On buying a dress form
April 24, 2010
If you read this blog regularly, you know that I have a lot of fit issues. I have a — let’s say unusually to protect my fragile ego — shaped body, which falls outside of the standard range of pre-made dress form sizes. I’ve anticipated the need to buy a dress form for a long time, and began my search when it was less of a pressing issue than it is now . I had all but decided on the Uniquely You form, which seem kind of dramatic to fit but appeared to produce the best effect for people with body types like mine, but they are just…not cute. This may sound shallow, but I live in a very small apartment and my sewing space is in my bedroom, so I wanted a dress form that wasn’t scary, ostentatious, or loud…just something I could tuck into a corner and it would stand there unobtrusively, patiently waiting for its opportunity to provide me with a wonderfully fitting garment.
I mean, come on…who wants a dress form that says, “‘Squeeze Me!’ I’m Natural and Realistic!” on the upper chest? It’s just inviting disaster, not to mention unattractive and grammatically incorrect. But I digress.
I went on a hunt…a true hunt. I saw every dress form imaginable, starting with this lovely one from Dharma Trading:
But it wasn’t meant to be…the size 2 is a full inch larger than my measurements in some places. I quickly realized I needed to look at professional forms instead. I found PGM Pro, which is apparently what they use on Project Runway or something.
Easy on the eyes, but also too big. I found Wolf, which are gorgeous, but at $800 obviated the need for me to waste five seconds checking the size chart:
And then I looked at Fabulous Fit, which are lovely forms and priced at around $400, which is certainly the high end of my range, but a jump I was willing to take. They’re also very classic-looking…sort of what I imagined a dress form should look like when I was four. Or what Anthropologie might sell you if they sold dress forms, which they probably will soon.
They have a good fitting system (a set of pads–people do rave about them!) and the measurements were okay, but not perfect: 32-23-33. I just couldn’t see myself paying $400 for something that’s a full inch off in two out of three important areas.
Of course, by this point, I was getting to the weird corner of the dress form market. I found My Twin, which works as follows: you papier mache your body, make a plaster form, hack it open in the designated areas, somehow reconstruct it out of foam, and attach it to a stand. You do this yourself, with whatever chainsaw happens to be handy (see the tutorial here, including a lovely action shot of a person being papier mached by a happy My Twin representative).
So where did all of that leave me? You guessed it…the Uniquely You form. Wolfe was wrong…you really can go home again! I’m ordering it as soon as I can find a willing accomplice and a good way to patch the invitation to squish me indiscriminately.
Truth told, there isn’t anything wrong with it other than its appearance. It’s supposed to be a great form, it will accommodate my measurements (the petite size has a bust range of 29-35, waist 22-27, and hip 29-34), and the price is right (they range from 140 to 160). I’ll be sure to chronicle the fitting process for your viewing pleasure.
Have a great Saturday! I’m on vacation this week and working on a big project that I hope will actually turn out…