Male Mannequin

Another essential is a mannequin or tailors dummy.

It is arguably less essential for men's clothing as little of it will be done through a drafting process which involves draping the dummy.
However an accurately matching dummy is very useful for checking fit and making changes.

The problem with the polystyrene torso dummies regularly advertised at a reasonable cost, is their arbitrary size and the complete lack of arms and shoulders, renders them about as useful as a shop display dummy regards fit.

Arms can be purchased but as a cost of about 3 to 4 times that of the torso at (£105), so naturally I made my own.

I found an excellent website HERE which had a downloadable PDF pattern for such arms, unlike most sites which wanted to charge you.
It also had clear instructions, photos and construction notes.
The pattern is aimed towards females and requires some revision but is perfectly capable of producing well fitting and useful arms.

The main dificulty with redrafting, was achieving the increase in size of bicep area and then grading down smoothly over elbow and forearm to the wrist.
I found it was best to put the taper on the underside seam from elbow to wrist and realign the wrist edges between top and underside afterwards. That way you got the correct wrist dimension without the forearm looking as though it was coming to a point and the realignment kept the wrist cap facing downwards.

The armsceye curve to cater for increased upper arm width was achieved by working out the centre point for the curve in the original pattern. Then using this point, draft the new curve with compasses with the increased radius.
The armsceye dart curve was extended using a French curve set to the original and extended until it met the new outer armsceye curve. The dart was sewn at 3/8" SA to the end of the V and then graded down to nothing at the top balance line.

I used polyester wadding 4oz sheet, rolled as per the web site, adjusted up for size and that works well.
Unlike a softer wadding it is less likely to compact with use.
I added 2" cotton herringbone webbing front and back between the shoulder capping. This works much better than the suggested pinning and only requires a single pin to set the capping height each side.

Regards cost - I already had the heavyweight calico and the wadding cost about £9, so that was a £96 saving on these!

Other changes to the mannequin can be affected by the use of wadding to increase size, or removal of excess using a hot polystyrene cutting tool to sculpt away unwanted sections of the base mannequin.