Dress Forms are important in making sure your clothes fit you perfectly. They’re like your body’s 3D version and maybe even more identical than your twin… well, only if you get your measurements right! The idea of making your own DIY dress form may sound like a hard job, but it’s not impossible! Just grab someone who is willing to help and start measuring!
DIY Dress Form Projects
1. Shape Sewing Mannequin at Handimania
We’re starting this list with one of the most interesting DIY mannequins we’ve found! But honestly, this is also maybe the easiest to make.
The original tutorial of this DIY is in German but the linked poster found it interesting enough to translate it, which is good for all of us as this plan covers how to make your own dress form in one of the easiest ways possible.
Although, the original version is more detailed, the images will guide you through on what to do; it’s pretty self explanatory, and even just reviewing the images, you’ll be able to figure out the process pretty quickly.
This mannequin is made using pillow stuffing, a metal base, duct tape, some cardboard, a tshirt and some food foil. Pretty unusual materials, but easily accessible!
You’ll also need a second person (as you will with all of these – fair warning!), but as you can see, you’ll come out with something that fits you exactly!
2. Paper-Tape Dress Form at Threads Magazine
The easiest and cheapest way to make a dress form is this paper tape method.
In fact, if you have some old dress making books from the 30s, you may have even seen this method before – it’s older than you and me combined.
All you need is some brown paper from an office supply store, which you can fashion into a papier-mâché form!
Plus the great part with this one is you don’t even have to stuff it, just pin it together and you’re ready to go!
3. Duct-Tape Dress Form at Threads Magazine
This one is not unlike the first in that it’s using a tshirt and duct tape to create your home made dress form.
The designer, Joyce Perhac, literally wrote the book on DIY dress forms. No really, she wrote a book called “Make Your Own Body Form”. Joyce also teaches and organizes sewing shows, so you know she’s got the goods!
In this method, Joyce starts wrapping from the bottom (around mid-thigh) and works her way up.
4. Bootstrap Fashion Dress Form at Grow Your Own Clothes
Leila’s aim in creating this dress form was to have a soft, pinnable custom dress form that wouldn’t get ruined by moisture or a little steam. That way it could be used to steam garments, or just have a place to let them dry.
She had originally shared this sewing pattern for a dress form on Etsy which was later purchased by someone at Bootstrap Fashion, who then turned it into one of their designs.
If you’re not familiar with Bootstrap Fashion, essentially you enter your measurements, and they give you patterns to fit you exactly. Very smart.
This particular tutorial covers a ton of sewing, and as such is a lot more involved than our other duct taped based recomendations.
However, in the end you will come out with something that will last you a lot longer. Enjoy!
5. DIY Dressmakers Form at So-Sew Easy
Deby at So-Sew Easy takes an interesting approach to this form in that she does a bracing around the collarbones that gives you individual definition for the bust area.
Deby suggests you pick someone to help that you’re comfortable with, as the process can involve a lot of patting and smoothing of your… personal areas!
She also adds a reminder that you want to make sure it’s a duplicate of your body – flaws and all! No sucking anything in or pushing anything flat, otherwise you’ll end up with a form that isn’t yours!
6. Cool Beans Dress Form at Threads Magazine
So listen. As with anything craft or DIY, there are no rules. And even if there are, rules are made to be broken, right?
So what if I told you this homemade form is made with food?
This dress form DIY involves food for stuffing. Your choices are dry beans, rice or unpopped popcorn. For what, you ask? To give shape to the breast area of the dress form.
Ruth shares her technique of making dresses for clients with larger busts. Her technique shared in this tutorial is to get one of the client’s bras, and then fill it with beans, or rice or popcorn, so that it gives the true shape of the client.
Really, an unusual but ingenious trade secret!
7. Retro Dress Form at The Polka Dot Closet
When does a dress form stop being practical and start being decor? When you cover it in vintage sheet music!
This home made dressform is maybe not the most practical – look I’ll be honest, it actually starts out with a mannequin – but it’s arguably the most stylish.
You could use this as decor for your dress making room, or just keep it in your living room to have a piece of that part of your life wandering free around the home!
8. Trash Bag Dress Form at Urania’s Inspiration
So what is a girl to do when you have a dress form, and you need one more – but you don’t want to shell out the cash for a second one?
Why, make a DIY mannequin out of the existing one!
Urania’s process is actually pretty ingenious, and very resourceful. She covers the original in a trash bag, and then smoothes it into form using some packing tape.
And then… cheesecloth! Isn’t that crazy? Some glue and a second layer of cheesecloth later, and Urania was the proud owner of a second dress form.
That’s ten points for creativity from me!
9. Plaster Gauze Dress Form at Couture Stories
The process of making this dress form is working from top to bottom; starting carefully from the neck by using strips of gauze. It’s absolutely doable and easy!
Irena calls this her “body twin dummy” – I think we all feel that about our dress forms!
This is probably the longest and most involved tutorial we have on here. Irena has packed this one with pictures and all of the measurements you’ll need to make a “body twin” that will last many years.
The dress form ultimately is made of medical grade plaster gauze and plaster of paris. This isn’t your $5 “duct tape and t-shirt” dress form, but it will for sure last you a lifetime.
10. Vintage Dress Form at Darice.com
What a beautiful display piece is this vintage inspired dress form?
Aside from it serving as a mannequin (for a very, very small person), it can be an excellent addition to your room decor! You can dress it up and personalize it to your liking!
Alanna uses a combination of store bought items plus vintage treasures from around the home to make a display piece that your guests will love.
11. Wooden Dress Form at Factory Direct Craft
This is another display piece, a fun and cute little dress form project that will sit next to your sewing machine. It may even double as a dress form for dolls.
Despite having a long list of materials, this interesting project will only take you 30 minutes and is listed as an intermediate project.
As a wood dress form, you don’t have to worry about duct tapes blowing up because it’s super sturdy! Hassle free and fast!
12. Festive Dress Form at Threads Magazine
In case, you didn’t know, colorful and patterned duct tapes exist!
You may not have seen much of them at your local hardware, but they’re out there! I seen them at the dollar store.
If you don’t like your dress form dull and grey, use a colorful duct tape for the last layer to add a little bit of fun and life! See how pretty it looks!
Time to Make a Dress Form!
I hope you enjoyed all of these ideas on how to create your own DIY dress form! Let us know in the comments any tips or advice you can share with the just crafting around community!
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my toddler however, that is typically a challenge with her limited attention span, messiness, and desire to always have clean hands. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and fond memory for the both of us.