Notes on dressforms
Thanks for all the great responses to my questions on dressforms yesterday! One commenter, Tsedai, was especially helpful and shared all her research on the topic. Rather than link you to the comment, I will paste it here for your convenience.
“Uniquely You all the way! I just got one and love it! I tried the duct-tape form originally, but it was just too big, heavy, and cumbersome, plus the layers of duct tape made it far too big to actually fit garments with. The UY form is foam so you can pin to it, it has a metal stand (not SUPER substantial, but it gets the job done), and made in USA for people who are conscious about that sort of thing. I think it hits the sweet spot in terms of price, quality, shape likeness, and effort to set up.
Fitting the cover takes about a day and requires some blood (got my finger in the zipper), sweat (hard work shoving the foam into the cover), and tears (my mom stabbed me with a few pins) but totally worth it. It totally fits all the lumps and bumps. I didn’t do any breast reduction surgery on mine, and, if anything, the breasts are too low. I think it took a little more effort than the duct tape dummy, but the results were much much better.
When looking at dressforms I needed to consider that I have a long swayback, small (slightly forward) shoulders, and a larger size for the hips than for the upper body. I wanted some reasonable body resemblance where I could use it to fit the back of my shirts/dresses. I also wasn’t really willing to spend more than $250-300, so some of the nicer forms were not viable options for me.
As I recently did A LOT of dressform research before I got the UY. Maybe TMI, but I will share what I found (prices estimate tax/shipping):
Duct tape – cheap, like maybe $20! But much effort, not super great results, I made one and tried but didn’t use it much/at all because it was too big around the shoulders and made everything too baggy on me.
Plastic adjustable – like Singer or Dritz from Jo-Anns. These can be got for about $100-150, you can “adjust” them for different sizes. They seem to be easy/fast to set up. They also seem to be flimsy and hard to pin to as they are plastic. I have heard about dials breaking, stands collapsing, etc. Some of them you can’t lengthen the back and some you can. These are easy, fast, and cheap, but I think for a little more money and a little more effort you can do a lot better.
Uniquely You – $150-200. Foam, pinable, metal stand, etc. Looks remarkably like your body once you are done. Kinda a pain to get the form in the cover, but once it is done it looks awesome. Also, if you change shape substantially you can always get another cover ($30) and make it look like the new you! Got mine from Sew Vac Direct online, shipped within a week, and their directions for picking form sizes was really good. There is also a form available for making pants, but it is separate and extra money. I think the stand is maybe not quite as sturdy as some of the more expensive forms, but people have said that they do use them for long gowns and they don’t fall over, and in my experience it is sturdy enough.
My Twin – $200-300. You get wrapped up in medical bandages, which get turned into a mold, and then filled with liquid foam that hardens, you cover it with some fabric and put it on a stand. This seemed WAY too labor intensive to me, but I have heard it makes fabulous results. I think if you have severe fitting issues this may be the way to go, but if you just have the usual problems, the UY is less effort at a somewhat lower price.
Standard size/professional forms (Family Sew, Roxy, PGM) – $150-300. Good news: these are good quality forms, nice stands, etc. You can also get for making pants, arms, etc. Bad news: they only come in standard sizes, so you have to get padding to adjust them.
Fabulous Fit – $400-ish. You get a form and padding and a cover. These also look really nice, but again, you have to add the padding, etc.
Wolf – $800+. The Rolls Royce of Dress Forms. Custom made, custom fit, totally amazing. Level of detail can increase for various fitting needs. Don’t think about it too much. Your pocket book will bleed.”
WOW! That’s a lot of great information. Thank you so much, Tsedai, for taking the time to write all of that. Many people, actually, recommended the Uniquely You dressform. It sounds like a great option. I will look at all of the options, but I have to admit that price will be a pretty big factor for me. And the Uniquely You dressform seems like a good pricepoint.
In other sewing news: I cut out my first wearable muslin of the S2614 blouse. I didn’t want to cut into my precious Milly fabric yet. I have concerns that it’s not drapey enough for this blouse with that bias back. Maybe if I took the time to put a CB seam in for shaping or a horizontal seam, but not now. I had a black and white floral chiffon from Kashi at Metro Textile that I bought when I first started sewing and didn’t know that chiffon was a bear to sew with.
OMG! Cutting it out took forever. And I had to analyze whether I would just bind the neckline and armholes rather than face them since the chiffon is so sheer. Than I made my own self fabric bias tape, too small however, so have to make more now. I knew I wanted to do French seams and thought I “remembered” how to do it from all the tutorials I have seen over the last two or three years. WRONG! Thank God this chiffon doesn’t have a right or wrong side. Unfortunately, I still got it wrong on the second seam I attempted and ended up have to rip out a really long seam that had two sets of gathers. Hari kari started to look like a much better option than unpicking last night, I’ll tell you. But I finally finished the unpicking at 12:30am and went to bed.
How can I be undone by French seams??? Anyway, tonight is another night.
I hope you all get a chance to sew this weekend!