Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In Good Form

How is it that I merely need to read a post and I'm online shopping for sewing supplies??

In case you need clarification, I did buy a dress form today. A really exciting one...

The Fabulous Fit, Pro Studio Semi Professional Misses 3/4 Form with 2 arms!!

Plus the special fitting system - the pads one uses to customize the form to the exact proportions one happens to be:
One woman I read about says she keeps a robe on hers because she's totally freaked out by how "naked her" it looks!

In truth, I have been thinking about buying a dress form for a long time - even before I thought about buying my serger. But I did some research as a (more) novice sewist and I was confused. I didn't understand the collapsible shoulders (which I opted to pass on). I didn't know if arms matter (after discussion with a bunch of peeps, I decided they do). I didn't understand whether a 3/4 was as good as a full (technically it's not, but it is affordable and entirely useful - even if one makes pants and undies) It is much more multi-purpose than a cage base (which works best for skirt makers).

My new form is pinnable and adjustable to perfection. I made a lot of calls to ensure that the delivery time is knowable (theoretically) - and that there are contingency plans. It takes 2 weeks to make my linen-covered, resin form in the size I've requested.

Apparently, one should buy a slightly smaller-than-her size and pad it up - as a too-large form cannot be made smaller. I suspect - though I didn't see this written anywhere specifically - that the most non-negotiable measurement is the shoulder span - the one that most accurately dictates one's frame size. It happens that the size I was encouraged to buy matches my shoulder width exactly. Note: The woman who helped me to choose it, went by my bust, waist and hip measurements though she did indicate that the FF forms are not wide in the shoulders. As you know, neither am I.

The form can be modified up to 3 dress sizes - and to address many changes in distribution of weight. I think this is a great feature. Women change in size and shape all the time. Isn't it great to know that the dress form you've spent tons of money on will not need to be replaced every time this might occur?

So here's my question today: Do you have a dress form? If yes, what type? How do you enjoy it? How do you modify it for changes in shape (if that's relevant to you)? Does it actually get used or does it languish in the corner as some piece of art? What's the best thing about working with a form? Do tell!


  1. Mine is a MyDouble.

    So far, she's only been used to store my string of pearls. We talk to her like we talk to the expresso machine. She's definitely Italian, with attitude.

    I still have sewing dreams, but am contemplating whether I can proceed from a place of pleasure, not obsession.

    Meanwhile, it's fun reading your blog :-)

  2. I have a singer one. I'm in the market for a new one but I'm undecided on what I want lol.

  3. I just got the twin-fit for Christmas--I bought mine by my shoulder width and height, since I was pretty sure those two things weren't gonna change any time soon. ;-) I'm planning to order the fabulous fit thing too, kind of was hoping to find it cheaper somewhere, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Enjoy your new sewing tool! :-)

  4. I don't have one but have thought about it. Especially when doing the dressed/undressed on/off sitting-at-sewing-machine-half-naked thing when doing self-fittings!

    I also like the way Peter uses his dress form to get an idea of the finished garment by pinning on the cut pieces, before they're even sewn.

    Having a critical view of the work on a body from every angle, without trying to contort yourself in front of a mirror, would be a plus too.

    However, unless I could be really confident I could adjust one to genuinely reflect my body shape, I imagine it would be about as useful as counting on a standard pattern to fit just right, first go.

    I'll be very interested to hear what you think of your dress form. I have narrow shoulders too. Plus, a very short waist that doesn't go nearly as skinny as I dream it might if I was taller. I like the idea of the pad-it-out adjustability of your form. The pictures of the method are pretty funny.

    I can understand wanting to keep a form 'dressed', and I think that one is one of the more 'naked' looking ones I've seen!

    Yay for your purchase.

  5. Can´t give any advice, but am looking forward to seeing it in action and hearing if it improves your finished products!

  6. The dress form looks great, and I'm sure you'll make good use of it. I will probably get the "Prymadonna" I wrote about (it goes with a BurdaStyle subscription) by default, since I really have no idea how much I would use a dress form, and this is an inexpensive way to get a standard model. I understand about padding, but I haven't quite figured out what to do about the vertical proportions - e.g., my long waist. We'll see!

  7. When I am sewing I am using it all the time. When I am not sewing it stands in the corner mocking me.

  8. I made a duct-tape double a few weeks ago but I have to admit, I'm a little scared to use it. I don't quite trust that it's "me" (maybe I should've taken more time stuffing), despite the fact that it seems to fit my clothing quite well. I also *almost* got a "real" dress form from my mom over the holidays, but the bust was, ah, quite a few inches too large, /sigh.

    From what I gather the padded-out forms, when they're done well, are the best---however, I'm highly sceptical of my ability to sew myself the form-fitting casing ;).

    Best of luck and keep us updated!

  9. Woo hoo, good for you!!

  10. Oooooo. Congrats on your new dress form. (I do miss not having one here).Keep us posted on how she works out for you. She's beautiful. And re: your question, I live in Dunedin, FL, westcoast, midstate. (Tampa is our major airport).

  11. I think the dress form I have is a Singer. I bought it for $40 on Craigslist. Right now it's decoration because it's not my size. At some point, I'm going to order Kenneth King's book and make a moulage then pad the sucker to fit. Congrats on getting a dress form:)

  12. My Grandma had one. In her sewing room with her big cantilevered picnic basket button box. I can still imagine the smell and feel of the buttons.

  13. Ooooh...I'm so jealous! i have one of those crappy ones with the dials and I never use it. It's in the garage covered with a trash bag! Now this! This would get used at my house! LOL!

    P.S. I bit the bullet and cut up my Freya. I'm expecting good things...

  14. Yeah! This is exciting!
    And I always keep a dress on mine too, I think Sadie should be properly dressed (oh yes, I named her).


  15. Susan: I'm going to check out MyDouble...

    Adrienne: Wait till I get mine and I'll do a review...

    CGC: Congrats on your present...

    Jane: I'll keep you posted on the fit and the fitting system. This could be just the one for you.

    Doriana: I will keep you in the loop...

    Uta: I hear you. Apparently the waist can be shortened on this one. But long waist, that's a world I can't imagine :-)

    Mardel: Not mocking! No!

    Tanit: It's impossible to know if it will work till you try it. I am a bit nervous too, but I'm hopeful!

    Sewn: Thanks!!

    Anita: I thought you were on the west side. My sister used to live in Naples. And you're the instigator of this big purchase!

    Carla: The Fabulous Form fitting system might help it get to the right size for you. Look into it!

    Hammie: Very nice image.

    Heather: I wanna hear how the Freya works. I'm stalled again. Waiting for supplies.

    Stacy: Now I have to come up with a new name! At least I've got a couple of weeks to do it.

  16. Congrats on your form! It looks really wonderful and is definitely better than a Singer adjustable form (in fact they're probably incomparable). Now you just have the worst part ahead of you, WAITING FOR IT TO ARRIVE! :P

    PS: Enter my Giveaway!

  17. I have a form for display and photographing my jewelry and vintage items for sale. But this one looks AWESOME for actual sewing!

  18. QOM: Thanks for the encouragement. I am really excited. And really not patient! Thanks for your giveaway deets.

    Pagano: Thank you!