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This is my very first post on my new blog. Hopefully you will find this information helpful!
I don’t have a lot of spare time, but I am usually doing some type of project. I spent a large amount of my summer fretting and studying for an exam that only comes every 10 years for my profession. Now that I have passed the exam, I can move on to my DIY Polyurethane Dress Form! I purchased the how-to instruction booklet from mytwindressforms.com. (It has been brought to my attention that the site is no longer working. I do not know if this is temporary or permanent. 6/2013)
I chose to make a polyurethane dress form instead of a duct tape form or a paper tape form. Although they are easier, I did not feel that they would be an accurate representation of my body.
Things that I used:
Dry Cleaner Bag
Plaster Casting Material: Johnson and Johnson Specialist Plaster Casting Bandages
Johnson Paste Wax
Upholstery Needle and Thread
Rigid Expanding Polyurethane Foam
Stand (IV Pole)
I also enlisted the help of my dear husband. About half way through, he kept muttering, “I wouldn’t have done it this way”. I finally said, “If you don’t think this will work, cut me out right NOW!!” We pressed on. So if you get along well, then go for it. If not, you should probably find a dear friend to help you. We did it in the garage and put down plastic to protect the floor. First I was covered with a dry cleaner bag then tape was placed to secure it to me. Also a strip of heavy cardboard was placed midline along the front and back so that it would help protect me from the scissors. Then the plaster was placed on me one strip at a time. The process takes about 30 minutes to place all the plaster if you have everything cut ahead of time and have a strategy on how to put it on. Start from the bottom and work your way up. Total time for the plaster to set is about 45 minutes. The cast can be cut part way up to allow for breathing room after the bottom portion has hardened. It does not have to be completely dry and will not be completely dry before it is cut off. Plaster just needs to be set. You will also notice horizontal marks for center front and back to guide with reattachment. A horizontal line was also drawn at the bottom as cutting guide. I wish I had drawn a horizontal line also from the side for posture guide.
The halves were then laid out in the sun to dry. We had at least two layers of plaster bandages on the mold. *The mold that we actually used for the form was a second form that we made (husband thought he could do a better one).
After it was completely dry, I brushed the inside with Johnson Paste Wax. Then several days later sprayed it with Pol-ease 2300. This was to aid in releasing the polyurethane foam. If you can brush with paste wax, spray, reassemble an then pour the foam within 48 hours, it might make removing the plaster easier. Here is a video tutorial that was similar to what I did. I did not use as many layers of plaster.
I then sewed the two halves together then covered the seams, neck, and arm holes with remaining plaster bandages. Then sprayed again the Pol-ease 2300.
The foam comes in two parts. You must mix according to the directions to the foam you purchased. I did not buy the foam that comes in a can, because I felt that the rigid foam I used would be more uniform in application. Just have to mix it really quickly (about 20 seconds) and pour before it starts expanding. Here is a video of the test amount to show the expansion.
Before I poured the foam, I reinforced the chest and upper back by using clear packing tape and applied it in a crisscross pattern across the chest.
I am petite, so I only used the 2 quart set and had some to spare. I let it dry overnight then painstakingly removed the plaster. This foam did not have any big gaping holes. Some areas I had to file off the remainder of the plaster. It was very tedious!
After I was done shaping the form by using wood files, I padded the areas that were uneven and covered with plastic wrap. I then took rib knit and made a seam in the back. Then placed the cover on the form inside out, pinned closed the shoulders and neck then removed and made seams along the pinned line.(Did you know that everyone is asymmetrical? Had know idea my right side was so different from my left)
I also found an IV pole at a thrift shop for $12.99! I’m glad my husband is willing to MacGyver this into a dress form stand. Stay tuned for my next post on how it’s done and final project photos!
Have you made a dress form before? What kind? Do you have a good story to share?