Saturday, June 2, 2012

My brand new Roxy dressform, padded in the Fabulous Fit Fitting system

Roxy dressform foyer
In the window of the Roxy foyer.  The model is wearing 2exist boxer/briefs.

So I think it was for my birthday 2 years ago, mom gave me $$ to buy a dressform.
I started my diligent research about 2 months later.
I hit up dressform websites and read pattern review of dressforms.
I measured myself, I compared to measurement charts.

And I hit a wall.
I'm a pear shape.  Smaller on top than I am on bottom.
Adjustable forms would manage that, but the reviews were mostly bad.  They're cheap, flimsy, fall apart (or over) easily, hard to turn the dials, can't pin into them, etc etc etc.

Professional dressforms are standard sizes throughout.  Get one that matches my measurements on top, and it will be too small on the bottom.  Buy one that matches my measurements on the bottom, it will be too big on top.

I had read about Fabulous Fit but had not gone further with it.  Their dressforms were $700-ish (now they have some in the $300 range too) but they had a fitting system that would let you pad out the form to look like you.  Gain weight? Pad it out more.  Lose weight?  Remove some pads.  Weight stays the same but moves around?  Move the pads around.

So that's where my research ended.   In the meantime, mom bought a mannequin for me from a consignment shop for $20.  I named her Emma. I can actually pin into her!  She's smaller than me but incredibly helpful for many things. But she ends under her waistline, nary any hips, thighs, or derriere to speak of.  Her back is flat as a board. 

Fast forward to PR weekend in NYC, and Jill Ralston gave a demo of what her company sells--the Fabulous Fit Fitting System.  This was one of the most interesting parts of the weekend for me.  I was super interested in the system.  You can buy the system off amazon for $69 and use it with a dressform (any dressform--I had not realized it can be any dressform) that is smaller than you are--you pad it out to look like you.  She demoed it for us and it was amazing.  She made a dressform look like a real person.

I bought the system and tried it with Emma.  It didn't work because of Emma's aforementioned non-existent hips, thighs and derriere.

I had asked, in the course of the research, where Clever Girl bought her dressform.  Antoinette is an incredibly petite woman, and was having trouble finding a form.  She found her size 2 form from Roxy Display NJ.  This made my eyebrows shoot up.  NJ? 

Roxy happens to be located in East Brunswick, NJ.  Like, 15-20 min from my home.

So after FF didn't work with Emma, I went back to the Roxy site.  Their professional dressforms are $250.  And they are open on Saturdays.  I mean, really, could the stars and the moon have aligned any better?  A dressform company practically in my backyard?  With the backing of trusted sewing friend?  For $250?  And open on Saturdays?

I planned to go there last Saturday but they were closed for the holiday weekend.  Today was the day.

It's in an industrial park off the turnpike (exit 9, if you are in with that Jersey joke) and  easy to find.

Roxy sign
Picture taken from the front door of the showroom.  I meant to take the pic again from the road but forgot.

Their showroom is a  hoot.  They sell some dressforms but tons of mannequins, in all shapes, sizes, colors (want an entirely red mannequin?  how about a blue one?  a silver one?), forms (hands only.  head only.  upper torso only.  with/without heads, arms, legs?)  flying like superman?  Positions (sitting?  standing,  arms straight out?  How about on all fours?)    Men?  Women?  Children?  Pets?  it goes on and on).

It was less creepy once the clerk turned the lights on.   I had predetermined that I would get the size 6.  My bust is a 10 on the Roxy chart (remember, I usually sew 12 or 14 at the bust grading to 14 or 16 at the hip), but with FF I needed to go smaller, so I went two sizes smaller based on how much FF padded out Emma (Jill had recommended going one size smaller but after seeing how much it padded out Emma, I went two sizes smaller).

In person, a 6 is incredibly tiny.  But I remembered I was padding her out and ordered the 6.

Here's the dressform section of the Roxy showroom.  I had always wondered how the full size dressforms are suspended and now I know, it's like this:
Roxy dressform showroom

Here is just one row of several rows of mannequins.  Love how they're all wearing their conference lanyards:

Roxy dressform showroom
Here are some busts:
Roxy dressform showroom
Roxy dressform showroom  
I really wish I took pix of the all-silver mannequins.

My new dressform fit easily in my little car after folding down the seats.  I was freaking out a little on the way home because the box said "half size 6" and I was afraid that maybe that meant "half size 6 dressform" instead of "half body size 6".  But it was really a half body size 6.  Phew!

the boxes my dressform came in

Here are the boxes, after I opened them.

So then I brought the pieces upstairs to my sewing room.
time to put her together!
I struggled with the written directions when it came to the part about the spring. But thankfully their website had a youtube video and then it was all clear!!  So it was about 20 min start to finish, but would have been faster if I had just used the video and not the written instructions.

So here she is in her naked, just-born nascent glory:
Roxy dressform size 6
Roxy dressform size 6
Roxy dressform size 6
The white bits on the floor are from the styrofoam the base was embedded in.

Then I started padding her out with FF.

I was glad I had the brochure handed out at PR weekend as the FF box did not include instructions.  The brochure has all the details on padding, and measuring.  Thankfully I had been measured at PR Day Austin's pants fitting workshop (as a bonus we had ALL of our measurements taken, phew!)

The pads are labelled  (i.e. shoulder, stomach, upper hip, bust, side back, etc etc etc) and there are filler pads too for areas that need extra padding.  First you start to put the FF bodysuit on the form, like just below the shoulders, then put the shoulder pads in.  Then roll it down under the bust, and put the bust pads in, etc etc etc.  Then when you're done, you put the princess seam body suit over that and it smooths it out.

So here's where it was at before I put the princess seam bodysuit on it....

Roxy dressform padded in Fabulous Fit fitting system
At that point, I had the extra filler padding in the hips. But it doesn't need quite that much padding. It needs more than the hip padding but less than the hip + filler padding. So for that area, I will probably use tissues or something for the little bit more padding.

Here's the side view:
Roxy dressform padded in Fabulous Fit fitting system
I love how it has the little belly like my little belly.  But it doesn't have a sway back.  I need to get more padding to pad out the upper back to create the swayback curve.  I will probably buy another stomach pad and some thigh pads a la cart from the FF site and use them pad out the upper back to make the sway back curve.
Roxy dressform padded in Fabulous Fit fitting system
Again needs slightly less padding in the hips.

Here's what it looks like without the filler pads in the hips, but with the princess seam body suit.  Hrm, her hips don't look symmetrical here, but I'll have to move them anyway when I go back to make the swayback....
Roxy dressform with Fabulous Fit Fitting System
And here she is in one of my favorite and best-fitting-on-me dresses, Simplicity 2473:
One of my favorite dresses: S2473
One of my favorite dresses: S2473
One of my favorite dresses: S2473
And in another favorite dress, NL 6071:
One of my favorite dresses:  NL6071
One of my favorite dresses:  NL6071
One of my favorite dresses:  NL6071
It is a kick to see the form actually fill out the dress!
And here she is with Emma
My yet-to-be-named dressform, and Emma my mannequin
I will let you know how she works out (and what her name is, once it comes to me! I was originally going to name her Emme so my form and mannequin would be Emme and Emma, but now I'm not sure she looks like an Emme to me.)

My cleaning mood continues. I found this in my bedroom closet.  I bought it at TJ Maxx 2 years ago for $5.   I think it looks pretty cool in my sewing room now.
new wall hanging in my sewing room
My second rose of the year from my "garden":
 second rose of the year
Flowers from the Princeton Farmer's Market.
My favorite flower farmer has returned for another year!
first Princeton Farmer's Market flowers of the year!
Be well!


  1. I've known about Roxy Dressforms in East Brunswick and I keep saying that I need to go there and pick up a dressform...but then one thing after another comes up and I forget. Now you've made me want to go over and pick one up more than ever! Thanks for sharing the pics!

  2. What a wonderful thing for you to have! You will enjoy working with that form--fitting and designing.

  3. How fun! Your are really going great guns on the dress form. It's looking great! And she's so very well dressed in the last few photos!

  4. Wow, that's a nice form for $250. It looks like you had a great day!

  5. You will love having this dress form to help you with fitting. Thanks for sharing how you padded it out. I need to do some of that in the hip area of my dress form.

  6. very interesting post, and I am sure you will get so much use out of this new form.

  7. Congratulations Kyle! I am impressed on how well your dresses look on the form! I have been wanting a dressform forever! I have to keep in mind this place, specially since the price is so good.

  8. That is a super dressform!! I know it will come in handy with all of the things you sew! Thanks for sharing about this.

  9. So happy for your dressform!!! It makes a world of difference with your sewing. I recently bought a custom one from Andy's dressforms in NYC. I LOVE IT!!!

  10. Enjoyed your post immensely! Ah, the search for a decent dress form-I have a "real" dress form also, pricey but totally worth it. "Nascent"-love it, using the language well!!

  11. Very interesting post! Let us know how she works out.

  12. I have the dritz dressform, and was never able to do much with it, so I ordered the FF pads last year. I haven't done anything yet, but you have given me inspiration! Thanks!

  13. This looks great! I have 3 dress forms (though one was from a friend's ex's grandmother's attic and not meant to fit me) and none are great. I would love a custom form, but this is pretty close to custom for a lot less!

  14. Kyle, Thanks for this post. Since reading it I have contacted the firm to see if they ship to Australia (they do!!). Dress forms here are so expensive (usually about AUD$450 or those plastic Singer ones on sale for $150 but same problems - can't pad out). I will work out what size and find out how much to get one out here. I'll need the padding stuff too and even if it is expensive with shipping it will be useful for ever! Thanks again.

  15. Okay, Kyle. You have *completely* convinced me to update my dress form. I've already added the padding to my cart on Amazon. Now I need to decide if I should use my Dritz DF or get another one. Thank you so much for sharing!

  16. I love it when the stars align. Good looking dress form.

  17. thanks for the great information about your roxy dress form + ff padding system. i'm looking to buy a dress form soon and was thinking about doing the same combo. however, i wondered if it was necessary to buy a dress form 2 sizes down. could i just match my bust measurements to the dress form and pad out the hip area with the ff pads?

  18. I *think* I found your blog by way of You Sew Girl, and of course had to peruse a while. I love your Simplicity 2473, and I must say, you got a great deal on your dress form. Yours looks exactly like mine, for which I did not get a great deal. But I like her anyway!

  19. I am so glad find your blog, been searching for a dress form at least 6 month, just can't make up my mind which one to buy and what size should I get. After read your blog, now I know what size of dress form to get.

    Thanks for sharing!

  20. I just ordered my very own Roxy dressform thanks to you! Glad I stumbled across this post.


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