Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Saga of Minnie and Maxie

If you have a dress form, you probably have a saga. If you have more than one dress form, the saga may have developed into an epic. Mine’s more like a long-running sitcom.

Minnie (l) and Maxie (r) in their covers

I’ve had Minnie, a Dritz Twin-Fit, for about two years. She was a very inexpensive eBay purchase, and when she arrived I was pleasantly surprised to see she was clean, with all her parts, and my actual size.

At first I simply dialed her parts up to match my measurements, and fit my garments to her while sewing. When, after some time, I finally faced the fact that the garments that fit Minnie didn’t fit me, I had to take a serious look at myself. I ended up dialing her amplitude back down and padding her bust, belly, and low back (or as I like to call it, the upper butt) by winding strips of batting around until her ladylike dimensions had been converted into something that looked more like me.

I made a stretch jersey cover for Minnie and used her in the newly padded conformation for several months. But her parts started moving around. Blouses weren’t fitting well and I couldn’t understand where my sewing was going wrong, until I saw that Minnie’s right boob had slipped out of her padded bra. I went on, fixing boobs and repacking belly fluff but had my eye open for something better.

Then I had another miraculous find, this time on Craigslist: A Uniquely You dress form for only $75. One surprising stroke of luck followed after another, until I came home with a never-used UY Your Shape form, with the foam intact, cover and stand complete and like new.

But Maxie was not as easy as she seemed. Have you ever tried to wrestle one of these things into its cover? For that matter, have you ever seen what they look like without the cover? It’s hilarious!

Does anyone’s body look like this? Well, the idea is that you sew the cover to fit your own body exactly, then squash the gigantic torpedo boobs and the rest of the foam body into the much smaller cover. Ha. I probably lost a few inches myself with all the calories I expended pulling, pressing, stretching, smashing, rolling, and standing on the thing to get the cover on. It’s on now, but it seems to be growing - Maxie is now about 2 inches bigger than me allover!

I looked at the reviews on PR, and they do say that you need to keep adjusting the cover periodically, as the foam will continue to stretch the cover. I’ve only just recovered from the first time!

The status now is that Minnie isn’t quite right because her padding keeps sliding around, and Maxie isn’t quite right because she’s just too large. So I’m fitting my projects on myself in the time-honored tradition of centuries of sewists.

Do you have a dress form saga?



  1. I also bought the Dritz when it was on sale at Joann's and found that anything I put on it never fits me. It now stands in the corner of my sewing room, unused for the most part. I fit all my clothing on myself and measure and re-measure everything as I go.