Friday, March 6, 2015

A Fitting Solution


Updated - 3/6/15

This post is not about brick and mortar stores in the garment district; rather, it focuses on the fitting systems used by industry professionals to make garments that fit. These are names known and trusted by many of the firms you will find in the garment district. You can go to brick and mortar stores to get dressforms, but you'll want to do some homework first. If you sew for yourself, you may find that fitting yourself is a great challenge. Most of us don't have access to qualified, patient friends to help us with fitting.

So... what can you do? Here are some options: Find yourself a dress form. The most affordable, which you can use for fitting, but can be problematic for design work or anything more complex, is the Twin-Fit brand, which you can find, among other places, at SIL Thread. At this moment, you may expect to spend somewhere near $200 for one. Not the best choice, but a workable one. If your weight remains relatively stable, and you would like to make the investment in a form you can sink your pins into, and use for draping, get one directly from Wolf Forms, Ronis Brothers, Sewmark, or Andy's. Expect to spend $600 or more, depending on your needs. Wolf (mentioned above) can make a custom form for you, based on your measurements, but it will take time, and a visit to their New Jersey facility to have this done. If you have a significantly unique figure, anatomical challenge, and a healthy budget, this could be a good idea for you. Expect to spend in the vicinity of $1200 for a half body, or $2000 or so for a form with legs, custom made. Considering that people will pay this much for a custom garment, this is actually a pretty good bargain.

If you make things to photograph and sell, you can't beat Bernstein Display. You buy a great display form, and actually make your form part of your decor, if you get one from this company. So let's say you can get your hands on a used form, or you already have one that isn't exactly your size (hopefully smaller in some places than you are). 

Consider Fabulous Fit, a Brooklyn-based company you will only find online. With the help of some wonderfully shaped pads, you can build up the chest, waist, hips, rear end... wherever you need to add. An extremely affordable solution. (about $90)

You can certainly buy used forms, but there are some deal-breakers to be cautious of... A for that has sustained water damage A form that has been overused, and is now fragile, ripped up, or concave in places. A broken or off-kilter base. (because no one wants to fix them) A very old form (because the proportions are for a woman who wears very restrictive undergarments - unless you still do that...in which case, I am both impressed, and maybe a bit concerned for you...) Finally, of course you can make your own form, as shown on YouTube videos (easily searchable), but it is not easy, and will require some materials... so I would say it is at least $200 worth of effort... so why not buy a Twin-Fit instead? Armed with this info, I wish you all a very happy fitting experience.

18 comments:

  1. excellent advice! I splurged on a Wolf dress form and I love it more than my sewing machine.
    And, I do love my sewing machine!

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    1. Fitting IS sewing, I've discovered. Wish I had a form.


      Another suggestion, although not in the Garment District: Sew Right, a Queens sewing machine dealer, offers "fitting" clinics with Kenneth King, an FIT professor. I've always heard he's very good.

      New York Sewer

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  2. Fabulous! Glad you enjoyed the post!

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  3. Two rolls of duct tape, a bottle of wine, someone you love, and the homemade one looks like it could be fun to try. The wine could be the most expensive part. ;)

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    1. Ya, my husband laughed himself silly...
      Definitely do it, but get more tape.

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  4. I've been wanting to order those pads from Fab. Fit -- thanks for the nudge. But one question . . . Went to their website and the pkg. deal for 89.00 asks for a size (s,m,l, xl) but ordering pads individually there is no size. Any inside info, tips?? My goal is to use these in my dressmaking/alt. business on various forms.

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    1. http://www.fabulousfit.com/category_s/66.htm

      Follow the link above for the "contact us" page, and ask the company. They will certainly be able to answer your questions.

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    2. As a follow-up: received a reply to my above question. The multi pad deal for 89.00 includes a cover set. The cover set is sized to fit the dress form you have but the pads are the same regardless of what size you order. So in my case, I'm going to order additional cover sets that correspond to the sizes of my forms. The additional cover sets are $40.00.

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  5. Great post, Mimi. I'm so glad you've taken over this blog!

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  6. Only two posts in and I really appreciateyour succint style. Plenty of great information in a no nonsense approach. Keep up the great work!

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  7. Another place I've been reading about for years is My Twin, a firm based in California. A former Senior Editor of Threads, David Page, Coffin, liked it a lot. It's a type of custom made form, although not as good (or as expensive) as a Wolf.

    I've always heard that Fabulous Fit wasn't that great and that duct tape forms are a waste of time.

    I once talked to someone about a custom padding service she offered for $500. I would have to find a form smaller than me first. It's expensive, but I assume there's a lot to duplicating your body shape.

    I'd like to get a custom Wolf form one day.

    New York Sewer

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  8. I have a Wolf (10), and one from Andy's (6 with legs). Both are great. Yes, it seems in every case, you pretty much get what you pay for!

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  9. I've really enjoyed your posts and this one in particular. I struggled for a long time what to do about dress forms because I sew for so many different body types. I settled on a cheap ($12) mannequin from Barr, padded it with foam and made my own cover. This lets me have a dress form for each of my girls and nieces without spending a ridiculous amount of money. They're customized enough so I can easily switch between my petite, buxom younger daughter to the one for my niece who's an amazon women, shaped like a box on legs. I bet there are places in the garment district where you can get inexpensive display forms too.

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