My fancy-schmancy new dress form

My fancy-schmancy new dress form

I have a pretty cool dress form, and I’m not really bragging–I’m just totally jazzed about it. I got to go down to Washington, DC–my old stomping grounds–to this great little sewing studio/school called Bits of Thread in Adams Morgan.

At this studio, the owner and her partner have developed a really cool process for creating custom dress forms that pretty much 100% replicate your ACTUAL body. That includes your posture, your body proportions, and all your circumferences from neck to knee–and all your lumps ‘n bumps. I’ve only had it since February and already it’s been 5 times more useful than my standard professional dress form (which I never really found much use for, except as a display piece).

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My custom dress form is a DittoForm. It’s made by scanning your body with a 3D imaging camera and then it’s machine-carved from foam. It is WAY cool. There’s an article all about it in the June/July 2016 issue of Threads magazine, so go check that out!

What’s so great about this custom dress form service is that it’s much more affordable, low-effort, and much faster than getting a custom professional dress form made. It isn’t perfect, but it’s so much closer to perfect than anything I’ve had before.

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Yep. That’s my body. Gloriously imperfect and damned hard to fit.

 

I’ve done the Duct Tape dress form thing, and my experience with it sucked. It always titled on its curtain-rod pole and Christmas-tree stand base. Plus it expanded a bit in some places when filled with foam, and collapsed in others. And it wasn’t pinnable, or sturdy, or easy to move around despite being very lightweight. *Sadhorns*

I’ve owned a set of Fabulous Fit fitting system pads to make my other dress form resemble me, and my brain just froze every time I tried to start putting the pads in the right place. I know lots of other sewers have had great success with that system–it just was too much for me, because my shape is vastly different from a standard dress form: shorter, squatter, rounder, and asymmetrical. I’m not even sure the FF pads in one set would be enough.

I wanted a really low-effort, relatively affordable way to get a very close copy of my body, and DittoForm is it. It came out of the box, and I was a little spooked by how… ahem… ACCURATE it is. Like, I-don’t-want-to-leave-it-unclothed-in-my-living-room-when-company-comes-over accurate. (And that’s actually a possibility because my apartment is mostly a big open space, my sewing room is small and awkwardly sized, and the whole thing basically gets turned into a sewing studio when I’m in the throes of creation on more than one project at a time. So both dress forms live in my living room most of the time.)

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Super-realistic shape and proportions. You can even see a bit of my asymmetry here in the way the form’s right shoulder (on the left of the photo) is a bit squarer than the left shoulder, which slopes a bit more; that’s my scoliosis showing.

 

Anyway, I’m looking forward to actually using a dress form now, when before it was this big thing sitting in the corner taunting me with its un-usefulness. Yay!

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The best laid plans…

LOL! Yeah, so about those plans to avoid impulse sewing and focus on anything but historical costuming. Totally didn’t work out. I caved at the first opportunity and have spent the past three months at least focused on creating an 18th century ensemble for a recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC to see an exhibition of 18th century paintings by Elisabeth Louise Vigee le Brun. And I didn’t even get that ensemble totally finished!

Sigh. Well, over the years, I’ve learned the fastest way to get me to do exactly the opposite of what I know I should do is to make a plan to do what I know I should do (get the logic there?).

In any case, the unfinished 18th century ensemble is put away for now, waiting for some essential fixes. You can read all about it on my other blog, Belle Mode Belle Histoire, if you’re curious. If not, know that I really really really WILL be starting real-life, modern sewing projects very soon. Because I need clothes to wear to work.

In fact, I have a fourth True Bias Sutton Blouse all cut out and waiting for me on my work table. It’s been there since January. And I have a slew of other blouse and pants patterns I want to tackle before summer really gets underway. And I have a cocktail dress to finish so I can wear it to a friend’s wedding in September (that will make 2 full years since it was cut out and basted to its underlining–that’s how long it’s been sitting in my admittedly small UFO pile).

So, back to it. It will begin this weekend. What did I say just three paragraphs ago about making a plan…? No, no, this time I WILL stick to it. I have no more reasons to take up a historical costume project for several months. Stay tuned.

Don’t laugh–I’m serious!