Friday, December 31, 2010

Dressform Help, Please?

My birthday is coming, and I'm trying to decide how to spend my gift money.  Wanna help?
Silly question, right?
Singer Sewing Co Df150-g Gray Dress Form, M
My parents bought my dressform for me when I was in high school.  She's an adjustable model from Joann's and she does an okay job.  She's smaller than me though, and I've been giving some thought to replacing her.
Dress Form System
Super Conservative Route:  Fabulous Fit makes a padding system that would allow me to not only make her a better match to my dimensions, but also transform her into a pinnable dressform, so that I could learn more about draping (a New Year's resolution).  Upside: Lowest cost ($85 total).  Downside: No arms/legs/butt.

Which leads me to my first question: How important are arms and legs on mannequins?  I make lots of tops, but not lots of pants.  I'm really not sure how badly I "need" these parts...  thoughts???
Conservative Route:  A 3/4 body dress from would allow me to do pants, and I could always add an arm.  Fabulous Fit sells one, but the price she gave me on the phone seemed a little bit high, with the padding system to make her perfectly me.  Shipping alone is $84.  Or... a new half-body dress form with arms.  Pinnable, and an improvement... but how much different is this from what I have?  Again, how important are body parts, like arms and legs, on mannequins???
The Opposite of Conservative Route: A full body form.  2 legs, add an arm.  $400 for the whole shebang.  A wonderful addition to the sewing space, but will it make me a better seamstress?  I can get lots of other things for that amount, like classes, tools, books, etc.  One more time, everybody sing along... HOW IMPORTANT ARE ARMS AND LEGS ON A DRESS FORM?????

So, help a girl out.  There's no rush, so I'm going to continue to research and check out all my options.  The level-headed angel on my shoulder says, "Get the padding system, and make the most of what's already working for you."  The devil on the other side (wearing a fabulous red one-shouldered, sequined number) says, "It will make you a professional.  It will make you smile.  Why not?"

What say you?


Rebecca said...

My mom has a dressform from Fabulous Fit with the pads. We got a pretty decent fit with the padding. There weren't enough pads in the kit to get a perfect fit so we used some quilting batting to wrap around the midsection. I do not know how important arms and legs are when it comes to fitting. Sorry. I'll be checking back at your comment section to see what other, more experienced sewists have to say.

beangirl said...

I don't think you can fit pants well on a dressform (but that's just me). I think you're better off doing a custom sloper and then just using it to compare your patterns and tweak the fit before you construct.

Arms, on the other hand, can be important. BUT I say that as a person who has proportionately HUGE arms compared to the shoulder and upper chest. I found that when I fit on a custom form, I didn't always allow for the arm movement because I didn't have the arm. In other words, the top would fit me perfectly through the shoulder and upper chest--- if I had a sudden accident and was armless. With arms, not so much. But you have skinny little stick arms (man, why do I even talk to you anyway) and maybe this isn't such a problem. However, arms are pretty easy to make yourself and just add to the existing form.

If it was me, I'd go with the Fabulous Fit pad system and try fitting the existing form first. (I'm so cheap that I can't even make up my mind to buy a cheap form to try this out on... and my DTD v.2 died a horrible death two years ago... maybe that's why I don't make clothes for myself anymore.... hmmm.... I have to mull this over....)

KID, MD said...

I can't comment on the legs, since my dressform doesn't have them, but I did get a free arm with mine, and I am not really sure it is all that helpful. About the only time I use it is to check sleeve length, but if your arms are muscular and you do sleeve adjustments often, I could see it being useful.

JoanneM said...

Don't go cheap.
You sew constantly and will get your money's worth.
You also sew pants. I will not/do not sew pants, so legs might be an idea for you.

What I learned:
*Quality is economy. Get what you want the first time, will not need to be replaced
*I own a fabulous Roxy dressform. She is a size too small. Get the right size.
*PGM and Roxy are great.
*Pinnable, non adjustable, metal skirt cage.
*I dream Wolf, the deluxe dressforms.......not happening anytime soon....maybe if I am good.

Good luck
Miss Muslin

sewdarnlucky said...

I have two full body dress forms. One was a very expensive Fabulous Fit. The other one is just as nice, but a whole lot cheaper. I bought it during a half price sale at I use a Fabulous Fit kit with it. I love having a full body dress form.

a little sewing on the side said...

I decided to get an arm at the very last minute when I got my Wolf. I AM SO GLAD I got that arm! I find it very helpful to get the armhole and shoulder area. It is so much more anatomically correct.
The legs were just too expensive, so I didn't even consider them.

sewabeginner said...

I don't have a dressform, so I cannot comment, but I just wanted to say... Happy New Year!

marihaf said...

We have a saying here at our house, "you are as good as your tools" If a new form makes you a better seamstress/fabric artist and you can afford it...then go for it!!!

glorm said...

My suggestion would be to keep the dressform you have and get Fabulous Fit to pad it. (The posters at PR seem to feel it is very good).

My dressform does have arms which snap on. Although they are nice I can't say that I have used them that much.

Pantsforms won't help much unless you don't require a lot of adjustments. If you have any kind of body tilt, then you would need something either made just for you or make a duct tape one for that area.

A pantsform would have to hang so you can actually put on the pants. I can see myself fighting with it.

Anita (Summer Gypsy) said...

I have a vintage adjustable. I saw a photo of the design room of a bigshot designer and a closeup of several dress forms... they were wrapped everywhich way with batting and rags. I LOVE that cheapo idea... but if I had mucho dollaros, I'd love to have a Wolf, second best... that Fab Fit is cool.

Eastern Long Island Hospital said...

You are going to have a great sewing year with your new form.

I have the Fabulous Fit complete form - without arms and legs - and highly reccomend it.

The legs and arms are usually for professional commercial pattern drafters and designers.

Once your form matches you, the sleeve and pant length can be done via the flat pattern methods.

Happy Sewing

KellysSewing said...

Ever thought of making a duct tape dummy? Exact copy of your body. Fun to make with a friend. You can find videos on You Tube.

Cissie said...

I bit the bullet last year and had a dress form made to my "odd" measurements. It took 3 months and was the most costly sewing "tool" I own, other than my machine. But I love it/her and believe that it/she will make a huge difference in my sewing. I had tried several other forms and they were only good for "showcasing', certainly not for fitting. But this Wolf form is perfect -- and as close as anyone will ever see me naked! I try to keep a bathrobe on her!!

As with most things, I have found you get what you pay for. Always buy the best you can afford.

Steph said...

I'd definitely go the most conservative route. You'll be able to start learning to drape, and by the time you figure out if draping is for you or not you'll also know if you want arms and legs. I never saw the point of having limbs for the things I do.

Kristine said...

UPDATE: I "made an offer" on a full body (with an arm) on ebay, and am waiting to see if we can agree on a price. Keep your fingers crossed, I'm so excited!

RedHeadShannon said...

Jealous! I want that form. I can't wait to see what you do with it. You go girl.