Knocking Up a Dress Form

Here is my basic dress form.

Making a Maternity Dress Form

During pregnancy I find my standard dress form unsuitable.  Here is how I created a temporary maternity outfit for my current form.


  • Dress Form
  • Strong Elastic, 1 inch wide or more.
  • A one-piece swimsuit you are willing to cut up and ruin for future use.  One with low-cut legs is best.
  • A brassiere that you won’t miss for the months it is on the dress form

For Stuffing: one or more of the following

  •  Quilt Batting
  • Pillow Stuffing
  • Scraps of material

Step One

Find a bra that has seen better days so you don’t miss it.  Put it on the dress from and begin padding the rib cage area first until it matches your own bra band circumference.  I used strips of quilt bat leftover from earlier quilting projects.

Place bra on form and begin wrapping quilt bat under band area until the measurement matches your own.

Step Two

After you have a good approximation of your bra band circumference you can begin padding the cups.  This is easy.  I used quilt bat here too, but pillow stuffing would have been better.  I just didn’t have any on hand.

After the band is to your liking, stuff the bra. This might make you giggle.

Step Three

Take swimsuit and ruin it!  Cut crotch so you can get the suit over the head of the dress form.  I just slit the crotch.  Situate it nicely on the form and over the stuffed bra.  You may want to use some safety pins to keep the suit in place.

Cut through crotch of swimsuit and slip over the head of the form. I wish my non-pregnant figure looked half as nice as the dress form does at this point.

Step Four

Making practice muslins I have tons of scraps that aren’t beautiful enough for scrap quilts.  I used these to stuff the belly. 

Tons of scraps.


Step Five

When the belly is partly stuffed take a wide piece of strong elastic and pull it tightly under the bra cups creating a rib cage and belly demarcation.  If you don’t the belly stuffing will ooze into the bra area and you won’t get that tight pregnancy belly look.

When the belly is partly stuffed you will need to create a rib cage for the form. I used the elastic from an old belt and cinched it as tightly as possible under the breast cups. Safety pin to secure to swimsuit.

Step Six

Keep on stuffing.  Remember to stuff the butt also.  And the hips if you are gaining there as well. You can get as precise in measurement as you want. I didn’t bother taking a measurement of my waistline at the navel as it will change over the pregnancy.  I just wanted a dress from that approximated my shape and looked midterm pregnant as I will be doing most of my sewing during that period of my pregnancy. 

Remember to stuff the butt and hips to approximate your own. Here the belly is partly stuffed. You can work the stuffing around until it is the basic shape of your pregnant belly. I carry high so my bump is largely above the navel and I can customize the dress form to suit my unique shape.

Step Seven

Stuffing a dress form tends to make everything mushy.  All of you who have ever made a duct tape dummy know that the figure you end up with tends to get smooshed in the boobs to the point where the form is not quite an accurate representation of you.   To counteract this uniboob tendency I strung another strong elastic around the neck between the breast cups and secured it with a safety pin.

Lycra stretched across the brassiere creates a uniboob. To counteract that tendency wrap a length of strong elastic around the neck and then tighten down between the breast cups. Secure with a safety pin.

Step Eight

The completed form.  I left the belly bubble a bit flat as that matches my own.  I am strangely full above the navel and flat under the navel.  I figure I can keep stuffing the form as my pregnancy increases.  Tuck the bottom ends of the suit under all of the stuffing for an easy finish.

Side view of the completed form. If I get much bigger during the last trimester I can just stuff it some more.

Here is the back of the form.  I hope you can see the little safety pins I added to secure the suit to the stuffing. 

Back view of the completed form. You can see at the bottom where I tucked in the excess material.

Not an exact replica of me but good enough to hang an unfinished garment for handwork or hemming.  I was pleased to recyle scraps in its creation and after the pregnancy the form can be easily dismantled.   I am only out a swimsuit that I didn’t wear anyway.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: