As I dive further into my sewing, I came to the realisation that I did truly need a dress form – though my husband regularly tells me that my need is just a want… In the end, if given the chance wouldn’t we all “need” a dress form?
After much research, we placed our needs in the hands of a company called Dress Rite Forms.
According to information online they had gone out of business (or at least their online presence disappeared), but recently they have once again set up shop and taking orders. I actually ordered in the process of their website bring developed. First day I looked at pricing, and the next day when I returned it was completely different theme.
Since I was an international customer I had to contact them to arrange shipping via courier. Their work-in-progress website couldn’t handle international orders so I needed to fax or email my details to their shop. I was reluctant faxing sensitive details such as credit cards outside of a secure online store, but in the end I didn’t have any issues.
They contacted me as soon as they received the fax to confirm my order – and receipt of the fax. The next day they had charged my credit card, and within three days they had shipped with tracking and insurance via my desired courier. Shipping was fast and reliable – although this is all dependent upon the carrier so I won’t say much more. Suffice to say that the price of shipping was reasonable.
Since I was shipping internationally, I couldn’t afford to buy a full sized dress form; the cost of shipping was more than the dress form itself! Dress Rite Forms website only stocks half scale forms, which was perfect for my needs. A size 12 was closest to my natural size (ignoring my larger hips), so it was a natural choice; design for myself or design for customers.
I am glad to report that the dress form is accurate to the standard commercial sizing. This is a necessity if you are planning on selling any of your patterns or designs.
Being a half scale – and being my first time using a real dress form – I do find the half scale to be a little fiddly to drape the smaller details. However, the more I practice, the easier it is becoming to drape such minute details. I have found that if your pattern will have lots of tiny details such as multiple pleats, then sometimes it is helpful to drape one slightly larger pleat to represent two or more.
I had been tossing up with purchasing a PGM Pro Mini Scale 3 piece set, and to be frank after draping on a 1/2 scale model I just don’t think the 1/3 or 1/4 scale sizes would be practical for draping at all; the 1/2 scale version is hard enough to achieve realistic details as is. Not to mention that the smaller the scale, the less realistic the material itself drapes and falls in folds.
Pinnability and Quality
I must admit that I am quite impressed with just how pinnable this dress form actually is. I really was not expecting this level of craftsmanship.
Pinning directly into the chest of the dress form (just below the center front neck) I can easily pin over 1 inch in depth. I honestly don’t know how deep the padding goes – I don’t have any pins long enough to hit anything solid. The foam appears to be of high quality; it’s dense enough that it easily springs back to shape when compressed.
The dress form is also covered in a skin colored fabric which I am assuming is polyester. This too appears to be high quality, and after some draping I cannot see any rips or marks of any kind that marr the covering.
The dress form features raised ridges along all princess seams, center front, center back and each side seam. They aren’t particularly raised – only a few millimeters – but enough that you can feel through a thin layer of fabric to determine their location.
Not something that I paid much attention to when purchasing the dress form, but definitely something I have noticed since receiving it; my dress form has buttocks. Often something advertised for full sized dress forms, realistic hips – or buttocks – seem to be a very appealing feature for many sewers due to the ability to achieve much more realistic draping effects.
It might sound ridiculous, but I agonized over the appearance of the dress form’s stand. Typical dress forms have very sturdy but somewhat ugly stands. Given the small space that I live in, I like my products to be both functional and pretty.
Some brands, such as PGM Pro, feature nice antique swirl designs for their stands.
Dress Rite Forms’ features a very modern take upon the dress form’s stand: a solid metal circular base in a high polish metal. It’s sleek, sexy and functional.
I had been concerned about the appearance of solid metal base, but to be honest I have really fallen in love with it. It looks wonderful sitting on both of my desks – fitting well with both antique and modern furniture.
The solid metal weight really helps hold the dress form in place; I don’t have any fear of it accidentally being knocked over whilst draping. A disaster if it fell and hit my coffee cup!
And did I mention that it is height adjustable? Very height adjustable.
I can raise the base as high as 18 inches (literally 18″ to the bottom of the very base). This is a perfect height for draping the bodice area on a low seat. My computer chair – which is a bit high for me since my desk is tall – makes it slightly awkward to drape the lower body of the dress form. A couch is perfect height.
The base will get as low as 3″. This is the absolute perfect height for working on a desk.
I have maybe two gripes with my dress form – and both are very trivial.
The first is that I would love to see some padding added to the stand’s base. Whilst it isn’t designed to be moved around much, I am scared of scratching or denting the wood on my desk when I do have to move it. A simple felt or rubber ring would suffice…
Secondly, I would like to see some small metal pins holding the elastic waistband marker in place. I found that the elastic can be pushed slightly out of line. I feel like some extra pins at the princess seams would really secure it in place.
Finally, I would love to see the option to have more elastic tape to mark out the fullest bust and hip points for reference. That way it would be easier to check that the cross grains and straight grains are draped straight.
But again, both of these issues that I have mentioned are VERY trivial. Don’t even for a second put them down on a cons list when comparing dress forms…
What can I say? I’m a happy girl. I have wanted a dress form for a while now, but always been a bit scared of spending the money and regretting it. I am so glad that I did buy! I didn’t expect it to be anywhere near as good as it is.
I’m actually in the process of emailing Dress Rite Forms now to ask if they sell full-sized models…
I’m so very happy with my purchase. If you are considering purchasing a 1/2 scale dress form then I encourage you to consider purchasing from Dress Rite Forms; the forms are quite reasonably priced and very high quality.