Adjusting Dora the dummy

Back at Christmas my very generous husband bought me a dressmaker’s dummy since I’ve taken up sewing again.  As we were about to move house, I set her up quickly and adjusted all the dials to the correct measurements but, somehow, she didn’t quite look like me.

Now that we’re settled into the new house I’ve had another go.

I already know my measurements, but they’re just my circumference.  What about my broad shoulders and sway back – is there any way I can adjust Dora to mirror them?

Wearing a leotard, I got my husband to measure my back at bust level from side seam to side seam and to do the same thing for my hips.  I also got him to measure my back waist length and then got started.

So that you can see what I’m talking about, here’s a croquis I made earlier (using Lauren’s tutorial)…



so, V shaped to straight-up-and-down but not much up top, it’s all shoulders and back.

The first, and hardest, thing I did was adjust the back waist length.  My back waist length is 15″ which is about as small as Dora goes.  Then I used the side dials on Dora as the side seams and just turned the dials until her back bust measurement was correct according to my tape measure.  I ignored the numbers on the dials.  Then I adjusted the front until the total measurement was correct.

Here’s Dora’s and my backs


…and me

and here are our fronts


and me
and me

Just look at the difference in the adjustments on Dora – her front’s as small as it’ll go.

But the biggest difference came in the side view:


…and Dora

Now we’ve both got bad postures and maybe it’s just coincidence but I think that’s the closest I’ll get to a sway-back on a dummy without getting one custom-made.

What do you think – ever had any unexpected results adjusting your dummy?


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