to be fixed, like a permanent stand, and repairing some broken plastic, which will make her more stable, but for now, she is ready to play.  Now my pretties, what shall be the first thing I will make?


  1. oh! you did a great purchase and you fixed perfectly! I either have a dress form and I don't wanna spend my money on it, we all know economy around the world is not very good, I'm gonna try to find one like yours!

  2. I am so glad that I saw your post on Sew Retro! I've been going through your posts becaause I love all of your dresses! I have a dress form that I bought for $15 that is in the same shape! I'm so excited to see that you were able to recover yours! I think I'm going to give it a try now!


  3. Hi! I was wondering if you kept a pattern of your pieces? I took the fabric off mine and (stupidly) threw it out so now I'm not 100% sure how to cut out the new fabric!

  4. Yes I did Caitlan. But I found the stretch fabric that I chose quite easily stretched over the form anyhow. Hope that helps.

  5. hi, I was wondering what type of glue you used to glue the material to the form?