Dress Form

My sewing activity today was assembling and attempting to pad out my new dress form. I . . . think it was a success, though time will tell whether I duplicated my shape well enough to help me in my sewing.

I started with an adjustable form sold by Yamata on Amazon. The thing that has prevented me from getting an adjustable form in the past is size. I am very flat chested (30A) and short waisted (my husband measured me at 14.5″ a few years ago). Most standard-issue dress forms are for women who have B cups and 16″ back waist measurements.

The Yamata petite adjustable form, however, was described as “juvenile” in form, and has a back waist measurement of 15″, which is very close to what I am.

Here I am with the mannequin at it’s smallest size. I clearly had a lot of building up to do, for which I used the Fabulous Fit Dress Form System in Medium.

The form itself went together easily, and is simple to adjust in terms of height. The stand is, as reviewers described, a bit less sturdy than one would like, but it is good enough.

The bigger problem  is that it doesn’t hold adjustments well. Multiple times, as I worked on padding the form out, I would hear a pop and the form would lose half an inch in circumference.

Not good.

But my choices are the Yamata form or a custom-made form, and I’m not ready to spend the kind of money necessary to go custom.

Eventually, I put pieces of styrofoam in the openings in multiple places to offer additional support and relieve strain on the mechanisms. By the time I finished, I had put styrofoam at waist level, hip level, chest level, arm level, and in the shoulders.

 The Fabulous Fit system had decent instructions, and between them, my old measurements made by my husband, and new ones taken on the fly, I was able (I think) to get a good idea of what shape I am now.

Fabulous Fit was not equipped to deal with my bosom, so I ended up using one of my bras to adjust my top measurements. Not, alas, one of my old ones, because the old one didn’t hold it’s shape well enough anymore.

However, the nice thing about the Fabulous Fit system is that it can be used to deal with individual variability. In my case, I have scoliosis, which means that one side of my waist is quite indented, and the other is much straighter. I also have one hip that is higher than the other.

I was able, I think, to duplicate that asymmetry fairly well:

After getting all the pads adjusted and the top cover on my form, I quintuple-checked the main measurements (high bust, bust at the widest point, under bust, waist, hips). They all match me.

Then, I put my new skirt on the form and took a good look. I will not call the experience heartening, because I immediately saw that the fit was worse than I liked to think. However, I think the dress form is correct. I see the same fit issues that bothered me on my own body, namely that the front of the skirt is collapsing under the yoke, and the whole thing is a bit overlarge.


I think if I had had this dress form while I was making it, I would have gotten a better result.