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.
The form itself arrived in a big box and seemed to be in good shape!
In 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.
I ripped out the side seams (from the waist down) and started fitting it by pinning the bust seams, underbust, and waist.
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!
I was pleased with that, so I used chalk to draw the new side seam, then removed the pins and sewed up the sides.
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)
Thanks for reading! A “The making of” post should be up at the start of next week!