Bootstraps Fashion DIY Dress Form

Bootstraps Fashion DIY Dress Form


I recently finished making the Bootstraps Fashion DIY custom fit dress form and want to do a review on it.  I want to do a review on it since the idea of making this dress form has been on my mind for a long time. There are loads of blog posts and Youtube videos online showing you how to make this dress form so I decided to talk about my experience instead.

Let’s start from the beginning…

In the past I have personally purchased Bootstrap Fashion patterns. Bootstrap Fashion Patterns are custom, made to measure patterns. That means you enter your measurements and you get a pattern (in the style you chose) made to your measurements. I had really good results with them so I was alway keen on using them in the future.

I saw they had dress forms patterns as well. You make your own dress form. A great affordable option. The one that I was eyeing on was the DIY CUSTOM FIT dress form. That means you enter your measurements, you get a PDF pattern to make this dress form it should look similar to your body based on the measurements given.  That sounded like a great idea!

Fast forward some time. I completed a semester of draping in school and saw how useful a dress form that matches my body would be. Not only for draping but for fitting! So I reached out to Bootstraps Fashion to see if they would like to collaborate with me and they agreed.

Why I chose this DIY Custom Fit Dress form pattern?

  1. It’s a dress form pattern that is customized based on your measurements. So it will look similar to your body.
  2. It’s adjustable. Meaning this is a pattern and if I need to make any tweaks I could do so myself.
  3. It’s an affordable option. The dress form pattern is $24 and the arm is $10. Additional cost are for the supplies needed to make the dress form.
  4. There were lots of good reviews online.


How does it work?

  1. You enter your measurements they ask for. I suggest you do both fields of measurements.  This will increase your chances of getting a accurate representation of your body.  Also I encourage you to check mark the seam allowance box. They give you a 3/8″ seam allowance and my thoughts are, the less work I have to do the better.

dressform measurements

2. Check out and your pattern will be sent to you in PDF form.

3. Gather up all the supplies needed that are listed. The software calculates for you how long your pipe and stand should be based on your height.

*Tip : Watch YouTube videos on making this dress form. So much information out there.


How would I rate the ease of sewing on this?

This pattern is such an easy sew. Nothing complicated about the sewing aspect of it. Kinda reminds me of how easy sewing a princess cut dress is. Very similar.

Preparation though… took some time. Shopping for the supplies took me a few days because initially I was trying to find the best deals but ended up just shopping at two stores for convenience.

It tells you in the pattern to block fuse the fabric. You SHOULD do this. This will help save time. And DO NOT skip the interfacing part. As much as I dislike interfacing, I won’t skip it because I know it does make a difference. Plus, over time the fabric will stretch out if it is not interfaced. JUST DON’T SKIP THIS STEP.

The hardest part I would say of this project was the stuffing of the dress form. What I mean by that is that majority of accomplishing the look of the form is how you stuff it. You are trying not to have it look lumpy and make certain areas of the form show the same protuberance as you have. This took some time constantly checking and looking at my body.


My thoughts on if it looks like my body?

I have to say its really close! It’s not a scan of my body but really close! I think a lot of it is determined by how you stuff it and the protuberance selected.



I was searching all over the internet on the reviews on this dress form. There were some that said that they thought over all the dress form was great but found that there were parts of the body that didn’t quite matched. For example maybe someone might have a some protuberance lower or higher than what was given.  I did read a review that made a good point.

This review said to make a muslin first and try it on. See if there is anything majorily off. They said they had the bust level off on their form so they contacted the company and the company adjusted it for them. I thought that was such a great thing to do. So even though I didn’t muslin (because I read that review after I had sewn it) I decided to try it on.

Keep in mind that this pattern will have negative ease. So you won’t be able to close it trying it on.  The reason why is when you stuff it, it will expand. I thought everything looked proportioned to my body and continued on.

The Cost

So I have to say the determining factor of this project was the affordability.  I can’t afford a scanned dress form. Plus I thought if my body changes I can easily afford another DIY dress form and do it again. So I tracked my cost. Some of the supplies I already had on hand so those will be noted that I didn’t spend money on.

1. Pattern of the dress form: No charge per collaboration, in exchange for review ($24 for                pattern)

2. Fabric: Upholstery Fabric: 1.5 yds  $27

3. Fusible woven interfacing: 3 yds $9

4. Cardboard : Nothing found it at home

5. Sponge: Used upholstery foam $15 (too much in package only used 1/4 of it)

6. Zipper: 2 small zippers had it already on hand

7. Glue: I used hot glue which I already had on hand

8. Rack Stand: I used my old dress form stand (some run around $40-50?)

9. PVC pipe: $7

10. Stuffing: $15 It was recommended to get a 5lb bag. I only used half of it for my size.

My Total out of pocket cost:  $73


Cool things I noticed about this pattern:

  1. You have an option to mark out on your dress form the major fit points with stitching. Pattern will indicate with lines where that is.


2. It has an inner core support to help with stability and structure.




Any Negative Experience?

NO, this was a really good experience with no hiccups. The instructions and picture are clear. The only thing I would say is that I had to sew it up myself HAHAHA! If I had the luxury of hiring someone I probably would. I think this looks really close and will be so helpful in my sewing so I would recommend it.

Questions I have:

Someone brought this subject up to me. Will the poly filling condense over time?

I have no idea and I have not seen a review on this subject. If anyone has had their form for a period of time can they leave a comment please!

Thank you all for following along on my dress form journey!


I used a wooden clapper to help with pressing those thick seams.
Transfers Fit Points with transfer paper.
This is the marks I followed with stitching
You MUST clip all curves

*disclaimer: The pattern was given to me as a gift in exchange for review. All opinions are honest and I was not told what to say or obligated in any way. All other supplies were purchased by me for this project. No links are affiliate links.








Where to measure on a pattern

Where to measure on a pattern

After my posting part 2 “Measure Your Patterns” of my series, I got some feedback as to why some don’t do this. The common response was… I don’t know where to measure on the pattern. This sparked some curiosity on my end. Would labeling fit points on patterns be what people want? Why don’t all pattern companies label them? I took a poll on Instagram stories asking if they wished more pattern companies would label their major fit points on their patterns. A huge 94% of people who voted said YES!

You will find most all of the big 4 companies have major fit points labeled. Usually found by a small line with the label (bust, waist, hip, elbow, bicep, etc). Or what’s commonly shown as a circle with a cross in it. I have noticed many of the Indie Pattern Companies (not all) don’t label theirs. My assumption is going to be that they don’t like to have it clutter their nested sizes or that they don’t find it necessarily important. I’m not sure.

So I decided to write this post showing through illustrations where certain points are on a pattern. Just a few.

Disclaimer: Every company uses their own drafted slopers or they purchase them. From there they create style blocks. Measurements may vary and are not the same between companies. If the major fit points are not labeled on the pattern, the only person that would know this information accuratley is the pattern maker. The following information given is just a general rule of thumb that pattern makers may use or understand when drafting slopers. 

One of the best ways I can suggest to help bridge the connection between a flat pattern and visually seeing it as a 3dimensional garment is to drape the pattern paper/tissue on a form or yourself. You will be able to see where certain fit points fall.


Bodice Labels-01
The full Bust level usually (dependent on size, sleeveless or sleeved bodice) can be found around 2″ down from the armseye. It should and will pass through the apex. 

Bodice Labels2-03Bodice Labels-03Bodice Labels-05



Bicep is found by drawing a line connecting the two ends of the sleeve cap.

* Grain line should always stay center of the sleeve. Keeping the sleeve width balanced. Shoulder point/notch falls 1/4′ towards the front sleeve.



Hip Level can be found around 2/3rds of the distance between waist and crotch level (thigh level in picture). High Hip Level can be found roughly around 3″ from waist. 

The area shown as thigh level is the start of the thigh.

*Tip: Grain line of pants (or shorts) should stay center of pants. To slim down the leg of the pants take the amount you want to remove divide by 1/2. Take that amount off either side of the grain line. Essentially taking equal amounts off on either side of the pants. If you take more from one side than the other you run the risk of the seams twisting.


Thank you for following along with me on this series. Stay tune for part 3.

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Things we should not skip in sewing (in my opinion) Part 2: Measure Your Patterns

Things we should not skip in sewing (in my opinion) Part 2: Measure Your Patterns

Continuing on for this series. I wrote a short blog post with Part 1: Check Your Fabric. Now let’s talk about the next part of this series… MEASURE YOUR PATTERNS.


Some things I’ve heard people say is…”it’s too time consuming” or “too much work”. You won’t think that if your garment ends up too small or have so many fit issues you feel overwhelmed. Think of it this way, you made a garment that took you 3-4 hours to cut and sew. Then to find out you can’t wear it or you don’t want to wear it.  You just spent all that time on something that you may possibly not wear again.  It could all have been caught within 20 min after cutting out your pattern.

Some may argue that they checked the finish garment measurements so they feel confident about proceeding. Not all patterns give you detailed finish garment measurements at every fit point. Like bust, waist, hips, length, bicep, etc. They just give you a few. Everything else is a mystery. Not only that but I have  personally experienced some finish garment measurements listed to be inaccurate. Mistakes happen.

Once in school (for pattern making) our instructor gave us an assignment. The assignment was to pick a pattern for ourselves, measure the pattern and fix all fit issues we can find. No muslin and no tissue fitting allowed. WHAT?! This was within the first few weeks of a beginner pattern making class. We were to bring them into class the following week and as a group go over it with our adjustments. I could see what the instructor was doing. Keeping us aware of body measurements and where they would be on the pattern.

So let’s just dive in and get started. I’m going to talk about the things you need to remember when measuring your patterns.

  1. Measure yourself and write it down.

Measuring yourself correctly is important and I would highly reccomend looking into books or reliable sources to see what’s the proper way to measure yourself. You wouldn’t believe how much of a difference 1/4″ can make if you are off on your measurements. I’ll link to a resource I like and find helpful here.

This is a list of measurements I have on hand always hanging up in my sewing room. I suggest you should have a list of your measurements near by that are easily accessible.

  1. Back Shoulder Width
  2. Shoulder Length
  3. Bust Circumference (have front and back in separate measurements as well)
  4. Waist circumference (have front and back in separate measurements as well)
  5. Shoulder Neck point to apex
  6. Shoulder neck point to apex to waist
  7. Back Waist Length
  8. Hip Circumference (have front and back in separate measurements as well)
  9. Bicep circumference
  10. Crotch Curve
  11. Waist to knee
  12. Waist to Ankle (length) and inseam.


2. Draw out your seam allowance on your patterns. 


This part is probably the least exciting thing to do but its important. You can see the pattern itself. You are able to know exactly where to measure on the pattern and no need to do any extra math by subtracting seam allowance.

Here is an example I did on a blog post for Love Notions showing how I drew out the seam allowances. (Blog Post here.)


3. Get familiar with the intended ease of the pattern.


I have noticed more indie pattern companies are starting to incorporate this description into their pattern instructions. Usually found under fit guide or at the beginning of the instructions. Some will describe the fit of the garment as …

Example: This dress is fitted at the bust, semi-fitted at the waist and loose at the hips. 

They may even go as far as telling you exactly the amount of ease intended with the pattern.

Example: The bust will have 2″ of ease, waist 3″, and hips 4″.

(Here is an example of explanation of ease in the Fulton Blazer pattern by Alina Sewing & Design Co. See picture.)

alinap3 copy

If you have a pattern that does not explain the intended ease then do some more investigating. To find out the intended ease what you can do is to subtract the size chart measurements from the finish garment measurements. The difference will give you ease.


The size chart says that a size 14 measurements are… Bust 36″, Waist 28″, and hips 38″. The finish garment measurement list the bust at 39″. When subtract the size chart bust and the finish garment measurement, the difference is 3″. That’s the intended ease at the bust. 

Now take your bust measurement add the 3″ of ease (that’s the intended ease) and the sum is what you are aiming for.

Side Note:

When I started to learn how to make patterns I realized how much I was using the standard wearing ease knowledge I obtained from school into my sewing. When you learn to make pattern you learn what’s called wearing ease. This ease is necessary in a pattern to be able to wear a garment and move. The minimum amount of ease needed.  I’m going to list the following amount of wearing ease reccommend  in each fit point so you can remember them for next time. (I am only listing women because that is what I am familiar with.)

Women’s Woven Wearing Ease (also considered as FITTED):

Bust: 3-4″

Waist: 1″-2″

Hips: 2″-3″

Bicep: 2″

Crotch Depth: 1″-2″

Example: If my bicep is 12″ in circumference and the minimum wearing ease is 2″ , then that means I need a minimum of 14″ in circumference at the bicep for the sleeve to fit. I then  measure the sleeve pattern at the bicep level and see what the measurement is. If the pattern bicep measures out 13″ … it won’t fit. Well, it will go on but you will see it’s too tight to feel comfortable. You will also see a lot of drag lines.


4. Start measuring the pattern pieces 

Start measuring the pattern pieces and comparing it to your measurements. Keeping in mind of ease as well.  You will want to start at the back shoulders since this is considered the foundation of the garment. Back shoulders and work your way down the body. Go down the list of measurements I recommended you to write down. Also with all the circumference measurements, keep in mind of the ease you just figured out.


Now I can probably guess what your next question is … “What do I do if it doesn’t match?” That my friend,  goes into the territory of pattern adjustments and muslins. I will have to leave that up to you if you want to adjust them. I have gotten to the point where I feel confident to make most of the adjustments based on just measuring.  Even before I make a muslin. I sometimes will leave some of the suspected fit issues for the muslin because I’m either unsure or think that one adjustment might effect another. It is all up to you from this point on.


Thank you for reading this blog post!


(All information listed in this blog post is recommendation only. Whatever I was taught or trained by is influenced in this blog post.)

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Love Notions Guest Blog: Harmony Blouse

I love maximizing my patterns especially with easy to do modifications. So over at Love Notions I did a guest blog post on how I took the Harmony pattern and gave it a little twist or for better word tucks ;). And to add some coolness I even show you how to make any sleeve into a petal sleeve! But no need to do that to your Love Notion Patterns because in the blog post Love Notions includes a free petal sleeve add on! Go check out their blog here!

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Flashback Sewing Challenge!

Flashback Sewing Challenge!

Imagine if some crazy maverick science guy tells you that his car can go back in time would you jump in the car? Sounds familiar eh? HAHA! Well I don’t have a fancy time traveling car but I do have a sewing friend that loves past fashion trends as much as I do. And since we are not able to time travel we plan to bring those trends back to the future for at least the month of June.


Faith from @faithstjules and I wanted to bring the sewing community a fun challenge. A challenge that will bring back those past fashions trends. During the month of June we want people to create looks inspired by their favorite time in history and show them off on Instagram!

Start brainstorming for ideas. You can use vintage pattern, new patterns, or even make patterns to achieve your look. Make this whole sewing challenge fun and don’t be shy showing us your inspiration.


You will pick a time period you are inspired by. Start doing some research of the fashion trends during that time. See if you can find a pattern/s to help you achieve that look. It can be a vintage pattern, a current pattern, or you can even make your pattern. As long as you have made a whole look inspired by that time in history.


  1. All entries are due by June 24th, 2019
  2. One final complete look per person. (One entry per person)
  3. Take a picture of you in the outfit and post them on your Instagram Feed. (Must have a public account so we can share)
  4. Make sure you tag both Faith (@faithstjules) and I (@winmichele) , along with  the hashtag #flashbacksewingchallenge so we can see.
  5. (Optional) tell us what fabric, patterns, etc you used to create your look. I’m sure companies would be delighted to hear you used their stuff!
  6. Anyone from any country is allowed to participate. Just keep in mind that if you win the Grand Prize, make sure it can be shipped to your country.


On Friday June 28th we will pick a winner from all the enteries to win the Grand Prize of a $50 gift card to Promenade Fabrics.

To get the party started during the month of June we are also going to be hosting giveaways every Monday. These giveaways were graciously sponsored by some fabulous companies! Check them out!

Flashback sewing challenge


Alyssa-May Designs  – Online Fabric Shop

Patternscout – Pattern and Design Company

Fresh Press Patterns- Sewing Patterns

Promenade Fine Fabrics- Store and Online Fabric Store

Hope to see you in the future showing us some history in our FLASHBACK SEWING CHALLENGE!

Things we should not skip in sewing (In my opinion) Part 1-Check your Fabrics

Things we should not skip in sewing (In my opinion) Part 1-Check your Fabrics

Going back to school for pattern making has been challenging and the most wonderful thing I have done as a sewist. Before school I would have said I knew plenty in sewing. At least enough to make wearable clothing for myself. I learned the basics of sewing through family and home economics class but as far as sewing garments I was self taught. Blogs and Youtube videos taught me. What made me decide to go to school was I got to the point where I was curious about pattern making and wanted to make patterns. I thought it would be enough to purchase a book in pattern making and teach myself.  Learned the A, B, C’s of pattern making but I couldn’t just take any picture and confidently make a pattern for that look. I had too many questions that I couldn’t find the answers to in a book or google search. So I decided to go back to school and do something I really wanted to do.


In just a few weeks of attending school I felt like I knew very little about sewing. I realized I was doing some things wrong. The only way I can describe it was that I felt like a guppy in a huge ocean trying to find its way to the other side of the world. Because I was so hungry for knowledge I began to be obsessed over the “why’s”. I wanted to know why is done this way and not this other way. Every time I would find out the WHY it was a light bulb moment for me.

KEEP IN MIND: I want to remind you that there are no “Rules” in sewing. Everyone who sews as a hobby should enjoy the process and learn as they go. There shouldn’t be pressure that THIS has to be done in a certain way in order to accomplish a wearable garment for yourself. You can do whatever you want to the clothes YOU wear. This post is made for the purpose of me sharing things I have learned while going to school and being mentored by professionals that have improved my sewing. I feel confident that this will have a HUGE effect in your sewing.

Questions ran though my head like, does anyone else know this? Why isn’t this discussed more? Through all this learning I ended up realizing there are things we should be checking, doing, shouldn’t be skipping, and never disregard when sewing. So let me tell you the things I feel every sewist should be doing and WHY.


I remember seeing this topic once in an article about how to block fabric. But thought I would only apply this in severe cases where I can visually see that the fabrics grain lines were off. NOPE  you should always check the gain lines on every fabric you sew with. BEFORE you cut your patterns out. This is mainly done with wovens but you should also be checking to see if the knit fabric you are using is in good condition.

Checking to see if your fabric is “on grain” means checking to see if the fabric’s crosswise grain is perpendicular to the lengthwise grain. If not, you correct it and you SHOULD correct it.

ANY fabric has a chance to be off grain for any reason. It doesn’t mean that its bad quality. Gravity has a major factor to this. If the fabric is stored vertically chances of it being off grain is high. Thats why you will see in big industry fabric companies store their bolts of fabric parallel to the floor to help prevent the collapse of grains.


How to check it and how to correct it can be found in my “Do you Block your fabric” blog post. I wrote a whole blog post on this subject in detail HERE


The reason why is because your garment will warp, stretch out, or even give a false drag line that will make you think it’s a fit issue.

Every grain line has a different behavior. Lengthwise grain is stable has little to no give. Lots of structure. Cross wise grain has slightly more give than the lengthwise grain, and will give more body to the garment. The Bias which will have the most give, will give the most stretch.

When the crossgrain is not perpendicular to the lengthwise grain this will make the cut of the garment fall on the bias. We all know what happens when a garment is cut on the bias. It stretches or collapses.

When the fabric is off grain the cross grain is not perpendicular to lengthwise grain
Placing pattern piece according to grain line, you can see now that the cross grain is now on the bias. It’s not suppose to be.

The following are probably guesses that many people will think of if they have not blocked their fabric and saw warps in their garment.

  1. I have stretched it during sewing. You will assume that somehow you had stretched out the garment during sewing.
  2. I have cut the wrong size in pattern. This will definitely be very obvious in the lightweight silky fabrics since any cut on the bias will stretch out so easily. Hence the reason why people say stay stitch neckline as soon as you cut.
  3. I have a fit issue. Warping in the fabric after you cut can possibly give you a false drag line or false indications of a fit issue.
  4. I have poor quality fabric. This is probably the most common assumption when you see something wrong on the fabric. You will assume that the fabric you chose was not good quality because within just a few wears it’s already warping.


Side Note:

I wanted to share this tip that was taught to me by a professional pattern maker Shilo Byrd. Her portfolio is linked here. This tip is probably not really related to this blog post. The reason why I wanted to share these pictures, is because it will show you what a difference grain line behavior has on fabric. Hopefully it can put some perspective on how important paying attention to grain line can be.

I was taught that if you have a piece of fabric where you can’t tell which is lengthwise grain and crosswise grain is (possibly because you have a scrap with no selvage), go ahead and do a  soft fold in each direction.

1.Lengthwise grain since its more structured and less give it will produce less volume.

2. Crosswise grain has a little more give which will produce more body. More volume.

Picture on the left is straight wise grain, picture on the right is the crosswise grain.


Thank you guys so much for reading and since there are several tips I want to share on this subject of things we should be checking in sewing. I decided to break it up into parts. Each blog post focusing on that tip. Part 2 : Measuring pattern pieces will be next!

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