Sunday, February 3, 2013

DIY Dress Form for 1:4 dolls (Iplehouse KID range)

If you're new to this blog, WELCOME! I am dying to share this tutorial, I think it's a super efficient way of making clothes for your doll, whilst minimizing contact with it :P

First off, I did NOT come up with this idea, and when I chanced upon it while browsing DoA forums, I immediately knew I would DEFINITELY make one when the time came.


It seems this is also how some people make their 1:1 dress forms!!! SUCH AN EYE OPENER FOR ME! I certainly didn't see it on Project Runway XD Anyway, the tute was for a larger doll, and since my Clover is a 1:4 doll, some might even say she's 1:6! BZZZTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!! I disagree, 35cm x 6 would make her a 210cm tall girl!??! NO WAY. 35cm x 4 = 140, which sounds more reasonable for a tallish 10-12 year old girl, which I see her to be.

So this requires modifications to the duct taping process. Before you start your own form, please refer to the original as this post is not meant to be a tutorial, but a walkthrough of -my own- process. :)

I had read that several members had problems trying to cut the form off their dolls, as there was a chance of nicking/scraping/scratching the doll. This was certainly a risk I was unwilling to take. Spent a few days mulling over it, thinking, what if I stuck some tape on my scissors? Well, then why not stick the tape on the doll itself, AMIRITE? So let's start already!!! :)

WARNING: Doll Nudity Ahead!
(not sure why but it seems some people are too easily offended by this, so whatever. view at your own risk. I figured censoring like I did for previous pics would seriously distract from the purpose of some of these photos)
  Here are some stuff I used. Ditched the Glad clingwrap in favour of the Extra Strong Cling Wrap (House brand from Cold Storage) as the Glad wrap kept sliding off and wouldn't stick to itself well :(

I don't recall where I purchased the pink tape, I believe it might have been at an NBC stationery store, but it was quite some time ago, so I don't recall the price. More on that later. The black lace clear tape is from Daiso, again, purchased a long time ago but stayed untouched in my 'tape drawer'. The white tape is labelled "Inter Tape", think it might be called 'Painter's tape' or similar? Basically it's a low-tack, low-adhesive tape that I use to hold wooden joints together while waiting for the glue to dry. Feel free to correct me!

If you're unsure about whether the 'Inter Tape' you use will be suitable, just test a piece of whatever tape you intend to use (maybe even those cotton tape for first aid bandages would work???) onto the inner cap of your doll to see if it'll leave any sticky residue.

Also, since I'm swapping out duct tape in favour of thinner tapes, I had to pick a tape that would have more structure to hold up the form of the doll. Which is why I didn't simply use regular adhesive tape. 'sides, this one is purteee~~~! ;)

 I start by using the low-tack adhesive tape (Inter Tape) and lined the centre back of my doll, from the neck down into the butt and crotch area. I then did 2 more strips, on the inner thighs of my doll. This is the areas where I expect to cut into the dress form, and the Inter Tape serves to protect the doll from the scissors.

held the first piece of clingfilm down with a small piece of Inter Tape. I started with a triangular piece of clingfilm. This is because I am going to make a form for pants too, but if you don't plan to make pants, you can skip this and wrap the doll as shown in the original tutorial.

Cut thin long strips of clingfilm, and started at the top...

and kept going. Reason I didn't use a continuous strip was cos I tried to keep the bulk of the material to a minimum, thus enabling me to make a form as close to my doll's measurements as possible. I suppose if I used shrink wrap plastic this process would have been much faster and easier XD But no heat gun or hair dryer is gonna go near my doll!!!! :S

anyway I digress. keep adding strips to cover all the areas that you expect the actual supporting tape will be.

clingfilm kept to a minimum, just enough to cover the areas i want. the extra-strong clingfilm held together well!

Started adding the 'support' tape, starting with the black masking tape for the flatter areas (thighs, waist, chest) since they're thicker strips, which also adds a bit of structure for the thinner pink tape to go on. I found that the plastic tape was also a little stretchy, which is good for the tighter areas like the neck and armpits.

stick stick stick wind wind wind stick stick stick......


stuck like an egyptian~~ mummy that is. *groans to self*

the inner thighs were really hard to wrap too, so I cut slightly long strips and tried to get it as symmetrical and flat as possible at the section where my dress form will end.

Fully wrapped! I want to add at this point that the pink decorative tape I used wasn't very sticky :( I would recommend that if you want to add another layer of clear tape to hold everything together, do it now, rather than after you remove the form (like I did zzzzz).

okay, scary part. CUT. I started at the neck since it'll be harder to cut from the inner thighs up (or at least, I think so hrmm). Used the small manicure scissors since it was quite snug. Of course, even though there's a protective tape, I still took care not to cut too deeply, in case it cut through the Inter Tape.

 ahhhh cut through the protective tape in between the butt cheeks!! but no harm, didn't scratch the doll phew. this tape was sooo easy to cut through, at parts it even 'tore' itself, so be careful if you're using thin plastic decorative tapes to do this.

 slowly eased the form off at the shoulders, trying not to distort the form.

 RUT ROW!! hands are in the way!

no worries. for those familiar with re-stringing their dolls, this should be a familiar sight.

 ribbon slipped through the elastic band so as not to 'lose' it.

 remove, re-attach hand, repeat for other hand, and TADAH


 now to remove the Inter Tape and assess the non-damage :P

see, no scratches on the inner thigh either ^ ^

taped up the form with regular clear adhesive tape, trimmed the thigh portions as symmetrically as possible (so it can sorta stand, I might make a 'proper' stand for it, we'll see)

 with the help of a tongue depressor, stuff the form with filling of your choice. I had some spare fibrefill which I used back when I knitted dolls and bears.

I've also found that filling it slightly while taping up the cut sides helps quite a bit.

at this point, I decided I would like to add some weight to the base so it'll stand up better. Used these glass pieces (IKEA) that I found lying around at home.

 about 3-4 pieces would do, I tested out the balance and adjusted it by placing more stones to the front of the form.
stuffed with more batting, taped up the ends with more clear adhesive tape.

There, DONE.

 Admire your (my? XD) handiwork.

So what have I done with the form? I stupidly tackled one of the hardest things I've ever made, PANTIES. Clover is in serious need of some clothes!

Behind her is an old Singer machine, not the one that I grew up using, the Singer Genie 390 Deluxe but SIGH. the feed mechanism wasn't working, so I took it apart and found that one half of the plastic gear that controls the movement of that portion had disintegrated T-T. This one is still quite a relic, but it -sort of- works. The only part that isn't functioning at all is the part that fills bobbins, which is annoying but not a deal breaker. BF has offered to buy me a new machine, but I want to be sure before investing in a new one, so we'll see after CNY how things go......

I've grumbled quite a lot about my sewing machine troubles and posted it up on my Instagram account (for those who don't mind my whining and are curious about it):

oh, and Clover is wearing a Froggy Crocheted hat using a pattern I found online.....the free pattern can be found here:

you have to be a Ravelry member, but membership is free! my member name is Snowfern (of course!) if you'd like to see what else I've knitted before...though I'm no longer active there as RSI has ruined my knit/crochet experience :(

I used a tank top that I didn't wear anymore, as it had pretty stretchy material. it's a bit thick for 1:4, but thinner materials require better (read: NOT RUSTY :P ) needles, and I didn't have the right needles either for stretchy material so....until I get some, am just going to do some prototyping.

this pair of undies still has fit issues, i think if i used a proper needle and sort out the tension issues on this decrepit machine, this part won't be so noticeable. it's the 5th pair of undies I worked on, the rest i junked cos was simply too peeved at the machine mucking up my stitches XD anyway, think it just needs a bit of Singer oil...*purses lips in frustration*

if you were wondering where I got the pattern from, I referred to a pair of my own undies with a cut I like and sort of 'guessed' what the pattern should look like, did a quick pattern on Inkscape..this one is one of the earlier versions that didn't quite work out.

I don't think I will be offering any patterns anytime soon, as I'm a novice at patternmaking. Once I am more confident at this sewing-patternmaking thing, I _might_ make some available for sale. :)

As to whether I will sell any of my sewings, my answer is currently NO. There are so many wonderful doll seamstresses out there, my main inspiration is Chun of her work is IMPECCABLE!! I've seen a number of her clothes on my friends' dolls.....and hope to own some pieces should I ever purchase a doll in any of the sizes she sews for!

Do comment and let me know if you'd ever make a form of your own!


  1. Have fun dearie and I shall follow you through the experience.

  2. Rosanna!~ thanks, I'm having soo much fun as you can probably tell XD

  3. Hey Lisa Marie, I'm not sure what you mean, I think you can simply register?

    i didn't see any option for me to invite anyone on my control panel either....perhaps you can read the FAQ (does the link above work for you?)?

    ahhh a Lati! they're cute but I am always quite sad when I see their little sad eyes....I prefer my dolls to appear happy :D

  4. Ohhh!~ Okay Lisa Marie, I've done a quick search on the forums, and yes, there's been a change to the registration (they didn't update the FAQ to reflect it :-/) that I was unaware of oops.

    Could you drop me an email at snowfern at gmail dot com?

  5. I am fascinated by BJD's .... but I know nothing about them.... so I am avidly following your progress! Clover is so Sweet and beautiful and I think you are doing wonders especially as she is your first doll!!! I am thinking of trying your dress form idea for my 1/12 dollhouse dolls... I want to have a form to display the Wedding Dress one of my dolls (who got married Last Winter!) is still wearing... Lol! I could make the form and keep the dress on display!
    Incidentally... my blog icon is a picture of a wooden jointed doll I carved many years ago... almost a BJD but obviously not the same at all!!!


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