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Tutorial 1. Measurements Required for Making a Dress-Form.

List of Measurements Required for Making a Dress-Form.

Tie a cord or an elastic band around the waistline. Stand the way you normally do. You should neither let the measuring tape hang loose nor pull it too tight.

Bust front. It is measured nearly the same way as bust circumference but between the side seams and from the front.

Under-bust front. It is measured nearly the same way as under-bust circumference but between the side seams from the front.

Bust circumference (determines the body size). Your measuring tape should pass through the prominent points of the shoulder-blades and the most prominent points of the breasts at the underarms level. Even if your client has low-set breasts, you should still place the measuring tape strictly horizontally to take this measurement. Later you can add a few extra centimeters for the fullness of the bust.

Under-bust circumference. The measuring tape passes right under the bust and under the shoulder-blades.

Waist circumference. It is taken around the thinnest part of the waist.

Stomach circumference. It is taken 10-14cm below the waistline. The measuring tape should be parallel to the waistline and the hips.

Hip circumference. It is taken around the most prominent part of the hips with some allowance for the stomach.

Bust middle (distance between the apex points of the breasts). It is taken strictly horizontally.

Front shoulder to waist. It is taken from the end of the shoulder seam that's closer to the neck and through the apex of the bust down to the cord tied around the waist.

Front neck to waist. It is taken from the sternal notch down to the waist.

Neck base to bust middle. It is taken simultaneously with the front shoulder to waist measurement. The measuring tape goes from the end of the shoulder seam that's closer to the neck down to the apex of the bust.

Shoulder tip to bust middle. It is taken from the apex of the bust to the shoulder tip.

Nape to waist. It is taken from the sevenths cervical vertebra to the waist.

Back width. You measure it by placing the measuring tape horizontally between the bottom corners of the underarms at the level of the prominent points of the shoulder-blades.

Front width. Imagine vertical lines going up from the front corners of the underarms and place the measuring tape between them horizontally right above the breasts.

Front shoulder width. This measurement is taken between the shoulder joints at the front.

Back shoulder width. This measurement is taken between the shoulder joints at the back.

Side length. It is taken along the side from the waistline up to the lowest point of the armscye.

Back shoulder to waist: This measurement is taken parallel to the spine from the most prominent point of the shoulder to the waistline.

Back shoulder slope. It is taken from the point where the waistline intersects with the spine to the shoulder tip. Make sure your measuring tape is tight.

Waist to hip length. Measure the distance between the waistline and the hip line at a straight angle. This measurement is normally about 16-20cm.

Armscye circumference. Measure around the arm in the underarm area.

Elbow circumference. Measure around the elbow.

Wrist circumference. Measure around the wrist joint.

Shoulder length. It is taken from the end of the shoulder seam closer to the neck to the opposite end of the shoulder seam, or sometimes from the middle of the shoulder slope to the shoulder tip. I recommend you should measure the sleeve length at the same time.

Shoulder to elbow. This measurement is taken from the shoulder joint down to the elbow.

Shoulder to wrist. This measurement is taken from the shoulder joint down to the wrist.

Shoulder circumference (upper arm circumference). It is measured horizontally around the fullest part of the shoulder with the arm hanging down freely. The ends of the measuring tape should meet on the outer part of the arm.

Crotch length. Measure between the legs from the front waistline to the back waistline.

Garment length. Measure along the middle of the back from the seventh cervical vertebra down to the desired length.

Creating a Custom Dress-Form.

Tutorial 1. Materials Required for Making a Dress-Form.

Working with high-stretch fabric is often associated with a particular challenge: a regular foam dress-form is no longer good enough in this case. Your client's body is noticeably different from the shape and the size of your regular dress-form, which will inevitably result in inaccuracies in the fit of a garment sewn with high-stretch fabrics.

After trying out, combining and comparing various ways of working with resilient materials I developed my own method that I’m glad to share with you. The key idea is to make a custom dress-form with your client's body dimensions.

For a start you need to take all measurements off your client. They are all regular corset tailoring measurements plus the measurements you take for sewing garments with shoulder seams. The more measurements you take, the more precise your dress-form will be. Another important measurement to include is crotch length – the distance from the front waistline to the back waistline measured between the legs. You need this measurement for the built-in panties. 

Materials Required for Making a Dress-Form:

You need a large piece of paper to draw a template for what will later become your dress-form. You can use any kind of it from square paper to regular A3 paper.

Cardboard. You can use regular cardboard boxes. As for me I will use two flattened boxes – one put over the other to make four layers of corrugated cardboard.

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White craft glue:

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Paintbrushes of varied width:

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Wrapping film. It is usually sold in rolls. Food wrap won't do because it's too thin.

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Packaging tape:

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Spray foam insulation. Builders use this spray foam to fill the cracks after installing window and door frames, and I use it to fill in the cups of the dress-form. You could also replace spray foam with bits of fabric or padding polyester but spray foam makes the cups a lot more solid and easier to work with.

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Let me explain the basics schematically.

First I draw a vertical line that marks the middle of the dress-form.

Then I draw horizontal lines that we normally refer to when building or altering a corset pattern: shoulder line, bust line, under-bust line, waistline, stomach line and hip line.

I mark the crotch length down from the waistline and find the bottom point of the panties where the closure is supposed to be located.

I mark the shoulder length on the shoulder line at the back and at the front. I mark the notches.

Next I mark the bust front measurement on the bust line and mark the notches, too. Then I subtract the bust front from the bust circumference, find the part of the bust circumference that falls upon the back, mark the determined value on the bust line and mark the notches.

I mark a quarter of the under-bust circumference left and right of the middle of the under-bust line, and again I mark the determined value and the notches on the under-bust line.

What concerns the waistline I only mark notches on the semi- waist circumference, i.e. without dividing it into the front and the back half. I assume it's obvious that such models are only suitable for women of very good proportions. Stomach bulge is totally out of the question! It is a soft curve-hugging dress designed for a nearly perfect figure. That's why we don't distribute the waist circumference between the front and the back.

I mark the semi-circumferences of corresponding measurements with notches on the stomach line and on the hip line as well.

Make sure to mark the bust middle on the bust line. The bust middle measurement is taken depending on the way you want to locate the cups.

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You can also mark your client’s shoulder length for further reference, to know where her neck will be. You will need to account for a number of additional factors when you start constructing your dress-form on paper: i.e. compare the bust middle measurement with the shoulder length and the shoulder slope, etc. But it's already clear that we can transfer the front and the back of the body onto cardboard separately. They differ from each other in the area from the shoulders to the waistline.

This is how we prepare a flat template for the dress-form that we will later use for both dresses described in this course book. You can also use this dress-form for other clients with similar proportions.

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