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My first day of school

2013 September 10
by elizabeth_admin

I started my class today and boy was I surprised.  It’s not a flat pattern, pattern making class, but a draping class.  Now that’s one good surprise.  Of course that means I finally have to get a dress form.  Can you believe that I still don’t have one?  I think I’ve been talking about it for about oh 6 years.  I actually have to bring it with me to class as there are only 7 dress forms in class and there are 40 students.  40!  Can you believe that?  It was amazing to see so many interested in taking a pattern making class.

But back to the dress form…  I think I need a lightweight one, an adjustable one with a pinnable cover.  Originally I was thinking of something like a Wolf.  But that model is too heavy to bring back and forth every week, not to mention a wee bit on the expensive side.  So I think for this class and for my first time buying a dress form, I might opt for something less expensive.

I am considering these two models so far.

Dritz My Double

Dritz My Double

 

Singer Dress Form

Singer Dress Form

 

Ideally I would like the waist to have the option of being adjusted longer, like on the Singer dress form.  At any rate, I need to decide fast.  I need it by next Monday.  Your advice would be appreciated.

Decisions, decisions!

16 Responses leave one →
  1. Kristin P permalink
    September 10, 2013

    I can offer an opinion on the Dritz form, since I own one and use it to drape for myself. My mom bought this for me as a gift in the early 2000’s, but I don’t believe the models have changed much since then. Honestly, they are not ideal for draping without modification. Since this form is made up of thin plastic panels with a thin fabric-bonded exterior, there really isn’t anything to pin into. And while it’s nice to have the adjustability for sizing, the panels spread at Center Front, Center Back, and side seams, which are all major points for pinning and marking. I have gotten around this with mine by setting the form to slightly smaller then my actual measurements and “padding up” with strips of bias-cut muslin wrapped continuously. ( bias cut because it will smooth over contours much more easily.). I also wrapped-in strategically-shaped pieces of batting and thick fleece to pad out some of my more womanly curves, and she wears one of my old bras filled out with polyfil. So, it’s a bit of a time investment, but at least it makes this form usable and gives a pretty good base fit. (Also, they’re inexpensive enough that you could totally justify getting a custom form later, when you’ve unlocked your hidden draping skills?!) Good luck with your class and I am excited to hear what you learn!

  2. September 10, 2013

    Hmm. I have the Singer. My review of it would almost exactly match Kristin’s one for the Dritz!

    I’d even add that despite never modifying the sizes after my initial purchase, one of the ‘legs’ at the bottom has broken. Meaning that the hips are now wonky.

    It’s possible that I just had bad luck, but based on my experience I definitely would not recommend it 🙁

  3. Stitchmaker permalink
    September 10, 2013

    I use the Dritz. It’s dress up with appropriately padded leotard and foundation wear. It works just fine. I like that it’s lightweight and easy to rotate so the back of garments can be checked with ease. I also went forever without a form, and now I realize just how much easier it makes everything.

    A dress form doesn’t have to be expensive to be of assistance. I’m glad I didn’t spend hundreds.

  4. September 10, 2013

    It needs a tattoo or something. At least some stickers… xoS

  5. arb permalink
    September 10, 2013

    I don’t know if it is the same model as the one in your picture but JoAnn’s has the gray Singer dressform on sale today only (Tuesday, Sept. 10) for $89, online only.

  6. September 10, 2013

    I think they can be a good starting point (rough tissue fitting, gut check on which size to make, etc…) but I quickly found out that while my measurements matched my form, my shape didn’t. I am high waisted with some width (ugh) around the belly/high hip area. Also, I am short between the shoulder and bust. Garment can fit on the form but have the bust fall too low on me. That is one thing you can’t change.
    Whatever you do, I would set the measurements smaller and stuff some sort of cover to better replicate your personal shape

  7. Judi permalink
    September 10, 2013

    Everything Kristin said is right. I have a Dritz My Double Deluxe about 2 years old. It is rock hard…doesn’t ‘give’ like our bodies do, so if whatever I make fits the dress form, it’s too big for me. I would buy a smaller size and “pad up” like Kristin said. You’ll like it much better.

  8. September 10, 2013

    I’ve got a much older Singer and a book on draping. Neither of which makes me an expert but it allows me to give you some advice.

    If you are going to be draping for yourself (which I think is what you want to do), the dummy needs to be in your size. Not RTW dress size, but actual size. That’s what those expensive made-to-measure dummies are for.
    A properly ‘padded up’ one can be a good starting point though. Not to mention much cheaper (although it can be worth your while to look for second-hand ones first). A lady I know (plus size, large bust size) has put a bra on her Singer Dummy and stuffed it to give the end result her cup size. But she uses it to check fit and things like that. Not for draping.

    For draping, the waistline, center front and center back are anchor points. Adjustable dummies open at exactly those spots which makes them rather less that suitable for that purpose.

    Before you spend money on a dummy, I’d recommend asking your teacher about it.
    That said, I hope you have more than one teacher. Although it’s great to see so many people interested in making pattern, 40 is a lot. Learning flat pattern making is easier with pretty hands-on teaching, but draping really requires it. And a dummy per student, I’d say…
    But please don’t let me curb your enthusiasm.
    I’m looking forward to reading more about your experiences in class.

    • September 10, 2013

      I’m with Lauriana. I have a Fabulous Fit dress form (I’ve written about it on my blog). It cost a lot of money – with the idea that I’d be able to adjust it to my shape. In fact, it’s too wide in the shoulders and I can’t get the boobs the right shape. It’s just ok. But I really can’t use it for much other than modeling clothes. Unless you can get the shoulder size absolutely right, it’s not going to work for draping. Padding you can do (more or less) but you can’t change its shape.

  9. September 10, 2013

    I have a Uniquely You dress form (you can order from Wawak or other places online). It is a bit more expensive than the Singer or Dritz forms, but not by much (less than $200). You buy the form and buy a cover to go over it. Then you fit the cover to you and (with the help of a very strong and patient friend) try to get the cover over the foam body shape, so that it smushes to look very similar to you. This would be great for your class because

    (1) It is foam, so super lightweight and easy to transport. Also it is great for pinning because the foam holds pins very well.

    (2) It will look closer to your body and give better draping results than the plastic forms.

    (3) It isn’t much more expensive than the forms you are looking at.

    (4) The stand is metal and reasonably sturdy/durable. I also like that you can adjust how tightly the form is connected – you can have it tight so it doesn’t move or loose so you can spin the form around while you sit in one spot. Makes hemming really nice.

    (5) You can replace the cover if your body changes shape over time without buying a whole new form.

    The downsides:

    (1) You will need a friend to help you fit the cover to your body – it will be too tight for you to move effectively, and you won’t be able to get the back on your own.

    (2) Needing a friend goes double for stuffing the foam body into the cover – that was exhausting!

    (3) Fitting/stuffing takes about a day, so it isn’t as quick as you might think it would be.

    (4) Since you have to do some fitting work for this form, you might not be able to have it ready to go by Monday?

    I have had mine for a few years and really like it – it is great for dresses and fitting the backs of jackets and tops. Especially since it has my swayback and bum. The only downsides I have – my shoulders are sort of narrow, so sometimes they are too wide on the form, if I am doing something really fitted, and I also have a high bust and I have noticed that over the years the foam is trying to bulge out under where the bottom of my bust is, giving it a double boob appearance. (Though, to be fair, apparently mine is just really really high because everyone else who has one of these forms complains that the form’s bust is too high, and I am the only person I know of who has complained that it is too low.)

    Anyway, I know this doesn’t help with your Singer/Dritz debate, but I thought I would throw in my $0.02 since I also considered those forms, but I am super happy I went with this one instead. It has lasted very well over the years and I am sure it is much more useful to me because it has most of the same weird fit issues that I do.

  10. September 10, 2013

    I have a Singer form that is adjustable and it happens to be very close to my measurements, particularly across the shoulders and chest. For the bust I just put a bra on it and kind of rearrange/stuff it until it is just right. I padded out the hips a bit (wrapping some fleece around the hip area and it was good enough. good luck!

  11. September 10, 2013

    Wow, a draping class! I never thought I’d want to drape, but I’m finding that I’m introducing a little draping here and there to commercial patterns I’m using. I hope you’ll post a little about what you learn, I’m sure it will be fascinating. I bought a dress form a while back, and I was tempted by the singer/dritz adjustable type, but I really wanted it to be pinnable, so I went with a form from Amazon made by Roxy. I got one much smaller than myself and padded it out. The padding isn’t permanent, so if I change sizes dramatically, I can always change it. I used the basic block pattern from butterick for the exterior: http://brownpaperpattern.blogspot.com/2013/04/butterick-5627-fitting-shell-dress-form.html

  12. Shannan permalink
    September 10, 2013

    I bought the same Dritz form last year on amazon and it is a great basic! Like one of the previous commenters, I’m lucky that my measurements are easily mimicked by the form EXCEPT the bust (I’m a FBA gal too!) so I just slapped one of my old black bras on it and filled it with poly fill. Pretty good if I do say so myself. And it always gets a comment when there isn’t a shirt on it. Like no one has ever seen a black bra before sheesh

  13. September 10, 2013

    Whoa, draping is serious stuff! 🙂 Nice! I have a “Uniquely You” which is very lightweight and pinnable bc it’s all foam, so I would recommend that. I found it for only a little over $130, so you do have to hunt around, but it’s been soooooo worth it.

  14. Cynth permalink
    September 11, 2013

    I have a Fabulous Fit form – I find it’s a good value for the price point. It takes quite a bit of time to build out the form to your size. I like the flexibility – and I ordered an extra sets of pads with my form.

    FF also comes with a nice tutorial and they’re really helpful on the phone.

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