Tuesday, September 6, 2016

DIY Dress Form

My DIY Dress Form
Recently I've been wanting a dress form so I can photograph my kids' clothing more professionally for my eBay shop. I found you can buy them pretty reasonably but I really wanted to use one today, and if I can ever accomplish something for free I try to do so. I got to thinking about how to make one and I came up with an easy solution. I used old t-shirts culled from my husband's dresser. I was going to cut these into rags but I turned them into a dress form instead with no sewing. To make this project you will need a hanger for the size clothing you want to display, four rubber bands, a t-shirt, stuffing, and a pole to use as a stand.

Find a hanger and shirt.
First to make your form get an old shirt. Then find a hanger the size of the clothing you want to display on the form. I need a baby and toddler size form today so I used a baby hanger. Turn the shirt inside-out. Using runner bands, close the neck and arm holes, lining the neck up with the hanger hook and the arms up with the hanger edges.

Turn right side out.
Turn the shirt right side out with the hanger inside. The hanger hook should be pressed up into the shirt neck and the edges should be placed in the shoulders. Now stuff the shirt. I used rolled up old t-shirts to stuff the shirt.

Shape the stuffing.
Next, pinch and squeeze the stuffing to shape the shirt like a body. Even a baby or toddler has a smaller waist than chest and hips. When the body is shaped as you want, find a pole of some sort to use as a stand. I chose a window washing wand I rarely use. Press the top end of the pole into the shirt, all the way to the top of the neck. Hook the hanger over the neck to stabilize the form. Gather the bottom of the shirt tightly and tie it off with a zip tie or elastic or a rubber band cut to make a tie. Once you've tied off the bottom of the shirt you will want to tuck the excess fabric up behind the shirt so it isn't hanging down in your photos.

Tie off the bottom.

The really nice thing about this no-sew version is that I can change the size of the form pretty easily. Right now I am listing a whole bunch of baby clothes on consignment, but soon I will move on to my own kids' outgrown clothes, which range from size 4 up to men's adult size Small. With this form I can change the size as I move up by changing the hanger and repositioning the rubber bands.

The finished dress form displaying a coat.

I really like the freedom this form gives me to move around the house. Before I had to use one of our two white tables to display clothing and the light was often not optimal. Many of the clothes didn't really fit on the tables. I can move my dress form from room to room as the light changes, and I can choose either neutral walls or use our decor, like our big world map to set a tone.

The final photo

My photos before

You can compare the new photo I took today of a winter coat with the one I took before and see how much more professional and clear the photo on the dress form looks. Now you can see the coat as it will look when worn. It's not squashed onto a too-small table. The light is better and the image is more appealing. I have tons more baby clothing to list, as well as winter coats, shoes, and clothes for older kids, so I hope you will stop by Atelier Mandaline on eBay to see my terrific new photos.

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