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Dress form
any recommendations for an inexpensive dress form?
avatrx

avatrx  Friend of PR
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Date: 10/16/12 6:17 PM

I have a back waist length of 18. The Dritz dressforms available locally only go to 17. I think Singer has one that goes to 19, but I'm not sure. Those have to be ordered online so I can't see one up close and personal to check it out.

does anyone have any experience with these less expensive forms or are they a waste of money?

thanks

nancy2001
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In reply to avatrx <<
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Date: 10/17/12 8:12 AM

These are my personal recommendations about dress forms. Other people may have different ones.

I don't recommend the cheap adjustable forms like Dritz and Singer. They're flimsy, they topple over if you even think of touching them, and the controls break easily. Instead you'd be better off getting a better, sturdier form (like a PGM) and padding it out to replicate your figure, as I did.


The PGM website is now running a special on their Bridal Dress Form Model 701a for $158 including free shipping. The form is available in sizes 4 to 10. Last year I bought a similar form from them at a similar price, and I've been extremely pleased with it.

The key to getting a good figure likeness is choosing a form that is much smaller than you are (on all three dimensions) and then padding it up and out. Ideally you want a form that is two sizes smaller than you are. Remember you can always increase the form's bulk, but you can't reduce it.

I see from your profile that your tall and slim to average in build. One way to increase the back length might be to build up the shoulder height with padding. The key is to think of your body not just as a set of measurements, but as it exists in space in three dimensions. If you want to add considerable bulk your form quickly and easily, I recommend the
Fabulous Fit fitting system kit, free shipping with code 125414-2199. Otherwise, you can pad it out with batting and cover it with a body suit you sew yourself.




-- Edited on 10/17/12 8:17 AM --

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avatrx

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In reply to nancy2001 <<


Date: 10/17/12 9:50 AM

that information is very helpful. The largest one they have on sale has a bust of 37 (size 10). I'm a 42" bust. that seems like alot of padding.

I've been looking on Craigslist.

Your suggestion of padding up the shoulders to get the increase in BWL is a really good idea.

I can' t tell what the PGM form is made of? It would be nice if cost wasn't a factor.

I'm not as concerned about the stand as I am the controls. When looking for a good - stable dress form- would you recommend one that is a solid or wireframe as opposed to the adjustable?

What is H.P.S. to waist? Seems like my biggest issue is the BWL.

nancy2001
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In reply to avatrx <<


Date: 10/17/12 3:59 PM

I'm glad the information is helpful.

The PGM form is a standard cotton covered solid form. I don't know the exact material it's filled with, but the Bridal Dress Form is a less expensive version of the same type of PGM dress form that's used on Project Runway. The base is extremely stable. That might not seem important to you, especially if you've never tried to use a dress form before. But it is extremely frustrating to work with an unstable form that topples over if you even think of touching it. Ask me how I know.

I have owned three different dress forms (my current PGM form that I padded out, a Uniquely You dress form I bought used, and a cheap fiberglass store mannequin bought on ebay). When I bought my PGM last year, I got rid of the other two forms because they were so inferior.

I've seen the rickety adjustable forms at Hancock and Joann, and I would never buy one. The controls break easily and even if you set the dials to your figure measurements, you will most likely not get a good likeness to your figure. I also wouldn't recommend a wire frame form -- they are purely decorative.

I'm sorry but I'm not familiar with the term HPS.

I think you could add 5" to the PGM form without any problem. When I bought the form last year I added 3.5" to the hips without any difficulty and could have easily added more, much more if I'd needed to. Padding the bust is extremely easy. Just take one of your good support bras put it on the form and stuff it. That's what I did.

Remember that you will achieve the greatest likeness if you order a form that is not only smaller than you are, but smaller than you are in every direction -- in 3D. It's very easy to pad these forms out, especially if you buy the Fabulous Fit padding kit. It is impossible to make these forms smaller.

I hope this information helps.

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redsquid
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Date: 10/17/12 4:15 PM

Just wanted to add specific to bust measurement on a form: I was a full D cup so I took one my bras, put it on the form and filled the cup a bit to get to the correct size. This worked very well to get the bust to the shape I needed.

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redsquid (Linda)

SecondHandRogue
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Date: 10/17/12 7:59 PM

Is PGM made in the USA? Are any of them?

NhiHuynh
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Date: 10/17/12 8:17 PM

My vote is for a duct tape form. It's cheap, you can make it at home and it's a very good copy of your shape. The downside is that they don't have collapsible shoulders and is a bit difficult to pin on.

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avatrx

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In reply to NhiHuynh <<


Date: 10/18/12 8:36 AM

I"m new to a dress form. don't have one but think it would make it easier to work on a jacket or blouse with one.

what purpose does a collapsible shoulder serve?

SouthernStitch
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Date: 10/18/12 9:03 AM

Adding to the shoulder is what I did to acheive a lower bust point too - as some of these forms are far more perky than we are! OTOH, if you are tall through the back, but have a high bust point, adding to the shoulder may bring the bust point too low. Then you would have to figure a way to bring the bust point higher, and I'm not sure how you'd do that. I think with the Uniquely you form, you can actually cut off the breasts, and then bring them up higher using a bra.

I am curious about the collapsible shoulder also. I saw one with that feature at a conference, and it was a very nice form. I have very narrow shoulders -so am wondering if this would help with that problem?

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nancy2001
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In reply to SouthernStitch <<
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Date: 10/18/12 10:50 AM

SouthernStitch, if you get a small form with a bust that's smaller than yours is, you can pad the bust up and out to be where it should be. When I padded out the bust of my form, I added padding to the top half of the bust, not the bottom half. The key is to think of the body in three dimensions like a sculptor does.

If narrow shoulders are your problem, you can buy a form in a smaller dress size and pad it out. Once again, you need to get a form whose entire body is smaller than you are at every point in three dimensions. In other words if you superimposed the form inside your body, your body would be larger than the form at every point. That's why people recommend that you do not buy a form that's your size or even one size smaller.

I have owned both a Uniquely You form and a PGM, and of the two forms, the PGM was by far the better of the two options.

SecondHandRougePGM manufactures their dress forms in the USA in California.

Avatrx, a dress form that replicates your figure well, is extremely helpful when you're sewing jackets and tops. Collapsable shoulders would only be needed if you need want slip a non stretch garment over the dress form's (nonexistant) head. I sew jackets and knit tops and do not need this feature. If your woven blouses have enough buttons or a long back zip, you would not need this feature.

Every type of form has its advantages and disadvantages. You need to select the form that's right for you: your figure and how it departs from the average/ideal, how close you need the figure approximation to be, your budget, the type of garments you sew, your tolerance for frustration, your preferred method of achieving a good figure likeness and whether or not you have one or two sewing buddies to help you build a duct tape double, how long you want your dress form to last, how sturdy you want the form to be, and how attractive you want it to look. Forms that rate high on some features, rate low on others.

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No sewing project is ever a complete success nor a total failure.

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