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Uniquely You Dress Forms

My Christmas present from my parents this year was the offer to buy me a dress form, since I'm on my fourth or so duct tape double. They always end up with hump backs and about two sizes larger than I am. A commercial dress form is more than welcome.

My original plan was to buy a Dritz My Double Deluxe from Joann.com when they were on sale for an outrageously low price before Christmas. We didn't get around to it, though, so they are no longer on sale. With the 40-percent off coupon that Joann has perpetually going, they'd be about $150, free shipping. This is only a little bit more than they'd been before Christmas, but was still disappointing. I'd heard some pretty bad reviews of them as well, so maybe it's for the best.

I've been doing my homework tonight, and I discovered that Uniquely You dress forms could be had for substantially less than the My Double Deluxe, and far less than it usually retails (list price $229). I'd love to have a Uniquely You form: They're what quite a few historical costumers (that's me!) recommend, and the adjustable bust string is immensely appealing.

For the curious, Uniquely You dress forms are currently available from Atlanta Thread & Supply for $129.99. (It's really $139.99, because they add $10 for shipping over their regular shipping charge.) They're also available from AllBrands for $119.

I do have a few questions, though, and would love to have some feedback from those who have a Uniquely You dress form. Input from short, busty ladies who do historical costuming is especially welcome.

1. I'm short (5'2") and have a petite frame. Let me qualify that -- I have a petite frame, but have huge boobs and hips to match, and my back measurement is pretty narrow. My back shoulder point to point is only 13.5". My measurements otherwise are:

Bust: 42/43"
Waist: 31"
Hips 42"

I was planning on buying a size Medium dummy with a size 9 cover. I'm not sure that the shoulders will be delicate enough for me. Any input on picking a size? Would I be better off purchasing a smaller size and padding out the bits to match my measurements? Or should I buy a Medium/Large and just fit the waist to me? Will it compress that extra inch?

2. Does anyone receive the AllBrand newsletter with coupons? Do the coupons usually apply to all the products on the site, or are they product specific? If I can knock more off the price there, I'll just wait for the newsletter to come before ordering.

3. How easily corsetable are these dummies? I've heard it can be done with extreme persuasion. I'd be using it principally for Tudor and Victorian costumes. I'd eventually like to do some 18th-century stuff as well. (Yeah, no disparity in silhouette there! *rolleyes*) Should I just buy extra covers and fit them to myself while wearing the corsets for each era? My Victorian waist measurement is between 26 and 28 inches -- does that push me back to buying a size Medium?

4. I'm also looking for completely honest evaluations of this product. Most of the reviews I've read have been so glowing they were a little hard to believe. The only drawbacks I've seen were that the cover is fiddly to fit and that the stand is a little lightweight. Does it come with a hem marker, by any chance? Is it easy to adjust for height?

I really can't wait to feel up this dummy, as obscene as that sounds. Supposedly the breasts feel realistically squishy.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 5th, 2008 08:55 am (UTC)
I really can't wait to feel up this dummy, as obscene as that sounds. Supposedly the breasts feel realistically squishy.

*chokes on her drink, dies laughing*

I can't help with the dress form but that line just had to be commented on. :)
Jan. 5th, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)
:D I'm just hoping nobody in my family walks in on me when I have one hand on my own breast and the other on the dummy's. It could be . . . awkward.
Jan. 5th, 2008 10:36 am (UTC)
I'd heard some pretty bad reviews of them as well, so maybe it's for the best.

I've had mine for about 6 years and love it.

Sorry I can't help with the rest :(

Edited at 2008-01-05 10:37 am (UTC)
Jan. 5th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the dissenting opinion! (No, really, thank you for speaking up.)
Jan. 5th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
I did some research and decided on buying the Uniquely You last summer. My mom went for one of the adjustable forms (I think she got singer). When you compare them, the adjustable ones are like shoddy pieces of plastic. I would go with the Uniquely You hands down.
If you are having trouble with the measurements, you'll probably have trouble with them in any form you decide to go with. I barely adjusted the cover on my form and it was an ordeal trying to get it back on the form. I would go with the smaller one that you are looking at and maybe splurging for a larger cover so that you can stuff it, does that make sense?
The cover may be a pain to fit at first, but once it is done, you never have to worry about it again, and it is MUCH more lifelike than other forms.
And if you are interested in corsets, I feel like the other forms won't help at all, the UY form is much more...squishy and pliable, more like a person.

So, I would maybe write the company saying that you want a medium form for a larger cover. They don't normally do that, because then it wouldn't fit the form right, but if you are planning on stuffing it, that is what you want.

So, that is my honest evaluation, I think it is far and above any of the adjustable forms out there, I don't know how people work with those other ones. The cover is difficult to fit at first, easier with another person helping, but I did it alone and survived. The stand isn't heavy, but I've never had a problem with it being lightweight. It hasn't tipped over or anything and it is safe around my cat :P It is really simple to adjust for height, just loosen something up and slide it around as much as you want. It doesn't, unfortunately, come with a hem marker, but that means you can buy whatever kind you like :)

So, I am yet another glowing reviewer, I adore this thing :)
Jan. 5th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
The pieces of plastic phenomenon was one I wanted to avoid. I also recall reading that the larger the difference between your waist and bust/hips, the harder it was to get the adjustable dummies to match your measurements. Since that difference for me wavers between 10 and 12 inches, that was a pretty big concern.

I'm very glad to hear it's safe around your cat. My kitty delights in hiding under long skirts and attacking any passers by. I'll never forget the time my hoopskirt starting slowing creeping along the floor because he was under it, pretending to be a skirt shark.

Thank you for your honest review.
Jan. 5th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
Well, my pre-pregnancy size what pretty close to yours (slightly smaller waist, same bust and hips, but broad shoulders) and though I went with the Jo-Anne's dress form, I have to say that I returned the original one I bought to go with a smaller size and added my bra and panties and stuffed them. I found that this worked a lot better for me anyway as the curvier you are, the more unique your shape is really, as the level of your chest and the curve of your breasts and such are all different even if the measurements are the same.
Jan. 5th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
I was figuring I'd have to do that if I bought an adjustable dial model, since all the width I'm missing in my back is made up in my backside. I'd probably have to do that for anything, really.

Jan. 5th, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
I really like my uniquely you dress form. It took forever to fit with a costuming friend helping but it really does match me perfectly. I'm a bit pear shaped and very narrow through the shoulder and torso, but blessed with backside and hips.
That said, Farthingales, the corset company recommends the Uniquely You for corset fitting because it squishes.
The breasts are squishy, but I like mine better!
Jan. 5th, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
I have an impossible shape to create for -
I have a long chest drop (the line between shoulder to nipple), a huge rib cage (45" under bust!) a large D cup (almost DD but not quite) - but narrow through the shoulder back... I have a size 16 waist, but a size 18-20 hips... and add to all that I have a very long torso (neck to crotch), but a very short rise (waist to crotch)...
So if I want something to fit (that isn't stretchy) I have to custom-make pretty much everything, because off the rack won't fit me, if I buy to fit my hips & bust the neck, shoulders, & waistband all droop & bag.
I've tried the 'adjustable dial' models (3 different brands) none of them adjust to the level I needed (and the spring-loaded dials max out & break really quickly - not to mention the plastic thing)...
I've done the duct-tape dummy thing a couple of times in desperation - but since you're basically stuffing a large pillow form of 'you' it's just too easy to over stuff in the wrong places and the duct tape tends to want to 'round out' instead of staying in an elliptical shape (especially through the shoulders & waist)

I thought I was doomed to not getting the fit that I really wanted without resorting to taking my stuff to a seamstress to be altered (paying someone to sew something I know I can sew myself if I had a way to shape it really grated on me!)... But I found my solution!

since I've already done the duct-tape dummy route, I went the DIY version (& I don't live close enough) which saved money... I gotta tell you... I love this thing!!!
Jan. 6th, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC)
this looks very interesting!

i'm not the OP, but i have a very hard to fit figure. i measure 43" at the breast, waist, and hips. my waist does narrow between my boobs and hips, but my belly just sticks forward that much. i carry all my weight solely in my belly. there is no dress form that will let you match the waist measurement to the breast or hips measurement!
Jan. 7th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
not only that, but our 'lumps & bumps' (said endearingly ;->) don't necessarily fall where they do on a pre-made dummy..! it sounds odd to describe it, but my hips are really 'low' - I have a long-ish expanse between my bust & my hips, and a short rise between waist & crotch - so anything with a fitted waist & hip doesn't sit right if done on a regular dummy... the ease for the hip ends up too high. (and I look like I'm wearing jodhpurs on my waist! not that I'd be caught dead wearing jodhpurs on the thighs anyway! like I need to look any hippy or lumpier than I am?! LOL)

oh - and if you do try this - believe me - the bandage shears really are a must! (even though I cheated, I used my husband's [he's a paramedic] trauma sheers ;-> ) they are intended to cut through thick stuff, but have a flat blunt bottom blade which helps avoiding cutting flesh along with the cast/bandages... trust me - regular scissors will not work for this... :-D
Jan. 7th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
regular rise pants come clear up to my boobs, i'm extremely short waisted, which i think is why i carry all my weight out front, theres nowhere else for it to go! my ribs practically rest on my hip bones. and besides being short waisted, i have scoliosis and one shoulder sits visibly lower than the other, making everything hang crooked.
Jan. 13th, 2008 01:32 am (UTC)
oh then this'll work wonders for you!
I don't have scoliosis... but I do have somewhat of a dowager's hump - but it's from muscle damage from an accident years ago... so shoulder seams have to be placed differently than they are on regular patterns.
Apr. 18th, 2011 04:09 am (UTC)
What did you decide and how did it work out?
Did you get the Uniquely You? How did that work out if you did?

I also have a unusual figure and would really like a functional dressform for making corsets. My problem is developing a boning pattern (think I will have it down on the next try) that will support my large, post-kid, bust on a small frame. For reference, I am currently 38"-29"-45". That "45" is mostly sticking out the back! lol I have an extra lumbar vertebrae that causes the small waist. Before kids I had a 25" waist! Anyway, I keep debating on what to do about a dress form, but I think it would really make sewing for myself so much more enjoyable. Making a cast of my body and pouring my own foam does sound interesting, but I am not sure it would really be necessary.

Oh, Love your discworld quote! My top 2 favs are "They do things like open the Three Jolly Luck Take-away Fish Bar on the site of the old temple in Dagon Street on the night of the Winter solstice when it also happens to be a full moon." (Vetinari in Men at Arms) and
"He'd noticed that sex bore some resemblance to cookery: it fascinated people, they sometimes bought books full of complicated recipes and interesting pictures, and sometimes when they were really hungry they created vast banquets in their imagination - but at the end of the day they'd settle quite happily for egg and chips. If it was well done and maybe had a slice of tomato." (Fifth Elephant)
My dream is to be Nanny Ogg one day :)
Jul. 15th, 2013 02:55 pm (UTC)
So how did it work out for you? I have roughly the same measurements and just received my medium form with a size 9 cover. I'm questioning whether I can get the bust to be curvy enough to represent my girls relative to my smaller ribcage. Did you try any customizations with the cover beyond what the instructions suggested? Thanks in advance!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )