Last month I was contacted by a representative from The Shop Company to see if I was interested in trying out and sharing my experience from one of their dress forms. I was excited at the opportunity and said yes of course. Imagine my surprise when they weren’t just offering a base model for me to try out but one of the ones from their top of the line professional line! Since I already have a budget friendly adjustable womens dress form, and I design a lot of childrens patterns, I chose a childrens model.
*Read through this entire post to find a pattern giveaway to enter ;)*
My first impression of The Shop Company was that they have great customer service. My order was put in and shipped out promptly. It arrived while we were on vacation unfortunately so I had to wait to check it out!
When I got it I was shocked at the weight of the box, when I opened it up I was beyond pleased to see that it was heavy because it had a solid cast iron base, it was my first peek at the sheer quality of the professional line. My womens singer dress form has a plastic base that weights nothing and topples over very easily. The more pieces I pulled out of the box the more quality I found. The dress form it self is firm but still partially pinnable. The fabric is soft but durable and it has princess seams and center seams on the body as well as the natural waist marked with twill tape. This is extremely helpful and important for tailors and designers as it helps getting a proper fit and cut of garments.
Once I got all the pieces out of the box it was time to pulled out it was time to put it together. The directions were a simple 1 page print out with some smaller pictures and some text. It went together easily and quickly. The only confusing part was the spring, for the child form it just seems to sit there and no nothing except rattle, the when adjusted all the way down the form’s bar isn’t low enough to even touch the spring. So I took a few minutes to take it back apart and removed the spring and I have been beyond thrilled since. You can adjust the height but honestly it’s tall enough at it’s lowest height I will likely never adjust it. Also the skirt cage on the bottom is removable if you don’t want it on, though honestly it’s another thing I will likely never adjust.
I had hoped to get this review out sooner, but I didn’t have time to really test it out and I didn’t want to review or recommend something I hadn’t gotten a chance to fully USE. I ordered the size 64 which is the size of an average 7 year old or US size 7. The first thing I did was measure the form and compare it to the ASTM measurements I use for designing my patterns, I was very pleased to see it was right in line with the measurements which are as close to ‘standard’ as it gets. The next thing I did was pull out a bunch of size 7 clothes we have to see how they fit. Once I was satisfied that the form was right on size I was excited to get started!
Part of what has kept me so busy this week (well besides 5 crazy kids) is the new pattern I have been getting ready for the Boys Bundle UP. I actually used the professional form while drafting and testing the pattern! My kids are thin, always have been and always will be, plus they go to bed at 8:30-9pm which doesn’t help when I sew at 10pm or later most of the time. It was nice to be able to try pieces on as I was going to make sure the lining fit before cutting out the shell, I was also able to see what was to short, what was too long, where needed more ease and where needed less.
First off what can I say, it’s beautiful and I simply love just seeing it in my sewing room every morning. But what I was even more excited about was testing it out on a fitted bodice! Yes I know the flannel is not straight in these photos but that is okay, this was just a muslin tester I through together for a client whom I was helping with the fit of her pattern.
I was able to pin the bodice to the dress for to see where it sits on the neck, shoulders, waist and arm openings as well as how much ease there is. For a woven garment you need ease or you won’t be able to move ;). but this shows me what it will look like pulled against the body and I can see how much extra fabric is on the sides. This pattern uses a 3/8″ seam allowance and like most woven bodices should have 2 inches of ease. Since this is half the bodice that means the front of the bodice should have 1″ ease which is 1/2″ on each side. This lets me know I should have about 7/8″ of extra fabric on each side. I can then pin it in place so that there is only 3/8″ extra on each side and can see how it sits with the ease.
I think what I love the most, is sewing patterns are in 2D. They are giving you a flat piece of material to mold and shape into your garment, using a dress form allows you to see how those straight and curved lines look on a real body.
I can’t express enough how in love I am with this dress form! And no, it’s not only because I was given one to try out, I actually plan on ordering a womens one for myself soon and I highly recommend them for those who design, tailor or sell garments online. I have had it for 2.5 weeks now and my kids haven’t managed to knock it over yet! If there were 2 things I wish it had is I wish it was fully pinnable, though I am guessing there is a good reason it’s not, and I wish they had one with removable magnetic shoulders. You can view their full professional line of dress forms for men, women and children HERE. They not only offer torso dress forms but full body ones as well.
I have always been clear that I feel about the fact that it is worth paying more for quality, and that applies to this. That being said I am also down to earth and no and understand that not everyone can afford a professional version, or maybe doesn’t need one. Don’t worry they have a whole line of classic dress forms and mannequins!
So what is the difference between the professional series dress forms and their classics? Below is from the dress form guide they have on their blog.
Classic or professional?
The classic dress form is created with attention to its appearance, and is therefore used by both clothing retailers and tailors/ seamstresses. Professional dress forms, on the other hand, are designed purely for the tailors and are therefore used exclusively by them.
Their classic dress forms start out as low as just $55 and that includes a stand! So go on over to The Store Company and check out their dress forms. Which one would YOU like to get and why? Put the link or product name in the comments below along with why you want it & I will select 3 winners this weekend for a FREE PATTERN OF THEIR CHOICE!!!