Uniquely Me

9 Mar

Thinking about The New Butterick Dressmaker‘s formula for making a dress form (“on which you can try your clothes as you make them”), I found two commercially available dressmaker’s dummies that function this way, today. One is the “Fabulous Fit”, where one starts with a smaller-sized dress form and builds it up with “contoured pads” (which beats 1927’s “tissue paper, cotton rags, or wadding”, in my opinion). The other is the “Uniquely You”, which has two components, a polyurethane foam body that comes in various sizes, and then a canvas cover, much like the 1927 Butterick guide’s “close-fitting lining reaching down to the hips, cut from unbleached muslin, natural-colored linen, duck or similar material of firm, strong quality so that it will not stretch.”  Basically, just like in the 1927, the “Uniquely You” has you fit this linen lining very closely to your body, and then pull it over the foam base, where instead of wadding and rags, the pressure of the foam fills it out. The “Fabulous Fit” does much the same thing, with their own patented contours.
Either way, one results with a form the same shape and dimensions of your body, and either way, it sounds like the system has been helpfully standardized for the modern era. The Fabulous Fit is available in sizes up to a 43 1/2″ hip, where the Uniquely You is in sizes up to 51″.   Since there is also a considerable cost difference between the two, I went with the “Uniquely You” for my first trial at a custom-fitted dress form.

It arrived very quickly!  I’ve read about the…um, supremely curvacious form of these foam bodies, before squishing into their canvas linings, and I was looking forward to checking it out in person.  Happily, shipping was incredibly fast, and my “mini-me” did not disappoint.

Er, wait, it’s full sized…so I can’t call it a “mini-me”. “Headless, armless me” perhaps?   The feminine, limbless but soon-to-be-well-dressed body that has begun occupying my sewing room. It probably needs a name.

Customizing it is a quite interesting project in its own right. The instructions warn that the fitting process is quite different from fitting a regular garment, so follow the instructions “no matter how much experience you have had as a dressmaker.” I’m okay with starting from basic steps, so I think this might become quite fun.

Just for fun, I tried on the canvas lining to get an idea of how much customization I’ll have to do.

Uh, a fair bit, particularly in the top front, I’d say.

But beyond that, I think the potential is good, overall.

And I admit it’s a fun thing just for goofing-around. (There just may have been some really silly photos in this batch, perhaps.) Also, now if I don’t want to pose in my sweaters for my Ravelry photos, I’ll have something else to use that will show off the shape and fit of my knitted items, even on those days when I don’t feel like personally making a photographic appearance.

The foam part with no lining on it is really not very representative of what the dress form is meant to be, however. This is what it looks like, with its canvas “waist lining” zipped onto it, in its natural state, before the canvas form has gone through any measuring or customization:

It’s perfectly pinnable, and the cover is washable. It gets marked on, as well, though, so that key measurements (like the actual waistline) are the same for all one’s projects.  I’ll let you know what becomes of this!

7 Responses to “Uniquely Me”

  1. Arlene March 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    I envy you. I couldn’t afford it, so duct taped myself. Yes, myself. Then used spray foam insulation, cut off the duct tape, made a cover for it….and yay…it is my exact measurements. I had to slice a bit off actually, but I think I have it down. Don’t know how long it will last, so I hope to one day get a “real” one as well. Have fun with yours!

    • handmadejulie March 10, 2012 at 9:01 am #

      I did a duct-tape one, too! It’s hanging in my guest room closet, like a giant silver headless mummy. The problem is that it’s decidedly bigger than I am (an old tee-shirt plus layers of duct tape builds up to an inch or so in all directions) plus it’s misshapen–I couldn’t get it stuffed tight enough, so it collapses whenever pressed. (So…make that a giant, silver, headless, one-breasted mummy!)

      • Arlene March 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

        Oh, mine was bigger too, until…I filled it with expandable foam, then sliced off the tape and the tee shirt. Once I did that, the “foam” dummy was so close to my size, I had to shave a bit off in places, but now, it is just right :).
        I do get a kick out of those pointy boobs on yours though. 🙂

        • handmadejulie March 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

          Ah! That’s very smart.

          I saw a commercial one available where you take a cast of your body and then fill it with foam. Your DIY version sounds just as good–I wish I’d thought of that!

  2. Kit March 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

    I am fascinated by how much that looks like you!!! I did a google search to learn more about the forms and found this hilarious post: http://www.dorje.com/netstuff/jokes/dummy.from.hell

    • handmadejulie March 10, 2012 at 9:11 am #

      Ha! Yes, that was one of the first things I’d read about them, too…and gave me a bit of extra relief when mine arrived at my doorstep with both breasts decidedly INSIDE the box!

      (They are pretty spectacular breasts, though. The potential to be mistaken for a sex toy by delivery truck drivers…I do see it.)

  3. alethiea taylor March 12, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    I thoroughly enjoyed the hilarious post about the oversized dummy and UPS! Hope to have my own custom fit dress form one day too.

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