I'm designing new aprons today for Peking Handicraft. It's the first time I've worked with my dress form in many months. Usually, she just stands in the corner observing my everyday life, patiently waiting for her turn. Today, she is proudly of service, helping me sort out patterns and proportions.
I gave her a brand new cover so I wouldn't run the risk of of tearing her brittle linen any further. True, I have three other dress forms in the workroom, but I'm partial to the old lady. The original, weathered linen is still there, under the new linen, preserved for her moonlighting job as a prop and a display.
It was surprisingly easy work. I draped the form with muslin, following the seamlines of the original cover, to create pattern pieces for the new cover. I sewed the pieced front and back together at the shoulders only, then whip-stitched each side seam together once the cover was stretched taut on the form (photo below). I then replaced the metal caps at the arms and neck. Finally, I wrapped a piece of grosgrain ribbon tightly at the waist and secured it with a pin at center back.
If you have a delicate old form, consider taking a couple of hours to clean her up so you can stop being shy about putting the ol' girl to work.