I decided on a UY dressform because I was tired making duct tape dummies. I didn’t want a hard plastic form that will not adjust to my short-waisted, narrow shoulders, average upper torso. The form is the “stuffing” and the included cover - after alterations - shapes the form uniquely to your measurements. I ordered a small with a size 4 cover for my B36 W29 H36 4' 11" body.
I've had this dressform for years. I had to cut away at it drastically because I use it for corsets. The small size didn't squish easily to corset size. If the form is used for corset-making, I recommend selecting the next form size down if your cover size is either 13, 10, 7, or 4. If you are using the dressform for normal wear, then follow the manufacturer instructions on picking a size.
The funniest part of this dressform are the hUgE boobs! They are laughable, but necessary to fill out the cover.
The foam material is like sofa cushioning. It is meant to last and endure lots of wear and tear. The cover is meant to fit any of the sizes listed on the manufacturer sizing chart for any given letter size.
If your cover size is the highest number within a letter size, the dressform will compress down to your corset size. If your number size is either one of the two smaller numbers, the dressform will become progressively difficult to compress down to your corseted size. Any letter size dressform isn't designed to “squish” smaller than the smallest stated number size in the chart.
I tried altering the cover that came with the Uniquely You dressform, but it turned into a fitting nightmare. The better way is to sew a custom dressform cover using free sloper patterns from My Pattern Designer demo software.
Start up the software. Click “File, Settings”. Click the “Make pattern lines dark and bold” option box. Set your seam allowance. I changed it to 3/8” because that is the width of my quilting foot.
Click “Size, Fit Test Patterns” and select “Torso Garment”.
Click “Size” “Measurement Wizard”. Select your body shape. Enter your height, bust, waist, hip and inseam measurements. Then click on the advanced tab.
Select your bra size. Save your measurements. I also take a screenshot showing the computer date at the bottom.
Any changes you make to the prefilled measures will be marked with a black checkmark. If you need help on how to take any measurement, click the box where the measurement is entered so it turns blue. Then click the “Help” button at the bottom of the screen. The most important measures to get correct, in my opinion, are the shoulder length and shoulder slope.
If you’d like to print the measurement lines on the pattern (as above), click the little ruler icon “On”. Click File Print or click the printer icon. Select zoom to 100% and click “Select All” to select all the pages. They will turn from yellow to blue. Click “Print Selected Pages”.
After printing, click “Next Pattern Piece” which will bring you to the Back pattern piece. Select zoom to 100% and click “Select All”. Click “Print Selected Pages”.
Continue the process until you’ve printed all four pattern pieces. You should have the Torso Front, Torso Back, Sleeve and Facings.
Use a window as a lightbox. Tape all the bullseye horizontal pieces first. The vertical pattern lines should just meet and there should be a 3" space between bullseye marks. Be sure to draw in the hidden pattern lines. Tip: You can make the fitting process easier by only working with the pieces above the bottom front dart.
Rip out the zipper from the original cover. Line it up on the back pattern piece and mark where it ends. Add seam allowance.
Extend or shorten the bottom hemline where the zipper ends on the back and front pieces. Use cheap cotton muslin for your test sloper. Use a strong weave fabric (100% quality cotton, duck canvas, or even upholestery fabric for example) for your final sloper. The front piece goes on the fold. The front facing goes on the fold. Mark the darts and small dots around the armholes as indicated on the pattern.
Tip: Use a sewing awl to mark the dots, then draw lines to connect the dots. Unfold the front piece and draw a straight line on the fold to mark center front (CF). If the pattern has measurement lines also mark the underbust, waist, abdomen and hip lines.
Sew up the front and back darts. Here’s a video by Threads magazine on how to sew darts. Sew front to back along the shoulder seams.
Sew the front and back facing pieces together. Sew to cover. Tip: You can skip the facing during the fitting process.
Draw or sew in the seamline down the center back. Fold and iron the seam allowance along the line. Pin or baste zipper along the fold. The zipper is sandwiched between the facing and bodice at the top with the zipper pull at the hemline of the cover.
Tip: Use wash-away Wondertape to temporarily stick the zipper to the fabric instead of using pins. Sew in the zipper.
Pin in sleeves, matching dots. The sleeve will have a little extra fabric in it - it’s built into the pattern. Don’t worry about easing the sleevecap, just fold in the excess fabric somewhere between the top and the dots. Sew in top of sleeve. Then pin the side seam from the hem to the underarm, then from the sleeve hem to the underarm. This will keep your hems even. Sew the sides.
Try on. Make sure the neck seam runs straight down the middle of your shoulder. Make sure the side seam runs straight down your side. Make sure the armhole seam runs from your armpit straight up to the top of your shoulder.
This is where I found out the sloper fit perfectly, except my shoulder length measure was off by 13/16”. See how the fold in the bodice points to the problem? I changed my shoulder length measure to 4”, but the back neck jutted out and away from my body. I changed my shoulder slope from 1 15/16” to 1”. Try #3 worked for me. Don’t worry if this happens to you. Fitting a sloper is a process, and the final result is worth its weight in silk.
WAIST: Start by taking in the waist by pinching on both sides and drawing in the curve with a pencil. Transfer the curve to the other side by lining up the two sides and sticking pins along the line. Flip it over and draw in a line from pin to pin. Sew.
HIP: Draw in the hip down to your fingertips. Transfer curve to other side. Sew.
LEGS: The fabric should curve towards your legs. Draw a line just outside the fold to mark the seamline. Sew.
Mark the underbust, waist, and hip lines if you haven’t done so. Tip: To mark the hip line, sit on a chair and place a ruler on your lap. Draw a line on the fabric along the top of the ruler.
Make any sewing adjustments now - before sewing up the sleeve. Take a picture of yourself in the sloper so you can properly stuff the sloper later.
Sew up the sleeve: Mark an X at the outside elbow. Mark the inside of the elbow. Sew up the sleeve hem. Measure your wrist. Mark the sleeve hem 1/2 the wrist measure from the fold. Draw a line from 1” above the elbow mark to the wrist. Sew.
Using the picture as reference, stuff the arms with batting, pillow stuffing and/or foam. Don’t overstuff so you can squish the form in a corset. Use round pieces of cut foam to mark any stomach pudge.
Camilla through the years 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively. Damn pie.
It is now 2014 and I still love my Uniquely You dressform. The stand? Not so much. The plastic bit and screw gave way a while ago. I drilled a hole through the metal pipe and used a long screw to hold the form in place. That only lasted as long as the screw held out, and the screeching drove me nuts.
I found a quick and easy method to fix the UY dressform stand. Use 3/4” PVC pipe!
Simply cut the PVC pipe down to the height you need. The pipe sticking out of the form will sit on the edge of the 3/4” PVC pipe. Whether it will stand the test of time is unknown, but at least there’s no more screeching.