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dress forms

nutsforneedles | Posted in Fitting on

Hi…I’m in the process of looking for a dress form to help me with my fitting issues 🙁

I don’t want to make a form so I’m looking at the “ready made” guys.  Anyone out there with some comments, suggestions????


  1. Fruzzle | | #1

    Hiya there

    I'm on the same quest myself. I did find an old thread from April on this topic.

    There's also an article on dress forms in the June/July issue of Vogue Patterns, and I know I've read more than one article in past issues of Threads. I've been looking at the Twin Fit and My Double. I want something that I can both fit on and possibly eventually learn to drape on; I'm also thinking that I should get one that will adjust larger rather than smaller (i.e. all else being equal, a form where my measurments are at the small end of the range is better than one where the form is maximally extended to fit me as I am now).

    Also, it should look pretty. I don't have a sewing room, so it will have to live in my living room.

    1. nutsforneedles | | #2

      Hi and thanks for your input :)  I decided to bite the bullet and ordered the My Double Deluxe from Joann's.  I got the deluxe because they say you can use that model to fit pants as well as the usual stuff.  I used my 40% off coupon but now I see on Joanns.com they are on sale with a better price so you may want to take a look at that.  I took my measurements and fall in the middle of the range which is good in terms of adjusting but the recommendation is that you position yourself so that you can expand if necessary.  It is easier, in other words, to expand but you can't always go smaller.  I hope that's not too confusing.  I should be getting my dress form in a few weeks and I'm very excited.

      I do have a sewing room but it's small and "full" (how did that happen???) so my form will probably be sleeping with us.  Well, I'll just give it a good name and tell my husband we have a new relative.  :)

      1. anniebee1941 | | #3

        I love your sense of humor!! :)

        1. nutsforneedles | | #4

          Hi anniebee1941 (good year BTW...my birth year!)

          Thanks for your comment.  I do enjoy humor and have several cousins that are probably certifiable....but cute :)

          Happy sewing girl!!

          1. anniebee1941 | | #6

            My birth year too! Suggestion: give her a French name like "Fifi" and tell him all his wildest dreams have come true! Of course, during the daylight hours you can dress her in a maid's outfit and tell the neighbors you struck it rich!When my dressform first joined my life I was married. I'm a size 14RTW and the form is one that has to have a "fitted" corset to adjust the measurements. The breasts looked like about FF (cup size) before the corset fitting ... and Halloween was upon us. As you can imagine the party that year was one that my former neighbors STILL talk about. I still have not mastered the art of using the darn thing. Any suggestions??Annie

          2. nutsforneedles | | #7

            Hi anniebee1941

            Good to hear from you.  The "Fifi" thing sounds great and I'm sure with that name my husband will fall right into line...ha!  And I REALLY like the maid idea.  You are cookin' girl!!

            I'm still waiting for the delivery of my dress form aka Fifi so I don't have any suggestions about using the form.  I did pick up a sloper pattern, however, and I'm anxious to see how that all works out.  A friend of mine told me today that there's a group where we live that is meeting to help each other develop viable slopers.  They have the pattern making software which I do not but they may let me crash their group anyway.  I'll bring food or something and that will get me in the door.  If not, there's always 1-800-GUIDO!

          3. anniebee1941 | | #8

            Hi Needles, Which pattern company did you choose? I went to get one and ending up counseling a clerk with major problems. (It happens all the time ... even though I am retired! I think there is a scrolling message across my forehead ... "tell me your troubles .... tell me your trou....") ha! I decided to get my friend to come and help me with measurements before I purchase after reading what Huxley has to say in "Secrets of the Fashion Industry" ... probably it boils down to being scared I'll screw it up!!Do you or anyone know the secrets of sizing the covering (which I call a corset) for the dress form? I'm really at a loss there.AnnieP.S. My dressform is still getting love letters from one of my party guests ... watch signs for alienation of affection with your hubby ... these dress forms, especially after you give them a name, will do "anything" to get off the "stand" in the corner! I think Anniebelle, my dress form's name, may have had something going on with my ex-hubby ... of course, she is keeping mum about the whole thing!

          4. nutsforneedles | | #10

            Hi Annie!

            I bought the McCall's sloper pattern so now I just hope for the best.  I haven't cracked into yet since I'm in the middle of a major project right now....pants suit...but I will get to it...especially since I'm going to a "sloper group" in September.  Oh boy! But I also want to tell you I have a book I bought that goes along with the sloper pattern called "Fit for Real People" by Pati Parlmer & Marta Alto.  It's sort of a companion book to go with the sloper.  I don't know what to tell you about the size because the pattern is not multisized.  I just picked one I thought might work...it may...it may not.  If Fifi was any kind of a dress form she'd help me out of this dilemma!!  Not only that...I don't know a thing about the covering of the dress form (corset) and Fifi ain't talkin' either.  They just don't make dress forms the way they used to.  Do you think hate mail to Fifi will get her to spill the beans???

            Needle :)

      2. Ckbklady | | #11

        Great choice - you'll love the My Double. I used mine to make my wedding dress, and it was invaluable.

        Mine is called Auntie Sue, and she proudly stands in an old fuzzy bathrobe in our guestroom when she's not "working for me". The bathrobe keeps her from getting dusty, but it also makes her look quite cuddly! :)

        :) Mary

        1. nutsforneedles | | #12

          Hi Mary :)

          Thanks for your note and support.  My Double (aka Fifi) will be here on the 22nd and I can hardly wait.  I hope this works out...it's my first time with a dummy (other that dates of course).  I have a jacket waiting in the wings and will put the lining and jacket together when Fifi arrives.

          What should Fifi wear when not at work????


          1. Ckbklady | | #13

            Well, for starters, never call Fifi a dummy - she might tip over on you to express her displeasure, giggle!

            Fifi will express her personal taste and let you know what she wants to wear on her days off. Bathrobe and baseball cap? Evening dress and pearls? A just drycleaned business suit? A bikini? You'll find she loves dressing up!

            :) Mary

          2. nutsforneedles | | #14

            Hi Mary :)

            You are so right!  I hope Fifi didn't hear me....  She should be here next week and that will be WONDERFUL.  For now I'm keeping myself out of trouble with some purses I'm putting together.  Three of them..with Laurel Burch fabric.  Yummy stuff!  Also ordered a chenile jacket pattern from Nancy's Notions which looks like it will be fun to make up.


          3. Ckbklady | | #19

            Fifi will LOVE wearing the chenille jacket!

            :) Mary

          4. nutsforneedles | | #20

            Hi Mary :)

            Fifi is HERE!!  I picked her up yesterday and have her put together (I think) but I haven't made the adjustments to "my figure" yet.  Poor Fifi....she has such a cute little shape that I hate to do that to her but......hey Fifi...get over it!

            Two of my granddaughters are visiting right now (tomorrow we're designing pillowcases and sewing them up) so I won't get to Fifi probably until the weekend when I'll cause all sorts of havoc with her dials.  Oh boy!!

            Happy sewing to you!! :)



          5. MaryinColorado | | #23

            Hi ladies!  Thanks so much for the giggles!!!  Mine is Lola and she is such a tramp!  She is currently wearing a flesh colored lycra bodysuit, padded bra,  and a floppy hat and boa.

            I was trying to figure out how to cover her as she has been adjusted out so far that she has large openings in the sides.  I was going to "pad" the bodysuit  to make her more my size, which is a 12P in RTW but that varies due to small shoulders and fluffy center.  It is impossible to find a blouse to fit.

            I bought a size 16 sloper pattern from Vogue yesterday.  If I ever get that finished, I plan to make another to fit my body without "ease".  Then I am going to set Lola at a smaller size, wrap her with batting until the "snug sloper" fits her like a glove.  Then maybe she will be more cooperative for fitting purposes.  I learned about it here in the forum.

            I had a life sized bunny that was dressed up and moved around the house for years, maybe I'll do that with Lola if she decides to behave herself and get back to work.  If not, maybe she can go play with the trash collectors!  Mary

          6. nutsforneedles | | #24

            Hi Mary,

            Thanks for you input.  I have to tell you I'm very happy with Fifi.  I just finished a jacket (with her help) and it came out great.  I consider the jacket to be my first "real" wearable art piece.  Actually, it's a pant suit because I did pants to match and I used a lot of the funtions available with my sewing machine.  Decorative stitches, corded pintucks, couched rattail, machine embroidery, prarie points...wow!  Fifi is currently wearing this jacket.  She said she just couldn't give it up!  What a girl!!    I've made it a point not to mention Lola's outfit since Fifi is happy with the jacket.  That's all I need...hat shopping for Fifi!!  I do have a boa she could use however :)

            I have a 14 McCalls sloper but I haven't broken into it yet.  We have a "sloper group" that's getting together in September so I'm waiting for that.  I should learn a lot from the encounter.  I do think your idea about fitting Lola with the snug sloper is on the right track.  As I understand it, the sloper is a "basic" with no ease figured into it.  I think that's right...correct me if necessary :(  Then the sloper can be used to adjust other patterns that we buy.  I'm having fun with all of this...next project is a lap quilt.  No fitting!!  HA HA HA HA


          7. MaryinColorado | | #26

            Hi!  That sloper group sounds like a great idea!  I don't have any sewing buddies and with the grandkids back in school am already wondering what kind of mischief I can get into. 

            Lola said she is cold since we have had a few damp cooler days.  Maybe she will appreciate some padding by the time I get around to making her cover, after I make the sloper.  Let me know if you have any hints, I sure could use the input.  I have been wearing mostly RTW since the weight gain.  Allways had to make things smaller, it will be a major challenge to switch gears. 

            Did you ever notice all the words with "men" in them that are unpleasant?  Menopause, menstruation, dysmenorrhea, histerectomy,histerical, mania...tonight I think I will go to bed with MoeTrin and Ben Gay and kick ArthurItis out.  Too bad Jack Daniels is out for the night, he would be more fun.  I think he might have snuck out with FIFI........

          8. nutsforneedles | | #27


            I've counseled Fifi and she understands that she's NOT to go out at night with Jack D.  I think she understands...  Just because she has a nice new jacket, it doesn't mean she can be out of control!

            I am looking forward to meeting with my sloper group in a few more weeks.  I think I'll learn a lot and hopefully come away with a sloper I can use on garments.  I did buy a book that I'll use in conjunction with the sloper project.  It's called "Fit for Real People" by Pati Palmer & Marta Alto.  I've also picked up helpful information off the internet when I've just been "cruising".   Hope that helps. 

          9. MaryinColorado | | #28

            Thanks for the info on that book.  I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday, they don't have many sewing books anymore.  I think I'll try the library before ordering it online.  Good luck with FIFI! I bet she loves the new jacket!  Mary

          10. nutsforneedles | | #29

            Hi Mary,

            I did get that book through Barnes & Noble but they had to order it for me.  They don't usually stock that book but I did manage to get my grubby little hands on it anyway :)  I'm really looking forward to meeting with my "sloper group".  Several of the ladies have the designer software and have done their slopers through that system and are very happy with it.  I'll get more information on the software when I see them.  Hi tech at home.....whew!  Can I keep up????

          11. MaryinColorado | | #30

            I am on my way out the door....am anxiouse to hear about that softwear.  I have been wanting it for designing my own patterns.  That would be super!  Mary

          12. nutsforneedles | | #31


            I don't know much about the software but I'll have more information in a few weeks when I meet with the ladies that do have the software.  I can pick their brains so to speak.  So far I have the sense that it's better to get a more expensive software (of course...what luck) than the less expensive.  It just works better so just go with it...groan, moan and all the rest of it......

          13. User avater
            Becky-book | | #33

            I too found Barnes and Noble to be deficient in basic fitting books.  I ordered Fit for Real people from Create for Less in a spiral bound format (stays open to the page I want w/o hands)  wish I had purchased it 3 years ago!!


          14. nutsforneedles | | #35

            Becky...I like the spiral bound Fit for Real People deal.  Mine is not spiral...sob, sob...

          15. Dolly19 | | #83

            I just joined this discussion group a few minutes ago and thought that I would not have anything to say to anybody for months and months - at least. But I can't resist telling you about a tip I got from April Dunne, the serger expert concerning spiral bindings for favorite sewing books. You can take any book to Kinkos(and I guess Staples too) and have them cut the spine off and spiral bind it for you. The cut costs about $1.50 and the binding cost depends on the type of binding you select. If you choose the most expensive wire binding the complete job winds up costing around $6.00. If you select the plastic spiral that can be opened, you can take additional pages to the store anytime and ask that they be inserted in the book at the places you select. The only drawback is that you cannot readily spot the book on the shelf because the spine label is missing. I always ask for the return of the cut off spine label so that I can thread it through the spiral to view on the shelf. This works until you pull the book away from the shelf. Then it drops annoyingly to the floor. I bind my favorite books anyway.

          16. MaryinColorado | | #84

            Wow!  What are the odds that I would see your input so quickly?  Several of my favorite paperback sewing books are coming apart, now I will see if they can fix these for me.  Thank You so much! Welcome, and I am so glad you joined.  Mary

          17. lovemycottons | | #85

            I know a quilter who does this, except I believe she has 3 holes punched thru the pages. Then she puts the pages in a 3 ring binder. The spine of the book is inserted in the slot provided on the binder. With this method, she can pull out any page to make a copy of the pattern.

          18. MaryinColorado | | #36

            Thanks for the website!  I tried to order that book, I really like the idea of the spiral binding too.  I did several searches and was not able to find it there.  Maybe you got the last one?  I tried under Fit for Real People, Fitting, Palmer Pletch, sewing, books, etc.   No luck. Who is the publisher? 

            Is there shipping expensive?  Maybe the P.P. website has it.  Anyway, thanks again.  sew well, Mary


          19. MaryAnn | | #37

            Mary,  you can get any of the Palmer/Pletsch books through their website:  http://www.palmerpletsch.com

            By ordering from them you can specify which binding you want: spiral or flat.

            mary ann duff


          20. User avater
            Becky-book | | #38

            I did a Froogle search for the book and they directed me to Create for Less, maybe they don't stock it any more?

            Try a Froogle search and see what you get!


          21. User avater
            Becky-book | | #32


            I've been following this 'thread' (it's not exactly eavesdropping) so I thought I'd thank you for sharing your dress form saga with us.

            I hesitated to buy one 'cause my top is so much smaller than my bottom; but now I think I will get one and 'fix' it with padding (temporarily).  I sew for a few other people so all the work to make one just like me did not seem worth the effort. 

            When I took my measurements to re-confirm which form size to buy... well what do you know, my top is fatter too!!  I was planning to get a 'small' and pad the bottom; maybe I'll just get the medium and fiddle with the dials!

            Note on names:  we own a toy poodle (for allergy sake) and refused to name her Fifi, DD1 suggested "Phydoux" pronounced "Fido" the rest of the family refused, we named her Belorba and call her Orbie!

            Fit for Real People is a great book; just got mine a couple weeks ago!


          22. nutsforneedles | | #34

            Good one Becky...."following this thread"...  I think you'll be a happy camper with a dress form at least based on my experience.  The only problem I'm having with Fifi is that she won't give me my jacket back.  She is liking it waaaay too much!  When did I lose control???  I think the medium would be good for you.  I bought the small and it's working fine but I don't have any "room" to get bigger which is probably a good thing but I could get cranky about it.

            I had two toy poodles :)   Micro and Mini....how pathetic is that!!  But they were cute little girls and I do miss them.  We are too busy for pets right now but they are fun to have.  I always thought Viscous would be a cute name for a toy poodle or small dog.  But...hey...what's in a name??!!


          23. User avater
            Becky-book | | #39

            Dear Judy,

            Jo-Ann Fabrics has a dress form on sale now and a 10% off any purchase (even sale stuff) coupon so I hope to go shopping tomorrow, if the DH says OK to the $$$.

            I know it probably isn't the best form out there but is the one I might be able to afford (on sale!!)  If I ever make any money sewing for other people then I'll have $ to invest in better tools!


          24. nutsforneedles | | #40

            Hi Becky!

            Fifi is the form from Joann's and all seems to be well...other than she won't give me back my jacket...  She is the My Double Deluxe model that I can use for pants as well as tops, dresses, etc.  I thought I'd go for the gold.  I used my coupon for her and that does save some.  Let me know how your form works out :)  I'm still working on the lap quilt.


          25. User avater
            Becky-book | | #41

            Hey, what do you know I have a small-ish quilt in the works too!  It is from scraps of most of the history of my career as Mom, etc...

            Now about Fifi's attitude, have a nice heart to heart chat, promise her great usefulness in the future and just take your jacket back...she will get over it!

            Hubby is home, waiting for the pizza to go in oven... better run


          26. nutsforneedles | | #42

            Good on you for the quilt :)  Sounds like it will be not only interesting but an heirloom!

            Fifi has not given up the jacket :(  I've threatened her with 1-800-GUIDO and she continues on with the jacket.....  Some things in life are hopeless.  She says she can't wear the quilt so it's a deal breaker.  Oh boy!!

          27. User avater
            Becky-book | | #43

            The deed is done!

            I ordered the Red my double from JoAnn on Sat. for some reason the non deluxe form expands more on the bottom than the deluxe so I could order the small (and hope to loose some of this extra baggage)

            Now for a name.... Rosie maybe?


          28. nutsforneedles | | #45

            Good for you girl!  I'm so proud of you...sob, sob....  Yes, I think Rosie would be a great name given the fact that she's red.  Fifi is blue and Bluesie just didn't quite work with her.  HA!

            I've been sewing my fingers to the bone with this lap quilt but I'm ready to move on today to the sashing.  Yesterday I did all the machine embroidered squares and put borders on those squares.  The quilt will be quite wonderfu.  Yes I am very humble....

          29. Ckbklady | | #53

            Hi there!

            I am so happy to hear that Fifi arrived and went straight to work. The jacket sounds great - congrats!

            I wanted to mention to you that in my area, the chain store Pacific Fabrics carries the book "Fit for Real People". Their website is http://www.pacificfabrics.com. Of course, if you are not in the Pacific NW of the US, you may do better to order it from a local shop. You might also try placing a hold on the book at your local library to "test drive" it before ordering. I do that all the time (except with Threads books, which I buy sight unseen).

            :) Mary

          30. nutsforneedles | | #55

            Hi Mary!

            Yes, I have the "Fit for Real People" already and I'm looking forward to getting together with my "sloper" group in a couple of weeks.  They have the fancy software programs but I'll see what I can do with my sloper pattern and Fifi...if I can ever get the jacket off of her.

            The quilt I was working on will go to the long arm tomorrow!  Wow...am I hot or what!  What are you working on?


          31. Ckbklady | | #56

            What am I working on? Oooh, gosh - you really want to know?

            * Reupholstering a friend's rocking chair (drop-in seat and tab-hung back pillow). I am rebuilding the seat (coils have sprung) and adding another full thickness to the back pillow, and changing the color from a worn-out beige to a rich burgundy tapestry.

            * Making a purple silk velvet dress for a formal ball at the beginning of October (Vogue Pattern 7824).

            *Making a coordinating shawl from Scarves To Make by Linda Lee (Taunton, of course).

            *Making a new school bag (I'm a career-changer-way-too-old-for-college college lady) from Vogue 8053.

            *Making a dressy short coat for autumn and winter field trips at school (Butterick 4865) with a half-bolt of wool cashmere I have had for 20 years (I worked in a fabric store when I was in college the first time, eons ago).

            *Making a dressy suit for field trips and presentations from a 1990 Vogue Pattern (Anne Klein) 2502 from silk tweed I got for $2.50 a yard at JoAnn Fabrics' Founders Sale a couple of weeks ago.

            School starts back on the 20th, so I must pick up speed (or prioritize...) to get most of this done.

            I don't have the floor space to do quilts, but then again, maybe I could...I DO have all of the projects listed above crammed into our eat-in kitchen! They've pushed us out - we now eat in the dining room and I think it's perfectly fair - my husband's woodworking tools in the garage have done the same to the cars!

            :) Mary


          32. nutsforneedles | | #57

            Like...WOW Mary!!

            You make me look like I'm asleep at the switch...or machine...or something.  Actually, you need to know you've exceeded the "sticky method" which is what I use for this sort of thing.  This is how it works.  I have one of those little yellow stickies (Post It's) in my sewing room.  It's small so I'm limited in what I can write on it.  I list five (5) projects and DO NOTHING ELSE but those five projects.  That's how I have to do it to keep focused.  You have SIX projects that you've told me about (heaven knows how many your holding back on!!) and that exceeds the sticky limit by one.  :)  You'll need to cross something off your list!!   ha ha ha ha ha

            I'm going to have fun looking up your patterns numbers.  Thanks for including them for me!!


          33. Ckbklady | | #58


            Well, don't be too amazed. My dear husband will tell you that I will take forever to get all these done, there will always be thread snips all over the kitchen floor, that I will add another project to the list the millisecond I finish the next one, and that whichever half-dozen projects I leave unfinished when school resumes will sit untouched and utterly in the way until the Christmas break.

            If it's gum wrappers, it's mess. If it's fabric and pattern tissue and tape measures and pin cushions and and and...it's the creative process, right?

            I like your sticky note idea. Did you know that you can now buy them in 8 1/2" by 11" sheets? Giggle. ;)

            :) Mary

          34. nutsforneedles | | #59

            Hi Mary!

            I don't think I want to get into the 8 1/2 x 11 stickies.  Wow!  Would my head be a mess!! 

            I have a sewing room but, of course, that doesn't stop me from spreading all over the house.  Especially with the quilt stuff.  The "guest bedroom" is for scrapbooking so forget the guest thing.  They better not show up!  My husband does have his corner with his recliner and newspapers and magazines....see how good I am!!  And I said long ago that the kitchen should be converted to another sewing area.  That island has possibilities girl!!


          35. Ckbklady | | #52

            Hiya Mary in Colorado & Lola!

            I read a good suggestion in an old issue of Threads (where else?) last night. The reader took a pair of stockings (panty hose) and cut off the legs, split open the crotch and slid the resulting tube onto her dressform from waist to hip, and then padded it out to better resemble her own shape and size. You might take two or three sections of hose (waist to hip) and slide them over the batting onto Lola to fill in those gaps you mention. It might also be an improvement on Lola's current fashion choices! :)

            :) Mary in Seattle


      3. thehat | | #16

        thats cute  Iput a dress on mine and have her in my living room her name is headdie because of no head

    2. mygaley | | #5

      My dress form wears a long sleeved printed victorian style nightgown, with ribbons and laces.  Usually I don't remove it for fitting.  Galey

      1. anniebee1941 | | #9

        Hi Galey, Sounds cute! You should have seen the look on the mover's faces when they open the closet door and saw "Anniebelle" my dress form. "She" had on a bra and a short, silk kimono with a wild purple boa around her neck! No comments ... but the look on their faces ... PRICELESS!Annie

  2. thehat | | #15

    hi I love my twin fit

    1. 4shopping | | #17


      After reading your comments I was wondering if you would recommened a dress form for a part time sewer?  I have always wanted one but because I do not sew all the time I hesitate to buy one.  It sounds like you love yours.  Any advice.


      Thank you,


      1. mygaley | | #18

        I certainly recommend a dress form for a part-time sewer because it saves time.  You can fit your garment by yourself, you don't have to take it off and put it on endlessly, and like a croquis it keeps you from inventing the wheel over and over.  God bless you Galey

        1. ATMR | | #54

          I too am looking at purchasing a dress form and have been looking at the Twin Fit and My Double. I'm wondering however if it's possible to lengthen the back on either form. Does the back length on either form move or does it remain stationary while the bust, waist and hip can be changed?

          Thanks for your help. Any and all suggestions about this decision will be appreciated.

      2. thehat | | #22

        Ilike mine I don`t really do a lot of sewing but it really helps when I do  so when she is not doing anything she has o party dress on and stands in the sewing room.

        1. nutsforneedles | | #25


          Fifi is hard at work.  I finished my jacket (currently worn by Fifi) and it came out great.  I used Fifi for the "final fitting" after doing all the necessary adjustments and it was very helpful.  My next project is a lap quilt (no fitting...no Fifi) but then I'll get back to clothes and Fifi again.  She's in my sewing room right now and I think she likes it there :)   She better!!!

          1. thehat | | #44

            what color does fifi look good in  headed looks extremly good in red I am settin her aside for a while so I can work on a table runner  I have to get something done in a quilting fashion when you belong to an eating  oops a quilting club  I went to the Minn.state fair and they had a suit their that  I would like to make  red and black with a pepplion on the jacket part  that means I have to go shopping for the cloth  and pattern but the table runner first  nuts and leaves is what I call it  .

          2. nutsforneedles | | #46

            As for the best color for Fifi I think that depends on who you ask.  Fifi says she looks good in all the colors but I think that's more attitude than anything.

            The tablerunner thing sounds good.  I like to take a break from clothing occasionally and do some home dec.  It's good to give it a rest if you know what I mean.  I'm doing well on the lap quilt and hope to get it to a long arm by the end of the week.

            What is a papplion?  Never heard that term.  The jacket/suit you saw at the fair...is it from a commercial pattern (which one...number?)or something someone had designed?  Is your tablerunner (nuts and leaves..oh boy) from the Easy Does It series?  I did a nuts and leaves tablerunner from that series that I LOVED.  Did the butterflies and tulips as well.  Can we live long enough to do all the sewing we want to do?????  Oh Great Wise One?????

          3. User avater
            Becky-book | | #47

            Perhaps a "Peplum" ... a short skirt-like addition to the waist of a jacket or blouse.

            Must take dog to vet this AM so time is short, will be back tomorrow.


          4. nutsforneedles | | #48

            Yes...peplum...that's it.  I know what that is.  The quilt is almost done so I'd better search around for another project....gee, that will be hard to find!

            Hope doggy is ok.


          5. User avater
            Becky-book | | #49

            If you are at a loss for ideas...I have a few you can have! LOL!

            Really.... check out http://www.theshipsproject.com  for things to make for our men (& women) at sea.

            Doggie is fine, just her yearly check and shots, vet wants her to have dental cleaning -$$$; I think we will just buy more Dental cleaning treats for her!


          6. nutsforneedles | | #50

            Wow Becky...been busy today getting ready for an origami purse class our sewing group is doing.  Fliers, setting up class time, copy of supply lists, etc.  Workin' my fingers to the bone girl!

            Tomorrow I'll get fabric I need for the back of my lap quilt.  Help me with this.  Why do we have so much fabric but never seem to have just what we need.  I don't get it.....


          7. MaryinColorado | | #51

            Thanks for the website, what a nice way to support our troops.  I will pass that along to others, maybe a scout troop or classroom will pick up on these ideas...a friend of my son's was just here Sunday, he leaves soon for his fourth tour to Iraq!  They are strong brave young people and have to sacrifice so much for our country.  Mary

        2. momcat50 | | #86

          Does anyone know of and use a dressform that has collapsible shoulders? Any comments on it? I have had trouble in the past getting some items of clothing onto my $5. garage sale dressform because of its rigid shoulders. This is primarily tops or dresses with a zipper. This $5. form goes up to about a size 14, and I use it to work on clothing for others.    I have been trying to decide which type of form to purchase for my own current PLUS size of 18-20. I think there is one style that one can use for not only tops and dresses but slacks. I just don't know much about the options out there for PLUS size forms. Collapsible shoulders sound like a good thing, but maybe there are drawbacks? Also: in slacks I wear a 20 plus PETITE, how adjustable is the rise on the form that also fits slacks? I do think a form would make finishing work look nicer when done.

          1. lovemycottons | | #87

            Threads did an article on dressforms not too long ago. It is in issue 123 Feb/March 2006.

          2. jjgg | | #88

            collapsible shoulders usually come on professionsal dress forms and they (the dress forms) are not adjustable at all.

          3. momcat50 | | #89

            jjgg - I had never thought about the rest of the form not being adjustable. Good point!                                                      Since writing the question, I asked myself exactly what that I would make for myself would require the collapsing shoulder. I am more apt to make something that buttons, rather than zips, for a top piece of clothing of any kind. So, I decided the shoulder is not an issue I should worry about. What I do need to find is a form that fits plus sizes 16 -20, if that even exists. I got another email reminding me of a Threads article on dressforms, so I am going to re-read that and see what choices are out there.      You are right about adjustability. That to me is more critical than the shoulder!

            Thanks for the help.


          4. jjgg | | #90

            Sew News had an article recently that was very good on doing a 'duct tape double' with the brown tape., but other than that, if you can't find a dress form that fits right, get one a little smaller, padd it with polyester quilt batting, put one of your bras (stuffed) on it, and but a snug leotard over it - this will hold in the batting and allow you to 'shape' it to your dimenstions. One of the biggest issues though is getting the shoulder to bust point length correct, the shoulder slope and the waist length. they are hard to alter and adjust to your shape.Now, it also depends on just what you want the dress form for - is it fitting for yourself? its hard to really get an exact duplicate esp if you have fitting issues. If its just to have the dress/garment hang so you can do some work on it, then exact fit is not necessary.For better fitting issues, I reccomend drafting a sloper from your measurements and using that to adjust the pattern - this fixes the shoulder slope, bust point height etc (I teach this in a class) if you are at all 'drafting' inclined, there are very easy instructions at
            http://vintagesewing.info/1940s/42-mpd/mpd-02.htmlI like this draft the best out of all the ones I've tested, it gives the best fit - there is no ease allowed in the draft so it should be very snug - and its also one of the easiest drafts directions wise I've seen. The problem is then how to use it to alter the pattern.

    2. nutsforneedles | | #21

      Hi thehat!

      Thanks for the input.  I just picked up my dress form (Fifi) yesterday and won't get to turn her dials until this weekend but I'm looking forward to it.  I have a jacket I need to fit so I'm ready to go...almost. :)

  3. thimbles1260 | | #60

    All this talk and humor over dress forms has me wanting one too!  They are a fairly substantial investment though, so I have a few questions first:  What is a sloper?  Do you have to make one?  Do you fit it to yourself or the dress form?  Why do you need it?  What do you do with it when it's finished?

    1. nutsforneedles | | #61

      Hi Thimbles...

      You are so right.  We are totally out of control at this point.  There might be something in the needles that's making us nuts...

      A sloper is a basic pattern from which other patterns are designed.  McCalls and Vogue have a sloper pattern but it's a special order.  The sloper pattern is not a multisized and you go by your bust and high bust measurement.  There hardly any ease in the sloper and nothing a real person would wear but it's a jumping off point to fix fitting problems and adjust patterns.  The pattern itself is a dress with a waistline, darts, jewel neckline and so on.  I will use Fifi (my dress form) to help me with the fitting and I'm also getting together with several of the sewers in my ASG group that have formed a little ad hoc sloper pod so to speak (sew to speak)...and they will help me with the fitting as well.  Soooooo when I have this sloper I will be able to determine where I need to make adjustments for all other patterns that I use.  For example, I am swayback to a certain degree (otherwise a perfect figure of course).  By correcting for this in my sloper I can correct this in other patterns easily and be good to go.  In other words, the swayback alteration will need to be corrected in all other patterns...unless it miracuously goes away..ha!  Simply said, the sloper is a template that can be placed on another pattern so that adjustments can be made to the new pattern.   Do you need a sloper?  No, but I think it will help :)

      1. thimbles1260 | | #62

        Thank you for the great information!  I went to my local JoAnn's to get my dress form but....no luck.  They didn't have the size I need.  That may be a blessing as I am still not sure of how important the back waist measurement is in using a form.  The form I selected meets all of my measurements pretty much in the middle range except for the back waist.  I am very long in the body and the extended form will still be 2 inches short.   Comments or suggestions welcome!  I could still order my dress form at the sale price.  I have until Thursday to decide.

        1. nutsforneedles | | #63


          I checked out Fifi's waist to see what was going on with her.  Fifi is a My Double Deluxe from Joann's.  There is a space between the top half and bottom half but it's not clear as to how to make that adjustment in the book that came with Fifi.  I would go back to Joann's and ask if that adjustment can be made and, if so, how.  You might want to measure their Fifi to see how close that measurement is to you.  My next suggestion would be to simply make that particular adjustment on your pattern.  The patterns can be lengthened just above the waist and in the high bust area depending on what's going on with the armhole.  "Fit for Real People" talks about that adjustment along with a gazillion other adjustments.  I think I would be tempted to order the form since it's only that one measurement and it looks like it's pretty easy to handle but I've not worked with it either so don't know where all the bodies are buried so to speak.

          Let me know how it works out :)


        2. User avater
          Becky-book | | #64

          If I understand correctly, the back waist measurement would effect where the waist falls with respect to the base of the neck. 

          Do you always find that you need to lengthen a pattern in the bodice to get a dress to fit at your waist?  If the dress form is 2'' off, and you made a dress to fit 'her' it would not fall right at your waist.  If you add 2'' pads to the shoulders of the form, would the bust points be off? or would that be helpful (due to the gravity effect )?

          My dress form has not yet arrived so I do not speak from experience!!!


          1. thimbles1260 | | #65

            This is all getting very confusing.  I visited with another sewing friend too who said her dress form has not fit her properly for years......since her anatomy started moving south, if you're old enough to know what I mean.  LOL  Anyway, I'm beginning to think that I may go back to the "make your own dress form" idea from the Sew News magazine last month.  Hmmmm!  Decisions, decisions, decisions!

          2. lovemycottons | | #66

            I am glad I read this thread because I have been wanting to buy a dressform for awhile. I have cut back on my sewing because I just do too much, but I still occassionally sew. So I do not need a fancy dressform. I have been looking at the My Double Deluxe Dressform.

            My problem is in the measurements. I am at the low end of the measurement scale for the bust, waist, and the back waist is ok. But the hips are 1/2 inch too small. Can I work with that? I don't think it comes in and x-small size.

          3. MaryinColorado | | #67

            You can pad the hips.  I would avoid getting one that is too small.  When I bought mine, the petite would have been perfect but the salesclerk talked me into the next size.  I am so glad that she did!  Now the small is opened out all the way in order to fit my "mature" fluffy size.  I plan to move the settings to a smaller size and pad a cover for "Lola".  It has been inconvenient to deal with the openings on the side when she is opened out this far. Either that or give my current one to my DIL and buy a new one.....hmmm....the lazy imp inside me is encouraging the latter.... Mary

          4. lovemycottons | | #69

            I am so sorry. I typed in the wrong info. I meant the reverse.

            The 'my double deluxe dressform', size small, measurements are ok for my bust, waist, and back waist length but the hips are 1/2" too large (not small). The smallest hip measurement is 36 on the dressform and my hips are 35 1/2".

            I guess my question is - Is that 1/2" going to make a huge difference?

          5. MaryinColorado | | #70

            Sounds like the perfect  size to me.  In my humble opinion the hips are the easiest adjustment, the rest of them seem much more complex to me.  Also I would consider your age bracket I guess.  I was shocked at first when the clerk suggested a larger size as I already had one child and couldn't believe I would ever get any bigger.  Boy was I wrong....lol

            You will probably want some wearing ease in the hip area anyway.  When you sit down your measurements are a bit larger than when standing up.  Try measuring your hips while sitting down.  Hope this helps....Mary

          6. lovemycottons | | #71


            Your input has been very helpful. You sort of confirmed my idea that the wearing ease would off set that 1/2".

            And as I am close to the age of menopause, I probably will need the larger hip sizes sooner or later. Didn't think of that. LOL

            I think I may purchase the My Double Deluxe dressform. I can't right now but I started a savings fund for items I want to buy so I am going to add the dressform to it.

            Edited 9/14/2006 9:46 am ET by lovemycottons

          7. thehat | | #81

            good girl

          8. nutsforneedles | | #72

            Hi Becky and yes, the waist/neck measurement deals with where your waist will fall in the garment.  That's an adjustment I don't seem to need to make.  I have a swayback issue so in the back of pants, for example, the waist will stand out away from my body which is not the look I'm going for.  If I have either all elastic or just elastic in the back it's not a problem but if I want a regular waistline then I have to adjust for the swayback thing.  Other than that, my figure is perfect of course.  I would think that if your dress form is off, then your garment would reflect that.  If you add to the shoulders by using 2" pads that could throw the darts off.  I have not done that but if you pull the garment up to accommodate the 2" it would bring the darts up as well....if I am understanding you. 

            I'm thinking about the PatternMaster softwear to draft patterns.  Do you (or anyone) know anything about that???


          9. User avater
            Becky-book | | #73

            Sorry, I can't help with the computer pattern stuff, I do mine by hand.

            The 2'' shoulder pad thing was just an idea for a very long waisted body to fit just the skirt on a dress form that is too short. more trouble than its worth! HA

            My middle daughter is sway backed. I gave up trying to make pants for her, but that was before I got my copy of Fit for Real People, and she doesn't live here now. She buys her own clothes now!

            Happy sewing,


          10. nutsforneedles | | #74

            Ideas are good Beck!  In fact, every now and then one of mine work out!!

            I've moved on to my moose jacket using log cabin squares and machine embroidered moose.  It will be a thing of true beauty!  I'll plop the squares, etc. on some fleece and bind the edges.  And there you have it! 

            Still thinkin' about that PatternMaster software.  If anyone out there in cyberspace has used it, let me know what you think.  I'd appreciate it.


          11. User avater
            Becky-book | | #75

            Dear Judy,

            If nobody has a current opinion on the idea of pattern software, there are a few old discussions you could look at (Advanced Search for 'PatternMaster software' or some other key words and see what you get).

            Still waiting for 'Rosie' to arrive!

            The Moose Jacket sounds wonderful; here in the south we rarely need much of a jacket (maybe twice a winter!) I get by with a nice warm sweater most of the time!

            Happy sewing,


          12. nutsforneedles | | #78

            Hi Becky,

            I think I'm going to take the plunge and get the PatternMaster software.  Oh boy!!  I did check the "old discussions" as you suggested for information but didn't find too much.  Several of my ASG friends have that software and like it very much.  They said they'd help me with my measurements, etc. That should take a few weeks!

            Yes, I'm in Vegas and we don't need warm clothes so when I do jackets I keep it light.  This moose jacket will be log cabin squares applied to fleece...not very heavy but "creative". 


          13. MaryinColorado | | #76

            That sounds darling, hope you will post photos when you are done. 

            I did our bathroom in moose several years ago.  Embroidered them on toilet seat cover, tp holder, towels, kleenex box, shower curtain etc.  My son's teenage friends loved it and bought me little knick knacks with moose, cabins, bears, etc.  It was really cute.  Mary

          14. nutsforneedles | | #77

            Hi Mary :)

            I can't believe I've found another moose fan!!  Our bedroom is decorated in moose.  My husband is thrilled of course.  Any why wouldn't he be!!  I have a CD from Cactus Punch that's filled with the moose guys and they are so cute.  I used them to do our bedspread.


        3. Tangent | | #68

          How is the dress form fastened together on the inside?  Would it be possible to have substitute vertical braces made, that will lengthen its body at the waist by 2 or 3 inches? Do you know anyone who is 'mechanically minded', who maybe works for an auto-body shop, or is just creative at inventing things?  Maybe this is a good challenge for the high school sheet-metal class?

          With the body lengthened, you could cover the gap with pieces of light cereal-box type cardboard, (attached with Duct Tape, of course), and a bit of padding to smooth out the shape, then a fitted cloth cover (or a corset?) to make a nice finish.

          Edited 9/13/2006 5:09 pm by Tangent

          1. thehat | | #80

            it is just a thought you could put heavy pellon the knd I use to make hats with to make the middle longer

        4. Fruzzle | | #79

          I just bought the My Double. The back waist is extendible up to 16.5??  17?? inches, I think (but if you check the website, you can see the specs for sure). That's the measurement from the waistline to the bottom of the nape of the neck.

          However. When you extend the back waist, you basically slide the top half of the torso (above the waist) upwards. What that means is that you can extend the distance from the waistline to the bust point easily, but if you want to extend the distance from the bustline to the shoulders, you have to pad the shoulders.

          1. thimbles1260 | | #82

            That is great information to have!  Thank you!

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