click for the the patterns Designing and fitting clothes for fashion dolls can be a tricky business. Itís helpful to have appropriate tools, and one of the basic tools is a dress model. 

There being none available commercially (until recently, when Dritz produced a dress form for female dolls), Perestroika designed our own. The essentials: it needs to stand on its own and be easy to make. We need to be able to pin into the form, to see the critical fitting lines, and occasionally to use it for steaming and pressing shape into garments.

Our first volunteers were Michael, Michelle, and Molly, who had lost their heads (and Molly her arms) and come to work in the studio. Useful, but not pin-able and they donít stand on their own two feet. Still, itís a treat to fit a doll without all that hair in the way. (But note the difference in size/shape between Michelle and Molly, who are both Mattel dolls!)

Threads magazine (Issue 75, March 98) describes four ways to make a dress form, and we contemplated the Old Paper-Tape Trick, but tried the Duct Tape form. We covered Molly with plastic wrap, and used Ĺ - 1Ē wide strips of Duct Tape over the plastic. The resulting mold was stuffed firmly with cotton batting after securing the dowel in the neck, and closed with more Duct Tape. The dowel was cut to Molly height, and glued in a base. Easy to make, fairly accurate shape, fits on a stand - but not easy to put pins in, and I wouldnít try steaming over it. Still, might be useful for display, or for contemplating a design idea. The "Tin Man" look could be covered with a knit shell . . .
(Free instructions for humans online at  http://www.leanna.com/DuctTapeDouble/

Back to the drawing board. Before Duct Tape, dressmakers fitted a muslin shell to use for fitting, and I suspect this might be the way the first home-use dress forms were made. So: design a closely-fitted muslin shell and stuff it.