Category Archives: tutorials

Tutorial: Padding a Dress form




I promised some friends I would do a tutorial on padding a dress form to modify its measurements (and make it softer) , so here it is in all its glory!
This is a style of padding that is adjustable, so changing the dress form to a client’s/friend’s measurements will be simpler.

What you need:

A dress form (either adjustable or solid)

around 90 cm (1 yard) four way stretch lycra/spandex

polyester wadding

cotton/viscose wadding


measurements of the body you are imitating



1. Make the cover

the first step is to make the lycra cover that will smooth out the wadding. I used a pattern I got from the seamstress I was interning for in the spring, but the pattern is not really very exact. As long as you have sort of a torso form that is slightly tight on your dress form (easiest to do by sewing up and then  fitting and adjusting on the doll) you should be fine.



this is what my pattern looked like. It could’ve been made a little tighter at the waist though, but that’s not such a big problem.


After you’ve finished your cover and are satisfied with the fit, pull it on your dress form, and if possible, secure at the top. I did this by stuffing the extra neck fabric under the removable top of the dress form, but I’m not sure everyone has that option.





2. Prepare the wadding

I like to have my wadding in strips of various sizes, but experimenting with the shapes could be interesting. Circles, ovals, and such would probably make the padding more exact. You can also fold or roll the strips. The cotton wadding I like in bigger pieces, since it’s mostly meant to smooth out the edges.





3. Get to the padding

Finally, the actual padding. Roll the lycra cover all the way to the top like so.




If you’re using an adjustable dress form, like me, set it to the approximate shape that you want, but leave some room for the wadding. I usually leave the dress form measurements around 5-10 cm (2-4″) short of the finished measurements. If you’re using a solid one, you might need some more wadding, depending on the size you’re going for, and the original size of your dress form.




I like to begin the padding from the top, and then move downwards. So start adding some wadding (heh) to the bust area (and/or back, if it is particularly curved at the top).




You can use pins, but make sure that you push the sharp ends as far as you can, so they won’t prick you when you’re working on the dress form later.

The perks of padding really come out with the bust area, I think, since here you can adjust one of the things that is always the same, even on an adjustable dress form — the apex, or bust point. Most dress forms seem to have considerable perky breasts, and since the apex is one of the key points of a good fit, this is really something you’ll want to adjust to a more realistic measurement. I do this by adding the wadding (heh) mostly under the apex of the dress form. If you want a more outlined breast form, you can always attach a bra of the correct cup size to your dress form, and stuff that with wadding, but I’ve never found this necessary.



measuring the bust point


Measure only after you’ve pulled the cover on the area you’re working on (it may tighten the wadding a bit, thus making the measurement smaller than without the cover).



checking the bust measurement


When you’re satisfied with the shape and measurements of the bust, move on to the waist.

With the waist you should also keep in mind the shape of the body you’re imitating (big tummy/small tummy? Sway back?) and place the wadding in accordance with that.




As you can see, there is polyester wadding only on the front, since this body (mine!) has a rather pronounced sway back. The cotton wadding goes all the way around just to smooth things out and keep everything in place.


Next up is the hip area. Same as with the waist, think about where you want the shape to be, and pad accordingly.





There might be some leftover fabric at the waist where a dart would desperately want to be, but you can just smooth that out towards the back and it should look fine.


Now pull the cover over your wadding, smoothing everything out as best you can. Check all your measurements and the general shape, and you’re done!




Now, the shape may not be completely smooth once you’re done, unless you were very precise with your wadding, but personally I don’t think it’s that important. We all have our lumps and bumps anyway, right? ;)


– Sadie

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Rectangle Skirt Tutorial

Tutorial time!

After making the blue silk blouse I posted about last time, I started wondering what else could be made with a similarly (ridiculously) simple pattern.

I came up with this nifty skirt:

In hindsight the outcome would’ve been better with a drapier or stretchier fabric, but… oh well.

As you can see, it’s just a rectangle with ties (I made mine asymmetrical so that the knot wouldn’t be exactly in the centre).

You can tie the straps to the front or to the back, loose or tight, so this is a nicely versatile piece of clothing.

The How-To Part Of The Tutorial

In addition to fabric you’ll need a zipper. The amount of fabric you need and the length of your zipper will depend on your size, but for reference I used about 1,5 m of fabric and a 30 cm invisible zip.

So, here’s what you’re going to cut out from the fabric (remember to add seam allowance though):

Add a little more seam allowance to the sides of the back piece than to the front one, since it will have a seam in the center (or slightly to the side if you go asymmetrical like me). If you’re cutting the front and back pieces at the same time, from a double layer of fabric, remember to cut the back piece in half afterwards.


Start by sewing and turning the straps as shown below.

Next, pin and sew two of the back waistband pieces to the pack pieces like so:

Then do the same with one of the front waistband pieces and the front piece:

After this, pin and sew the back and front together, but don’t do anything to the side seams at this point. And remember, when you eventually turn the skirt, you’ll have to snip a bit at the corners next to the waistband to get the thing turned nice and neat.

Next, sew the side seams, making sure that the straps are sandwiched between the front and back pieces.

Then, sew in the zipper. I used an invisible zipper presser foot to sew in my zip — something I’ve never used before, but it worked phenomenally well. After sewing in the zipper, sew up the rest of the back seam (unless your using a normal zipper, then I guess you can do it in the order you prefer).

Now pin and hem the hem (man that sounds silly).

Sew together the remaining waist band pieces, and then pin and sew them to the waistband already attached to the skirt, right sides together. Turn and iron down, making sure that the area around the zipper is nice and neat. After this, hand stitch the turned waistband to the skirt, along the seam where my thumb is on in the pic below:

Now just iron the finished skirt and you’re done! Yay! I hope my instructions weren’t to complicated :)

Happy sewing!

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Salmon Coloured Shirt Tutorial

In my first ever blog post, I had a couple of self-drafted shirts that people seemed to like. So I will attempt to explain how you can make one yourself.



Start with the back piece, as the front piece is almost identical to it.


There’s only one real body measurement that you’ll need for this shirt, and that’s your hip measurement. Everything else depends on your personal preferences. I’ll use my own measurements as an example.

– Start by dividing your hip measurement in four. If you want a looser shirt, you can use a measurement slightly larger than your hip. Draw a straight line with that measurement on whatever paper you choose to make your patterns out of. My line was 25 cm (9,8″).

– Next, decide what length you want you shirt to be. this is probably best decided by measuring from your armpit, so basically from where the armhole would start. My shirt was 41 cm (~ 16″) long measured like this. Now draw this line from your first line like in the diagram above.

– Next decide your back length. This will probably depend a bit on how long your back is, but then again the shirt is quite loose, so I wouldn’t worry too much. My back length was exactly 20 cm longer than the measurement from the armpit, so that’s 61 cm (24″) long in total.

– Decide how wide you want your neckline and sleeve to be. My neckline was like a boatneck, so it was 30 cm (11,8″) wide, so that’s 15 cm (5,9″) on the pattern. Draw it so that it curves upwards slightly, the starting point of the sleeve being about 2 cm (~0,8″) higher than where the back line ended. Next draw the sleeve. My sleeve was 18 cm (7″) wide. The line is completely straight, parallel with the “1/4 of hip” -line. Now just draw a slightly curved line from where the sleeve ends to where your “shirt length from armpit” -line begins. Your pattern for the back piece of the shirt is now finished, and hopefully looks something like the diagram above.


Next, the front piece:

– All the measurements except the back length are the same as in the pattern for the back piece. So basically you can copy the back piece up until the armpit, then add four times your desired pleat-width to you original back length. Draw this line, and copy the top of the pattern from the back piece. Now draw a line connecting the sleeve to the armpit, and your done. My pleats were 2 cm (~0,8″) wide, so the center front of my front piece is exactly 8 cm (~3,1″) longer than the center back of my back piece. Mark your pleats according to the diagram, where the …… -lines mark the peak of the pleat, and the _ . _ . _ -lines are the ones that should be sewn together, as shown by the arrows in the diagram.


After finishing  off the edges of the two pieces, start constructing the shirt by making the pleats. It’s probably easiest to pin them down and iron them before sewing. Remember not to sew the pleats all the way! The sleeves should be left pretty much open, so only sew the center portions, which is approximately the width of the neckline + 3 cm (~1,2″) on both sides. When you’re done with the pleats they should look something like this from the inside:

After the pleats are done, the rest is easy. Just sew the sides and shoulders together (right sides together, of course) and finish off the openings how you like.

I recommend using light fabrics for this shirt, as they show off the sleeves best. Something see-through could be awesome as well. You’ll need about 1-1,5 m (1,09-1,6 yds) of fabric, depending on whether you choose to cut the back piece on fold or not (and also on the width of the fabric).

So, I hope this makes any sense to anyone. Please bare in mind that I’ve always been rubbish at explaining stuff to others, so I’m really doing the best that I can. Feel free to ask any questions though :)



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