How To Make The Mei Mei Children's Body Form
What You’ll Need
The Mei Mei Dress Form Pattern (click here to buy PDF in A4 or Letter Format)
Computer and printer (with lots of ink)
210gsm paper card (about 8 sheets)
Very sharp scissors
Sharp cutting blade
Lots of 3/8” tape (10mm) … I used Scotch 3M brand tape
A couple of hours
The Mei Mei dress form pattern, while tricky, is not as difficult as the Miyumi adult dress form pattern. It’s still going to take skill, patience and a whole lot of time. You need to cut accurately down the center of the line and tape accurately. If you’re slightly out on your cutting then the length of the curves will change and the pattern pieces may not line up. You’ll very quickly see if you’re out as I’ve added notch lines .... these are your life line so use them … if they don’t match perfectly then it’s probably because you haven’t cut absolutely perfectly down the center of the line. I can’t stress this enough.
I don’t recommend using cheap tape as it will also lack the holding power you’ll need. Likewise tape wider than 3/8“ (10mm) can affect how the pattern pieces curve and also not sit flat. I like to use lots small bite sized lengths around 25mm to 30mm long each as they’re the most manageable on all the curves … you could use longer pieces on the long straighter sections.
The pattern includes all the pattern pieces you need to create a child's dress form for Nape to Waist measurements of 24cm to 36cm in 1cm increments (see the sizing chart to select which is appropriate for your needs). Once the head form is assembled, papier mache will be applied to the inside of the form. The completed hard form can then be sanded and lacquered.
This project takes time and skill and is recommended for experienced crafters only ...
Skill level: moderate
Copyright Note: this pattern and it's instructions are intended for home use only. Using this pattern to produce dress forms for resale or modifying the pattern for resale or any other commercial use is strictly prohibited. It is intended for use as a pattern making or display aid. This pattern is not to be shared with others. One pattern is for use by one person. By purchasing this pattern you are agreeing to these copyright terms.
I recommend printing on 210gsm paper card as this will hold its shape the best ... 180gsm is ok but a bit too soft for the larger sized dress forms. Do a test print of one of the pattern pages to make sure that the box around the pattern pieces measures 200mm wide by 260 mm high .... that's your scale test to see if your printer is printing at 100%.
Once you've printed every page, lay out the pieces for left and right by number so they match the cover page ... they should look like Image 1. The pieces are cut at the waist (for the waist template) and in half (sort of) to make the most efficient use of your paper. You'll need to start by joining each of the top pieces to their counterparts and the bottoms with theirs as shown in Image 2 and 3. I leave everything laid out like this so I can easily find the pieces I'm after.
We start assembling Mei Mie at the centre back with the left and right pieces labelled Piece #1 ... taping them along the centre back such that the notches line up. It's not an easy seam to join because of the tight curve so that's why we do it first ... it'd be to tricky to do this join if we started at centre front. I also like to put a little tape on the back as well to help with strength of the join. See Images 4-6.
I do the bottom half of Mei Mei first, then the top half.
Then it's a simple matter of adding each sequential piece to the left and right. Image 7 shows pieces #2 added to #1, then Image 8 shows piece #3 added to #2 and so on until you have all 8 pieces for left and right for both top and bottom (Image 9). Then just roll them around and join pieces #8 along centre front.
Once you've joined the centre front for the bottom you'll need to pit in the inside leg sections (piece #9). I find it easier to start by putting tape on either side of piece #9 first (see Image 10) and then joining it at the back first (see Image 11). Once the back is attached, turn the form over and bring the other side of piece #9 through to the front (see Image 12). Attach to the front leg (see Image 13). Repeat for the other leg.
Note: for some of the larger sizes the inside leg piece #9 is in two sections because otherwise it's too big for a printer ... you'll need to join it together first.
Do not join at the crotch seam as yet in case your cutting isn't perfect. Next I join the inside leg to the crotch section by taping from the inside (see Image 14) which is much easier by folding little bits of tape across the seam at 2cm intervals (a bit like tacking), then after it's tacked I tape the outside properly (see Image 15). Repeat for the other side then join the crotch seam (also in Image 15). Lastly for the bottom half you'll need to attach the waist template. I find it easier to use little tacking pieces again (see Image 16) and start by lining up the notches here and there rather than tacking down sequentially around the outside (see image 17).
We attach the leg caps (pieces #10) in the same way as we did the waist template ... see Images 18 and 19. That's it for the bottom half!
Over to the top half of the dress form. Once it's joined down centre front we join the corresponding shoulder sections together (see Image 20) ... I also tape the full length of the join on the inside as it seems to help with a better shape at the shoulder. We then add the waist template in exactly the same manner as we did for the lower half (see Images 21and 22).
Next we add in the top arm sections. In the larger sizes some of these might be cut in half to fit in the printer, so you'll need to join them together first ... they should be the shape shown in Image 23. Note for this piece I put in little tacking tapes on the back first as this makes it easier to apply the piece, but that's up to you. You can see the tacking pieces inside the arm hole in Image 24. Then tape on the outside as usual. Next apply the sleeve cap by using the tacking tapes on the outside (see images 25 and 26) ... being careful to line up the notches.
The neck is made of two parts and appears larger at the base than it might in real life. It's a place holder and I find it better when slightly larger. If you're determined to have it smaller then you'll need to take the neck curves for pieces 1 and 8 off a smaller size and trace them onto this size before cutting out, then use the neck pieces for the smaller size ... this works quite well but I still feel the slightly larger neck is better. The problem arises because we use only two pieces and the neck is a way more complex shape than you think!
We start by joining the left and right sections of Piece # 11 at centre back then applying tacking tapes to the inside of the piece (see Image 27). I join it to the body at centre back first and work my way around the centre front on each side (see Image 28). Apply tape to the outside of the join and center front. Repeat the process for Piece #12, as always, lining up the notches (see Images 29 and 30).
Our last step is a simple matter of inserting the neck cap, piece #13. We do this the same way as we did the arm caps, wit tacking tapes on the outside (see Images 31 and 32).
That's pretty much it. The Mei Mei kids body form in top and bottom halves ready to paper mache (see the Miyumi Project for instructions on paper mache).