How to Make a Plaster Dress Form

Written by adam raphael
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How to Make a Plaster Dress Form
A dress form will help with measuring when sewing clothes. (fashionable female dress image by terex from

Sewing your own clothes is a satisfying, money saving hobby. You can make the clothes you want to fit your exact shape, which a store bought item never will. To get the perfect fit every time, you can make a plaster dress form of your body on which to build your clothes. The form reflects all of the unique curves and contours that only you have. The process is long, so make sure you have a lot of patience before you begin.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Plastic garment protector bag
  • Plaster
  • Gauze strips
  • Sharp scissors
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Paper pulp
  • Paper towels
  • White glue
  • String
  • Wooden shims
  • Fabric

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  1. 1

    Remove your clothes, except for undergarments. The undergarments you wear should fit you very well and not be too baggy or tight.

  2. 2

    Place a plastic dry cleaning garment protector bag over your body. The hole where the hanger sticks out should go around your head, and you should push your arms out of the sides of the garment bag.

  3. 3

    Prepare the plaster in a bowl according to the manufacturer's directions so you can dip the gauze strips into it.

  4. 4

    Have a friend cover a long strip of gauze in the plaster, and wrap it around your waist. The gauze should be smooth and fit tightly against your body.

  5. 5

    Continue to dip gauze in the plaster and wrap it around your body until you are covered from your neck to your mid-thigh, and as far down your arms as you want. Smooth each piece as you place it to make sure the cast will be even.

  6. 6

    Let the plaster and gauze dry completely for an hour or two. The cast should be stiff and dry to the touch.

  7. 7

    Have your friend make a long, vertical cut down the sides your body to remove the cast, making a front and back half. She should use sharp scissors, working very slowly so you don’t get hurt.

  1. 1

    Mix wallpaper paste and paper-pulp to create the paper mache. Follow the directions on the products to get the correct consistency.

  2. 2

    Lay the two halves of the form on a table so the interior side is facing up, and line them with paper towels. This will help you release the paper mache once it dries.

  3. 3

    Spread the mixture on top of paper towels to a half-inch-thick layer. Make sure the top edges are half an inch thick so the halves can be joined together.

  4. 4

    Let the paper mache dry and pop them out of the plaster forms. You should carefully pull the paper towels off so you don’t tear them.

  5. 5

    Stand the two paper mache forms up so they are facing you. The convex, outward curving side should be facing you.

  6. 6

    Spread a very thin layer of paper mache over the forms to cover any cracks or imperfections. This layer should dry pretty quickly.

  7. 7

    Spread a thick layer of white glue on the edges of both halves of the form, and press them together. They should now form the shape of your body, with a hollow centre.

  8. 8

    Wrap a string around the body of the form to hold it together while it dries. Tie the string as tight as possible.

  9. 9

    Slide small shims under the string to make sure the form is held tightly together. Let the glue dry for several hours this way.

  10. 10

    Remove the string and reinforce the glued seams. You can use paper mache to secure the seams so they are even stronger.

  11. 11

    Cover the form with fabric so you can use pins when making clothes. You can glue the fabric in place to the inside of the form so no edges can be seen.

  12. 12

    Place the form on a clothes form stand or table so you can work with it.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a hair dryer to speed up all of the drying times to get finished faster.
  • Never pull the gauze so tight so the breathing of the person in the form is restricted at all.

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