Tips & Tricks I need currant opinions on purchasing a DRESS FORM

Discussion in 'Costuming and Props' started by MomMaster, Aug 10, 2007.

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  1. MomMaster Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2006
    star 2
    I'm about to purchase a dress form. I could use input from any of you - I don't want to buy something cheesy.
    I have made 2 duct tape dummies and they lasted through one outfit each then came apart - and were a lot of work to make!
    I managed to make costumes with many live fittings but I don't know how I managed without one!
    Now I'm going to make a wedding gown and I think it's time.

    Thanks!
  2. kay_dee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    star 4
    Since you are used to the duct tape doubles to replicate your figure, but want something long lasting, you might like the My Twin Dressform. I bought a kit, but honestly, I have not made the effort to plaster myself and put one together! One of these days...

    Some people like the uniquely you dressforms. Especially if they do corset work because they squish. I DON NOT advise them for people who are 5'6" and are on the thinner side (27" waist, 34-35" bust). No matter how hard I tried, it was impossible to make the body cover on the small dress form compress down to my shape.

    The dial dress forms are OK, but are not good for fitting. I only use them when I do initial draping and designing. Or for hems.
  3. Jedi Girl of Corellia Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 2000
    star 6
    I highly recommend the uniquely you form. And if you have trouble fitting the cover on the form, I've heard of people shaving off the foam in some places to get them to fit better. I know I had to cover the hip area with batting to get it to fit me right, apparently my but was a bit bigger then.

    Although if you do have a less than common build, the My Twin might be the way to go.
  4. JainaMSolo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2001
    star 3
    Kathy, I'm a little confused-- do you mean you couldn't get the form into the cover, or you couldn't make the cover be the right size? I had looked at getting one of those forms, but if it isn't going to work...
  5. Jedi-Siri Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 22, 2004
    star 1
    Do duct tape dummies work? I really want to get a dummy but I cannot afford it. I was just going to try to my one, but was wondering how well they worked.
  6. SiaLanWezz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2004
    star 2
    Most manufacturing firms, pattern makers and drapers use the Superior Model Dress Form from New York. The dress forms are send out to measurements you pick off of their chart which are standard in the industry and used by most pattern makers and drapers.I have bought mine in 1988, the dress form is still in a new condition,they last for ever. I have bought a cheaper version off ebay for about 100 dollars in a mens size and after couple of month without use it is already falling apart.If you need a dress form for draping and will be using it for some time to come I would invest in a form you can use for the next several decades. When your measurements change, drape the pattern on the dress form you have and than flat draft it /alter it to your measurements using the flat draft method. Which means, drape the pattern with muslin on dress form ,thereafter iron it out, transfer it on soft tissue paper, alter it to your measurements with rulers, make a sample out of muslin again, fit it on yourself, make adjustments, transfer it on paper again and you have a master pattern to your body measurement. Make as many adjustments as necessary for a perfect fit. Not an easy process but once you get a master pattern, it can be extended to any style in the future just with the rulers / flat pattern drafting. The process starts with a great dress form.
  7. kay_dee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    star 4
    I could get the form into the custom cover, but no matter how much I kept trying to take in the seams on the cover, it just can't compress the foam down that narrow throughout the waist, and upper shoulder area. I spent a great deal of time altering my body cover to fit me like a glove. But there is just too much darn foam on that dress form. The seams are nearly bursting on my the body cover. Not to mention the neck is too big, and the shoulders are too big compared to mine. The body cover doesn't squish those parts of the form. I'm not wild about trying to cut into the foam... especially on the neck and shoulder area. I'd be curious to see how small a petite is, but worry it will be too short in the torso length. I hope that clarifies it.

  8. kay_dee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    star 4
    I have a friend that made one and she said it worked really well for pin fitting. But they just don't last long - as mommaster mentioned.
  9. JainaMSolo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2001
    star 3
    Oh, thank you, that makes much more sense. And it's good to know for the future! If the foam just won't compress that much, that's not good.
  10. MomMaster Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2006
    star 2
    Thanks for all this! I guess I really want one to just drape and design on when the live person isn't available. I would like to get the foam one but reading this, you really can't depend on that for an exact fit either. Although close is good!

    It takes time and much patience to make this. My husband did mine and even built a stand for it. But the duct tape unsticks after a short while and when I repaired it, the shape got distorted because you are trying to pull it shut with the stuffing in it. I also made one of my son's neck to chest area and it lasted about 2 weeks. It was great to stick pins in though! I'm sure there's a way to make them stronger but like I said, once it's off your body, messing with it causes distortions.

    Kaydee, the small says waist size 24"-31". Is this the one you can't get to 27"?

    For myself, with dieting and all, I would probably do better with the adjustable one. Just want to know which one of those is better.
  11. MiraxTHorn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2000
    star 4
    I made my duct tape dressform into a permanent one that I just love! I cut plywood pieces into the shape of the neck and hip openings. I taped in the hip piece and then stuffed the whole thing with batting and put in the neck piece. I then draped and sewed a knit cover for the entire thing. My hubby built a stand for me with a pipe and two flanges - one screwed into the bottom of the hip piece and the other into the wooden base. Total cost was maybe $30. I use it constantly, pin right to the knit cover and have even taken it to local cons as my costume display stand. Here's a pic of what the top and base look like. The pipe is hidden by the skirt. My only caution would be not to overstuff the body. It's just a smidge too stiff.

    Regards,
    M.
  12. kay_dee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    star 4
    It is just squishing to 27" at the waist. The seams are ready to explode. (actually, my true waist is 25.75") I just can't get it to go any smaller. It was such a struggle to force the body cover on each time I made alterations taking in the seams more and more, only to have the fabric stretch and the seams nearly bursting when I put the body cover back on. I really wish they would not advertise that the small is for a 24" waist. The bust area and upper chest just really very full too. It's a joke, and I was mad I wasted my money on it. I mean, at some point I just had to scream and say "I give up" because I spent a few nights trying to alter that body cover. I figure you can't force a square peg into a round hole. It just isn't made for skinny flat chested girls IMHO, and I'm weary of cutting into the foam itself because it is likely to make it jagged and uneven.

  13. Xath Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 30, 2007
    We have Wolfe dress forms at work that have lasted heavy use for over 40 years. I think we might get them re-covered once a decade or so.
  14. MomMaster Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2006
    star 2
  15. Stranded in space Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2000
    star 4
    Don't recall where i read it, but I read someone doing a hybrid with the Uniquely you dress form cover and a fabulous Fit fitting system and dressform. but i think that's a tad pricey for me.

    I've got a twin fit dial dress form and have been musing about just ordering a uniquely you cover and getting some foam or batting and see it that would work. But then I remind myself they annoyance with the twin fit is it has broader wider shoulders than i do and so that method wont work.


    best of luck
  16. princessleia911 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 4
    I just purchased a Uniquely You Dress Form and it seems great!!! I had just made a duct tape one but it fell apart because I think I overstuffed it :oops: but I was doing it for Padme ROTS and I had been wearing my fake preg belly. I had no problem custom fitting the dress cover to my body and it seems pretty accurate. Now I can hem without bugging my hubby or kids [face_laugh] I will say it was a pain to stuff and had to have my hubby help me with squising the foam and pulling down the zipper. How did I ever work without one?
  17. MomMaster Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2006
    star 2
    I am so excited!
    I made another duct tape dummy using good quality deuct tape and it is holding up
    beautifully!
    This duct tape seems to just melt together as I layer it!
    I don't even have to finish the neck openings or the bottom openings. I just take the T shirt that is hanging out the bottom and tie a knot after I stuff it.
    my husband made a stand out of plastic pipe on a base with a T for the shoulders. I stuffed it with the pipe up the center.
  18. Remba24 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Could you please tell me some more deatil on the uniquely you dress forms on how to modify them for yourself? Is it sewing the cover to your measurements? How difficult is it to use for a novice sewer. It sounds like this type of dressform might be what I need as I will be attempting corset making for a couple of costumes, but if I can't modify it to my measurements then I won't be able to use it.
    Thanks for the help.
    Rem
  19. QueenAmidalaEP1 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 15, 2005
    star 2
    I use a Wolf Dress form that I have had since my Freshman year at Pratt Institute (where I studied Fashion Design). It was the standard size that everyone in class used for draping and pattern fitting. From the waist down, I'm just about the same size. From the waist up I'm a bit narrower in the rib cage, and an inch longer in the torso. It's also bigger in the bust, but I add padding to most of my costume, so this is not a big deal.
    This is only an issue for my historic costumes like a Civil War bodice, that fits tight to skin. Once I do a final fitting, it no longer goes back on the dress form.

    If was doing lots of super fitted costume, I would invest in another form that was my exact measurements, and it would be a professional quality form, like a Wolf. I would not have the patience to mess with the adjustable forms.
  20. QueenAmidalaEP1 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 15, 2005
    star 2
    Threads Magazine has had a few articles about dress forms over the years:

    http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/th_123_030.asp

    Here?s how to make a stretchy dress form cover:

    http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00102.asp

    And here?s how to make your own ?clone?:

    http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00002.asp
    http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00002_p5.asp

    Sew News has also printed a few articles on dress forms:

    Here?s a great general article:

    http://www.sewnews.com/library/sewnews/library/aafash4a.htm

    More:
    http://www.sewnews.com/resources/library/0806form/index.html

    Here?s how to make a sturdy stand for your ?Stunt Double?:
    http://www.sewnews.com/resources/library/0806stand/index.html
  21. Jedi_Nausicaa Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 14, 2005
    star 1
    I've used Wolf forms in classes; they're very nice to drape on but I wouldn't want to use one if I was making something for a specific person rather than to a standard size. I happen to be about three sizes larger below the waist than above, and while I've gotten away with using it for an empire-waist dress, I wouldn't be able to use it for much else. I also have a singer dress form that you can set with dials, which I've been able to use to get a general idea of if things will fit, but it's hard to drape on because when it's set to anything bigger than the smallest size, it's got a gap at the center front, center back, and sides and you can't pin anything there. I've tried putting a tight t-shirt on top to cover the gap but it doesn't quite work. I made a duct-tape dummy for a friend and that worked very well while it lasted. It didn't actually fall apart but the shape got a bit distorted. Also, that made my pins sticky which is just something to be aware of; you probably won't want to use them for anything else after using them in the duct tape form.
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