Uniquely You Dress Form Review & Comparison

Sorry for the lack of posting this week, I came down with a cold and spent the last few days under a heap of snotty tissues. But today i’m feeling much better, so I decided to write up something that is long overdue – a dress form review. I recently made the cover for my Uniquely You dress form and thought it would be a fun thing to post about/review!

A Uniquely You dress form is a body form made from soft foam. When you buy one you also purchase a cover, which you alter to tightly fit your body. When the cover is put over the foam it conforms to the shape of the cover and you have a body double! Or that’s the claim.

Since it is made from foam and cotton it is a pinnable form. You do not have to worry about stiff plastic (adjustable forms) or sticky pins (tape forms). It’s also pretty affordable as far as dress forms go, the total cost was under $200 which is half the cost of a professional form.

The major appeal to me was the flexibility of the foam. Since it squishes (similar to how a body does) you can dress it in foundation garments and it will change shape. Then you can fit and drape overtop of tudor bodies, stays, or corsets, which is really great!

Overall I have mixed feelings, which I will go over in this post. This will also show the process of fitting the cover, and at the end i’ll compare it to my other dress form.

I bought a dress form in the size “Small” and a cover in the size “4” from this site.

Here is the size chart from the website. My measurements are 38″ (bust) 28″ (waist) 38″ (hips). I feel like I made the right decision size wise, but the dress form is at least two inches larger than the maximum listed size and will not compress to the smallest listed size.

I used a measuring tape and pulled as tightly as I possibly could and the form would not go below twenty six inches in the waist and thirty five inches in the bust.

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 6.20.29 PM

The form itself arrived in a big box and seemed to be in good shape!


tumblr_nh7m8r8Q6U1qlijqyo2_1280In addition to the form, I also found a metal stand, cotton cover, and instructions in the box. There are very detailed instructions on how to fit the cover which I ended up ignoring completely. I didn’t use their fitting method, nor did I use the help of someone else…oops


 This is the cover inside out – it has large seam allowances that range from 3/4″ to 1″ depending on the location.


 And right side out.


My first attempt at trying the cover on didn’t go so well. I’m pretty sure it’s made for someone who has 32″ hips because there was a good six inches of gaping between my waist and hem, with no hope of zipping it closed! But I had prepared myself for this before purchasing and was fully expecting to add gussets at the hips.

If I ignored the fact my rear was hanging out, the fit was really pretty good. That is why I chose to ignore the instructions, I felt all the steps were unnecessary when it already fit quite well.

Photo on 3-29-15 at 3.19 PM

 I ripped out the side seams (from the waist down) and started fitting it by pinning the bust seams, underbust, and waist.

Photo on 3-29-15 at 3.35 PM

 I found leaving the hips unfitted during this process really annoying. So I removed the side back seams from the waist down. I tapered the ends into the waist but let both seams out by a good inch, leaving me with 1/4″ seams on each side. I put the cover on again and pinned the side seams all the way down to the hem.

I managed to get six inches out of the four seams, which meant I didn’t need to add gussets! Yay!

Photo on 3-29-15 at 4.03 PM #4

I was pleased with that, so I used chalk to draw the new side seam, then removed the pins and sewed up the sides.

Photo on 3-29-15 at 4.23 PM

With the side seams fitted I continued on! The bust seams got taken in and I lowered the waistline. The final step was taking in the shoulders by a quarter inch.

That finished the cover – I was really pleased with it! Especially because I didn’t follow the instructions. It only took two hours and I managed to do all the pinning/fitting without help.

But the process was far from over. I decided to carve down the foam at waist because I wanted to use corsets on this form that cinch down to twenty four inches. I also carved down the bust.

I wasn’t using a very sharp knife so it’s a bit…lumpy haha, but good enough!


Getting the cover onto the form requires three hands, two to pull the edges together and another to pull the zipper down. But with two people it ended up being pretty easy, even though there was a lot of tension. Unfortunately I still wasn’t done.

The form had my measurements, which is good. On the not so good side, the bust was way too big. Instead of the cover pushing them up/in, it spread the bust out and pushed them down. So it wasn’t very similar to my shape at all.


I removed the cover and trimmed a lot more foam…still not quite right, and much lumpier, but it’ll have to do!


Here is the finished form. I’m happy with how it turned out considering the issues with the forms shape, but it isn’t the most brilliant thing ever.




I also wanted to show that the Uniquely You dress form has a very wide front silhouette and a slim profile. Unless you pad the form, there is no way to change this. For example, my other dress form (on right) has the same waist measurement but looks much larger from side, and smaller from the front.

Because the Uniquely You dress form has a completely flat front, AND the foam doesn’t redistribute itself (it just presses inwards at the sides) there is no way to change this without adding padding to the front. If this matches your shape that’s great, but it doesn’t match mine!



Overall Thoughts: I think there are some major flaws with the design. The form you receive is a block with boobs, seriously. It’s a rectangle with giant breasts. There isn’t anything wrong with that shape, but it isn’t a shape most people have. And it’s very difficult to compress the form into a shape other than the one it naturally has. It’ll take some carving to create a prominent waist or smaller bust, even if the form cover fits you correctly.

Because of that I would not recommend this form to people who are curvy below the waist. If you have a smaller waist, bigger hips, or a small bust it isn’t going to work for you right out of the box…at least it didn’t for me! Which sort of defeats the purpose of having a flexible form.

I also wouldn’t recommend it to people who have a larger profile (or carry any weight in your stomach) because the flat front doesn’t lend itself well to that.

It also will not squish down to the smallest size they advertise. Which I think is pretty terrible, the size chart needs some updating in my opinion!

And the stand is really terrible, the form doesn’t stay up and after fiddling with it for a few minutes the plastic ring cracked.

On the positive! This is a really neat idea. It will definitely work for the reason I purchased it, since I can layer stays and other foundation garments over it. Having a form with a historically accurate shape will be incredibly useful for drafting and fitting a couple future projects, as well as displaying them.

However I do not feel this is an accurate double of my body, and I don’t think it’s a good stand in for a professional dress form. Unless you will be changing the shape of the form (with foundation garments) I think you are better off buying a hard foam form and padding it to your shape.

How does it compare to my other dress form?: My other dress form is a display form, which I purchased from here. It’s made from hard foam and has a cotton jersey cover. It shipped really quickly, is cheaper, and has a much stronger/better build than the Uniquely You form.

Since it is a display form it doesn’t have a prominent bust or butt, nor does it have natural looking curves. It takes padding to get the shape more accurate to a human body.

I’ve had this form for over two years, and I love it. It matches my measurements pretty well and is really easy to drape on. It isn’t the quality of a professional form, but it’s worked out really well for me and my needs.

It has a very different function than the Uniquely You form, so i’m glad I have both. But if I had to pick one, I would go for the display form!

Other dress form options: (I have no personal experience with) 

Duct Tape Forms

3D Printed Forms

Professional Forms

Adjustable Forms (hard shelled) 

Thanks for reading! A “The making of” post should be up at the start of next week!

22 thoughts on “Uniquely You Dress Form Review & Comparison

  1. sthlivingincolor says:

    Thanks for such a thorough and comprehensive review! I’ve been thinking about getting a dress form, but this one is definitely out for me, as I tend to carry weight in my abdomen. So thank you for the very helpful information.

  2. Colleen says:

    I have one of these and I am bigger in the stomach. I just used stuffing to fill out the areas that the form didn’t have. I also had problems with the breast size, but a good trim solved the issues. I’ve had mine for years. It is kind of shocking right out the box.

  3. Colleen says:

    I have a display form and I customized it using this product: http://www.amazon.com/Fabulous-Fit-Dress-Forms-PFS-1/dp/B004DYF0EK/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8. I left a detailed review on 1/17/14 and overall have been happy with the results, especially for the low cost. I think no matter what system you use, you have to customize it. There’s just no way to recreate all the curves and ‘squishiness’ of a human body. Love your blog, by the way. You’re inspiring me to explore drafting from scratch vs. using a store-bought pattern (which never fit me right anyway).

    • Angela Clayton says:

      That looks really neat! I did some digging around before purchasing my dress forms and never came across that option, I wonder why? It seems like it would work better than the Uniquely You form. I agree with you completely, there is to much variation in body shape for anything to be an exact match. I think I had too high of expectations for the UY one – they seem so perfect in theory.

      Thank you – i’m glad you are enjoying it!

  4. Charity says:

    This was a really helpful review! Thanks to you, I know I’m not interested in this particular dress form.Those 3-D printed ones look awesome though, if I lived in DC and could afford one!

    • Angela Clayton says:

      Thank you! I’m sorry it won’t work for you, they are really great in theory haha. Yeah they do! Though they look a bit lumpy and for that price i’d probably want perfection. But it’s such an amazing idea.

  5. Maria says:

    Sanding down the carved bits might help with the lumpiness, depending how well the foam responds to sanding, but it might be worth a try?

    • Angela Clayton says:

      I don’t think sandpaper would work (like trying to sculpt a mattress) but my dad has metal woodworking files in a bunch of sizes, which might work! I’ll have to give that a try, thank you for the suggestion!

  6. Mads (lifeinamadshouse) says:

    Thank you for this honest review. I’ve been thinking about one of these forms, but was always worried it wouldn’t match me even after I did all that work on the cover. Your experience was really helpful in pointing out certain things that I wouldn’t have known until I bought one (like the profile, which actually does correspond to how I’m built, but it’s great to know that beforehand). I’m sorry that the form didn’t meet your expectations–that’s always so disappointing with something that’s such an investment of time and $$!

  7. drakeca89 says:

    Hello, I just found you and I am so impressed my god do you have talent for having sewn for so short a time! I will have to ask questions when they come up with my projects. Speaking of which have you seen any male dress forms in your research for this? I have only found one. Thanks for any help and truly fantastic work!

    • Angela Clayton says:

      Thank you! A few of the sites linked (the one I purchased the uniquely you form from, and the one that sells professional dress forms) both sell male dress forms. Unfortunately they are mostly professional forms and don’t have a large variety of sizes. I think companies assume there are less men interested in sewing, and thus there are fewer options in the price range for hobbyists. I hope you can find something!

      • drakeca89 says:

        Thanks this should help I’ll take a look at least I’ll have something to choose from

      • drakeca89 says:

        Hi I had a question. You have a staggering amount of views for your blog. I noticed you have both a youtube account and pinterest. I wanted to ask about pinterest. How many people follow you on there and how much spill over do you think you have to your blog bc of it. I need to get the word out about my buissness to alot more people if I ever want it to catch on or to have a successful crowdfunding campaign. So I guess I am asking how did you get that many views????? Any help or advice would be very appreciated.

  8. SunnyJIm says:

    I’ve tried the duct tape form three times, with very poor results. The worst thing, in my opinion, was that the firmly-stuffed duct tape dummy stretched out, and actually got larger over time. Shirts that fit on it snugly when it was made would no longer button at all a month later. (I could see the dirty lines where the tape had spread apart and left sticky residue, which got lint and dust on it. The other big problem is the sticky goo left on pins.

    If you are going to go the DIY route, here are a few tips: I’ve heard that “Paper Tape” is the stuff to use. I’ve been unable to find it in stores recently, but we’re talking about the brown stuff that has dry adhesive you have to wet on one side. In a way, you’re almost paper-mache-ing yourself.

    Also, get two t-shirts. Cut the sleeves off one, and pull that down over your neck like a turtleneck – that way, you can apply the tape up higher on the neck and get that neck measurement in properly. I use the other spare sleeve to cap the top of the neck, and the body of the spare shirt to make a bottom of the form.

    And finally, don’t forget to draw some big X’s down the center back (or wherever you want to cut your escape route) in sharpie or a contrasting color of tape, so you can line it back up properly.

    I’m currently using an adjustable form, which I love. I change size periodically, and can adjust the gross measurements of the form with its dials, and the more particular stuff with a kit of foam pads and knit jersey rectangles (to hold them in place).

    • Angela Clayton says:

      I’m sorry your experience was so bad! I didn’t realize they stretched, that’s awful. The reason i’ve never made one is because of gooey pins, I can’t stand them. I had tape lines on my display form at one point (to mark the waist and CB) and even pinning through those frustrated me.

      I’ve heard good things from people who use the duct tape form as a mold, then fill it with expanding foam. When the duct tape shell is removed you have a foam body double – all you need to do is make a stand and jersey cover.

      I’m glad you found something that worked for you! That’s what matters!

  9. jaguardeer says:

    Hello, excellent review! I bought my dress form a few years ago and am now just ready to start on the cover. But I misplaced the instructions and can’t find it anywhere on the internet. The picture you took of part of the instructions is great. Would it be too much trouble to take a picture of both sides of the instructions and post online or email?

  10. Patricia Johnson says:

    Just found your website. Am starting to get back into sewing & your website is just awesome-I am just amazed at all you have done. Plus the fabrics you get are so incredible. You mention the garment district-cool! Where I live the small fabric store deals a lot in crafts and quilting fabrics not much regular clothing and certainly not costumes-so congratulations on your hauls!! Did want to ask if when you did the cutting on your form if you thought of using dental floss? I know it sounds crazy but I have used it on other foam craft projects and it cuts easier and cleaner than knives or scissors for me. Warm cakes can be cut cleanly with it too

  11. SewBetsy says:

    There is a crafty class, “fitting essentials: customize your dressform ” that shows how to pad out and tame the torpedo boobs on the uniquely you form, as well as how to do the same, minus the boobectomy, on a standard form and the inexpensive dial ones (although beyond showing you how to get rid of the gaps, she doesn’t demonstrate on the dial kind at all). You’ve already mastered the cover, and I think could figure out the rest. She uses a combination of one inch foam and thick quilt batting sometimes split into layers to get a smooth replica of one’s bumps. Things like a tummy are padded with several layers of ovals of diminishing size. She uses similar ovals on the hips to adjust waist length. She also lets it rest for some days and then compares measurements and then takes in the side seams that have stretched a bit.

  12. Pam Valdez says:

    One plus that the Uniquely You form has over the other types is that you can stick pins directly into it and it doesn’t damage it. After accidentally sewing tiny dressmaker pins into costumes on several occasions, I switched to using the large quilting pins with the yellow balls…the length makes it easier to sew over them and they don’t get lost/left in the fabric as easily. I also go this dress form to use with corsets and other foundation garments. My Athena dress form couldn’t take the weight of historical gowns and the tripod base cracked, so the flat metal stand was appealing. Mine slid down too, so my husband made a flat circular piece of wood and screwed it to the pole (permanently at my height) for the foam to rest on, and that worked. It is indeed a bad design the way it is. As for sanding foam, you really need a belt sander to achieve smoothness on that type of foam. I have the larger size, and…you think your boobs were big…mine look like Madonna’s cone bra. I have yet to attempt to carve them down or adjust the cover, but I’ve since acquired several used UY forms in smaller sizes for use making my daughters’ costumes, and they work pretty well. I agree, though, that they are too flat-fronted and the boobs sit too low.

  13. Melissa Quinn says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience with The Uniquely You form. I received my first form almost 30 years ago as a Christmas gift. My mom-in-law found it at a g-sale, and fluke of the universe, it was my double at that time. I’m currently trying to customize my new Uniquely You and it’s a pill, I agree. First, I don’t know how anyone tailors the cover without a friend’s help. I suggest asking your most detail oriented sewing friend for help. Patience and precision are paramount. Second, I wish I had researched other people’s experiences regarding the process. I thought we could read instructions, but several irredeemable mistakes were made and I think I will need to start over with a fresh cover. Third, I agree the stand and clamp are garbage, past and present. I gave up on the clamp and either use a bunch of rubber bands or a wad of duct tape on the post to support the form. Fourth, after I get the cover altered correctly, I have a strong suspicion I will have to perform a double mastectomy on the foam to raise the bust to more closely resemble mine.

    I’ve looked into getting a more accurate form made, and it’s just not affordable or available in my region. Until conditions change, the Uniquely You will work for now.

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