Online Patternmaking Classes
by Don McCunn
Online Class Home Page   ►  An Introduction

How to Make a Body Double (aka Dress Form)

I Dreamed
This image is an homage to the Maidenform Bra ads of the 1950s & 1960s

The four weeks of this class include the following.

  1. The Torso Form
  2. Torso Stands
  3. Full Body Double

An Introduction

This class shows how to create forms that can be combined in different configurations including:

  • A Lower Torso Form for skirts.
  • Upper and Lower Torso Forms for full length garments.
  • A variety of Bra Forms for different undergarment shapes.
  • Lower Torso Form with Legs for a Pants Form.
  • Upper Torso with arms, a head, and Pants for a Full Body Double.

Convertible Dress Forms

The Body Doubles are created from carefully fitted Upper and a Lower Torso slopers that use darts and seams to align the grain of fabric to the basic reference lines of the body such as those shown below. The videos in this class do not show how to make these slopers. That material is covered in my other Patternmaking Classes.

Grain and Darts

Required Slopers

If you have a Bra Sloper, you can use that to recreate an accurate representation of the body for specific bra styles.

Bra Variations

In addition to the full size body doubles, in the fourth week we will scale the patterns down to create half scale and quarter scale body doubles which some people call mini-me forms. These small scale forms are very useful for checking out design ideas before you commit to making full size garments.

The class is structured so that you can create the body forms that are appropriate to your needs and skip the instructions for the forms you are not interested in. For example, if you only want a torso form, you can skip the information on how to create the legs. Adding the removable arms to the form and the wig block for a head are also optional.

How to Make Sewing Patterns cover  

We will be using my book How to Make Sewing Patterns as a course text. Specific references will be made to various pages in both the first (1977) and second (2016) editions of this book. For more information about this book, visit my website How to Make Sewing Patterns. You should also be able to check out this book from your local library or order it through

This approach for creating a Body Double is described in the book in the chapter "The Dress Form," see pages on pages 163 through 168, 2nd ed. (pages 179 through 183, 1st ed.). The instructions in this course expand by providing variations for how to create these forms.

Body Doubles require some supplies and tools you may already have on hand for patternmaking. But they also require some tools and supplies that are unique to creating these body doubles. For a complete list, see Body Double Supplies and Tools.

Online Class Home Page   ►  An Introduction   ►   Go To Week One

Copyright © 2007, & 2020 by Donald H. McCunn