As any woman who has ever had a baby can tell you, our bodies are not rubber bands, and they don’t bounce back right away. It’s almost funny (almost) how many men seem to really think that: enter hospital pregnant, have baby, leave hospital in pre-pregnancy clothes. If only.
Five months ago, we brought home our fourth baby. And five months later, I’m still not wearing my pre-pregnancy size. It’s not that I think I’m fat–mostly, I’m struggling to fit into clothes that I really like, and I feel super bummed that nothing in my closet flatters me right now. I know that all those fashion reality shows tell us to buy clothes for the body we have today and not the body we hope to have when we’ve lost the weight we’re planning to lose–and I think the philosophy is sound, that we’ll be more motivated to watch what we eat and exercise if we feel pretty and confident in our clothes–but if you sew your own clothing, that’s sort of a huge commitment, making a whole new temporary wardrobe. Not to mention that I’ve hoarded some of these fabrics forever, and I’d rather not use them up on things that may or may not fit me a year from now.
So right now, I’ve been working with a lot of knits, things that I have some hope of fitting into now and that will fit me again later, after nursing is done and I’ve had a chance to get running again. But I kinda feel as though I’m not using my time wisely: I could totally be working on long-term projects that will be investment pieces later, especially with all the fabulous wools I’ve got stashed away and fall coming fast. If only I had a double of me, a copy of my body the way it was/will be, someone to model the projects I’m sewing when I can’t…
Enter: the Dress Form. I think for a lot of folks who are new to sewing, this can seem like the official Badge of Sewmanship, the iconic piece of equipment that marks you as One Who Sews. For me, it’s more like the Holy Grail, and I’ve been wanting to get one for aaaages. But never quite knew which one to get. I’ve done the Duct Tape Dress Dummy before, but it was killed in the Great Flood that ate my basement, and I think if I’m going to the trouble, I’ll just pop for the real deal this time.
So today, a round-up of the candidates as I narrow down my search and get ready to commit to a dress form. Because I have big plans, I tell you, and I want the right lady friend to put them on.
- Rae inspired me to look at Uniquely You, a dress form I’d heard of previously and whose adaptable sizing makes it my front-runner. It’s a foam form that comes with a heavy-duty cover that you stitch to your exact measurements, making it totally personalizable.
- Amanda of Amanda’s Adventures in Sewing put out a call to ask for advice and got this link back from her readers: Andy’s Dress Forms. I’m pretty sure this is the one we see in all her posts, and while it wasn’t cheap, it looks to be a very high quality custom dress form. I also really like that these are available in a number of body types, and don’t assume we’re all shaped the same.
- PMG Dress Form has professional-quality dress forms like we see on Project Runway–they’re also pricey, but they’re amazing and look just like what we’d hope to have and show off. Plus, if you give up sewing, you can use it as decor, they’re so pretty.
- Threads and Sew Stylish magazines recommend the Fabulous Fit form, which comes in all number of configurations and is also of professional quality. I don’t know much about these, but can certainly see the appeal of a form that fits both tops/dresses and pants.
- If you’d prefer an adjustable form, the go-to brand has always been Dritz. These allow you to adjust bust, waist, and hip independently and are invaluable if you have or are losing a lot of weight and want to continue to sew through that transition.
- Singer also makes an adjustable form that’s similar in style and quality to the Dritz.
- And finally, if you happen to have piles of change burning a hole in your pocket, most folks agree that Wolf forms are the tops in the industry. I’m not sure what puts them at double the price point, but I have it on good authority from those who have one that they’re worth the extra dough.
On the whole, these dress forms range from $99 up to $750, with most falling in the $200-$300 range. It’s almost certainly a birthday/Christmas/Valentine’s Day combo gift for most of us–the kind of thing that you swear up and down if you get it you won’t expect a single other present the WHOLE YEAR. And you mean it.
For myself, I’m still on the fence. I think I’d like to lose the ten-ish pounds I’m still feeling not that great about, and then spring for one of these bad boys. Until then, I’m enjoying some window shopping, and imagining how much more productive I’ll be once I have my very own double in the studio.