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Forum > Patterns and Notions > Help Understanding Dress Forms? ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Help Understanding Dress Forms?
Dress forms vs mannequins, partially vs fully pinnable, full body vs upper body....
katskinner
katskinner
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KUWAIT
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Date: 5/10/14 1:26 AM

Hey everyone,

I need a bit of help when it comes to dress forms.

I have been doing a bit of research, and have learnt that there is a distinct difference between a mannequin and a dress form; mannequins are for displaying clothes (may be pinnable) and dress forms are for pinning and designs.

What has me a bit confused is fully vs partially pinnable... I have read that professional dress forms can only be pinned at an angle, but other sources say that they should be fully pinnable (like pinning into a pillow). Can someone please clarify the difference between professional and regular dress forms??

The next question I have is... What size? My husband has promised to buy me one to help my home-business/hobby - and a recent tax return has given us a bit of extra cash to splurge on it.
I am a size 10 bust, 12 waist and 16 hips (obviously pair shaped). I want to do draping for me personally, and to make commercial patterns to sell. I figured a size 14 would provide ease for the upper body, and I can always pad the hips for personal draping.

Is there an advantage to full body dress forms over forms with hips (the metal cages)? Since shipping internationally is costly, how usable are scaled dress forms (1/2, 1/3 or 1/4)??? As far as I can see, a scaled dress form takes up less space in a room, can potentially be left on a desk and will make it easier to scan in and digitize patterns.

Please, any tips or helpful advice?

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I do my best to write unbiased reviews and tutorials at Quick Need just to help you out.

ckck
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ckck
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In reply to katskinner <<
thumbsup 1 member likes this.


Date: 5/10/14 3:24 AM

I have a dress form that you can change the neck, bust, waist and hips measurements.

To fit I measured my high bust and then I put an old bra on the dress form and filled out the cups with scraps of fabric. The waist and hips were easy to adjust. e.g. I measure my hips and say they are 40 inches. I then measure around the front and around the back from side seam to side seam. As I have more padding in the back the back measurement may equal 22 inches and across the front measures 18 inches so the total is 40 inches but it is not an equal 20 inches at the front and the back. I then adjust the dress form accordingly.

You can repeat the measuring from side seam to side seam across the front and back of the body for any of the body parts e.g. waist etc.

Are you going to be fitting pants or jeans? Some dress forms can not accommodate pants due to the cage. It's just something to look out for.

Another thing to look out for if you are normally a size 10 bust and you buy a 14 your garments may not fit well over the shoulders of the dress form unless you routinely wear your clothes with that much ease. (Two dress sizes may be a bit much, naturally YMMV.) You may find that there is a lot of pulling across the shoulders.

Once I have my dress form all set up for my size I pull an old t-shirt over the top of it to protect it and that way I can pin into the t-shirt and/or the dress form itself.

I can't answer any other questions that you have posted above but I find that as a user of a dress form in which you can change the sizing has been very useful as I have lost a lot of weight and being able to change the form to accommodate that has been very useful.

------
Victoria, Australia

Sharon48
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Sharon48  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/11/14 1:15 AM

When I bought my dress form, it was fitted to my smallest measurement. The sales staff explained you can pad up measurements but you cannot take away inches.
I purchased a Fabulous Fit padding system to pad up where necessary.
It was well worth the money and time spent getting "her" just right.
My form has the cage at the bottom - this suits my needs nicely!

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BrendaR
BrendaR
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Virginia USA
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Date: 5/11/14 1:41 AM

You might have noticed already that the neck, shoulders and bust are the hardest to fit. Also, dressforms are "hard" or rigid vs your human body which has "give." There have been many posts about this before, but basically, if you get a dressform exactly your size, chances are the clothes you fit on it will be too big on you. That's certainly the case at my house. For myself, I use one of the adjustable ones (an old Athena--I have two of them, one is now too small) and I have it set to about an inch and a half smaller than my actual measurements.

katskinner
katskinner
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KUWAIT
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Posts: 36
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Date: 5/11/14 5:00 AM

Thanks for all the tips. I was thinking of getting a size larger as Paul Gallo in his craftsy draping classes suggests getting a size larger so it has "built-in ease". Since I was going to be making patterns for sale, I figured I would probably have to alter to my own measurements anyway - so I guess the size itself isn't that important.
I'm still confused as to how pinnable the dress forms are meant to be. I've read conflicting advice about professional forms needing to be 100% pinnable (like pinning directly into a pillow) whilst others saying it should only be pinnable at an angle. Anyone know what is correct here?

------
I do my best to write unbiased reviews and tutorials at Quick Need just to help you out.

Kathleen Fasanella
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Kathleen Fasanella  Friend of PR
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In reply to katskinner <<


Date: 5/11/14 9:34 AM

Quote: katskinner
I'm still confused as to how pinnable the dress forms are meant to be. I've read conflicting advice about professional forms needing to be 100% pinnable (like pinning directly into a pillow) whilst others saying it should only be pinnable at an angle. Anyone know what is correct here?

I guess this raises the question of what a "professional" form is considered to be. In the context of what I do, a professional form is one that is used in a workroom or factory. This includes brands like Wolf, Ronis, Alvanon etc.

Of pin-able forms among industrial ("professional") brands, Alvanon is the only one that makes one. At this stage of the game, you should ask yourself how much you're willing to spend. A home sewing form might be $100 (I'm guessing). An industrial form, a good quality one, will be 10 times that ($1,000).

Now for the best quality there is (no one comes close to Alvanon), the prices are 2-3 times that. My full body Alvanon form -that is NOT pin-able (like a pillow) was $2,300 (plus $$$ shipping).
http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/i_bought_a_dress_form/

I also have a pin-able torso form (Alvanon) but it was a limited release to see if there was enough interest in making a lower cost, entry level form for students and independent designers, but there weren't enough sales to justify continuation so that product line was dropped.
http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/form-fit-function-that-wont-break-the-bank/

Alvanon is making a selection of their forms pin-able but again, you're looking at a form costing between $2,000 and $3,000.

------
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PattyE
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In reply to katskinner <<


Date: 5/11/14 10:12 AM

I bought a PGM dress form about 5 years ago. It was $400 for the 'Ladies Dress Form with Hip, Industry Pro 601'. It has collapsible shoulders which I highly recommend. It is also height adjustable and rolls nicely on any flooring.
It is covered with linen and is pinnable but like you said, at an angle. You can not stick a pin straight in. I do not find this to be an issue. In fact, putting the pins in at an angle seems to hold better.
According to the PGM size charts, I am a size 7 bust, 10 waist, 10 hip. Most patterns I make are size 8 or 10 or 38 in Burda. Go figure.
I really like the PGM form. It might be something for you to take a look at.

Sewliz
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Sewliz  Friend of PR
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In reply to katskinner <<


Date: 5/11/14 10:35 AM

My form is partially pinnable and it has about 1/4" of foam over something rigid. I chose my form by price and the option of collapsible shoulders. I had some doubt about the partially pinnable thing but decided it was not important because I seldom pin into a form during use. I did find that putting pins into the paritally pinnable form is fine. They go in at an angle but that is sort of the natural way to put pins in.

If I wanted a form for draping and was pinning extensively and repeatedly into the form I think I would prefer a fully pinnable one. When I pin into my form I am aware that there is a limit and when designing I imagine pinning with abandon would be preferable.

Since you will be making patterns for sale it is probably important that whatever form you choose be proportioned to industry standards. It seems the fully pinnable forms would be. Is there a size that is a good starting point for pattern making?

ETA For reference, this is the form I have.
-- Edited on 5/11/14 10:40 AM --

------
Liz

thefittinglife.blogspot.com

SandiMacD
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Date: 5/11/14 3:27 PM

Liz- I went to the site and checked out the description. Now I know why getting a good pattern fit proves difficult (if these are the sizes used in the industry!)
I would need the size 4 for my shoulders (the most critical fit), size 16 for the bust (always need a fba), size 18 for the waist (explains why no sizes ever fit me there!) and a size 14 for the hips. Getting a good shoulder fit with a size 4 would throw off everything else. And now I know why everything size 2-4 fit me so well in my youth (except for the bust).
The most common size lines I cut on now for patterns is a size 16 and I'm swimming. Good information. Thanks!

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