Homemade Dressmaker’s Dummy

Emily and I went shopping for dresses the other day, but she didn’t find much that she liked. I thought I would try sewing some dresses for her, which I haven’t done in a long time (except for Halloween costumes). It’s a long process because I only see her about once a week so I have to wait all week for fittings. Also, Emily doesn’t fit the pattern measurements which are weirdly huge (Emily generally wears a size 2, but the closest pattern size for her is a 10).

I thought of buying a dressmaker’s dummy, but it turns out they cost much more than I am willing to pay. After checking online, I found two different methods of constructing a homemade dressmaker’s dummy — the duct tape method and the plaster method. I decided to do the plaster method — partly because I thought it would have more structural integrity and wouldn’t have to be stuffed with anything, but also because I thought it might be kind of fun to wrap someone up in plaster.

The instructions called for “Rigid Wrap” (sort of a cheesecloth with plaster embedded in it–available at Michael’s) which you dip in warm water and apply just like paper-mache.  Emily wore one of her old bras, and we wrapped her stomach with a thin gauze before applying the plaster.  It took about 20 minutes to harden enough to cut it off (up the sides and across both shoulders). I had to do a little repair work and then I clamped the two halves together to dry for a couple of days.


And here’s what it looks like after wrapping it in that stretchy athletic tape that sticks to itself. The tape allows you to pin stuff to the dummy. A little spray adhesive will make the first layer of tape stick to the plaster. I’m excited to try it out.


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