Sunday, January 4, 2015

Spooky Basket: The Simple Fit Dressform, and Simplicity Sidewinder

If there's one thing that's true in a sewist... no matter how much you've been distracted by other things, maybe even other projects... the ones for ourselves seem to come back and haunt us with an unearthly strength.

The planning stage is always the best part... it's the preparation that becomes the obstacle to overcome. I begin the drafting and revisions, and it's about halfway through that point that I lose my steam. I've been lucky (in the sense that I didn't have to think about it) that since August I've been preoccupied with other obligations... but with my Christmas and New Years break, I have found I have no more obligations left but to my own self. Those unfinished garment patterns waving at me from the shelf.

With a day left to my break, I have finally sat down and started on the one closest to being finished, armed with new equipment to make revisions with much more ease.

One of those items is a new dress form that I could actually pin on and adjust.
I don't even remember if I wrote about this... but back in August, my boss and I made an agreement that if I was to sew costumes for her daughter, her daughter's husband, and her son's companion for their Halloween in Disney trip, that I would get a dress form and a large table top omnigrid mat in return. Sufficed to say, I spent many hours under the light of my sewing machine and got it all done just in time.

But I greatly digress...

I haven't looked twice at the dress form since receiving it, because in the following months I've been knee deep in other such projects for work and loved ones. Since the rekindling of my garment creations, I have been able to acquaint myself properly with this new piece of equipment, and I have found one crippling flaw.

Dritz's dress form to the left, my DIY dress form to the right

Perfect Fit Dress Form by Dritz

I consider my body to be well enough into the average spectrum that dress form selection is quite abundant; my dress form back in Canada was a size or two larger, but proportionally correct... and I bought it from the thrift store. I should have known there would be a major flaw, since Dritz has offered nothing but disappointment lately... but the promise of added features blindsided me. As you can see, the bust apex's are extremely different and cannot be adjusted. To give perspective, I included the line that represents the highest point of the hip where they both seem to match up well enough. I scratched my head at how low the bust is... in my experience, I have never worked with anyone who had these similar proportions to have such a low standing bust. That's not to say it doesn't exist, but it's definitely not average for youth. This shape reminds me of a mature figure-- I feel like that should've been mentioned somewhere, as it's a make or break kind of detail in tailoring for the obvious reasons.

It would seem Frankiestein cannot be retired just yet, even though she's had just about enough...

Simplicity Sidewinder

With my "new" machine, I just couldn't get the hang of winding a good and proper bobbin on it, so I flipped flopped from machines just to wind bobbins... it was tedious and I had enough after the 30'th bobbin winding floundering.
I bought the Simplicity Sidewinder.

I never gave this thing enough thought until my machine family grew by one, and then I've come to heavily rely on this little piece of gadgetry. I had a weird hiccup where it just seemed to sputter and completely stop working... but after some tinkering it's back to working order. I still don't know what the heck happened, it's almost like it wasn't taking the juice from the A/C plug. With batteries it worked fine albeit it a little slower, but I don't like the idea of constantly buying batteries. I took out one of the two batteries and tried the adapter again, and that's when it worked once more at full speed. It hasn't done that since, but then again, I haven't removed the sole battery.

It wasn't meant to take from large cones of thread, but a little ingenuity goes a long way-- it doesn't have to be a hindrance. A little wood, a little glue, and some hardware and I remedied this minor dilemma.

It also doesn't have a cutter of it's own, and I'm a chronic misplacer of scissors...
Then I remembered that I bought an adhesive cutter for my singer, since it was also lacking one.

Pretty cool, eh? And yet another problem is solved.

I haven't stuck it on yet, as I am still trying to find a comfortable position for it. Between the extra bobbin holders seems logical, so it won't get knocked off when I pack it up.

With the time spent winding one bobbin perfectly on a sewing machine, I can wind 2 even 3 perfectly in that time.

And now I have perfect bobbins every time, at the drop of a pin.


  1. My dress form is too long in the upper bust as well. But this is an alteration I have to make on most of my patterns. The necklines are always too low. I even have that problem in ready made clothing. I must be petite on the upper bust only. Lol. I love the bobbin winder. I will have to look for one now!

    1. My own fitting issues reside behind me, hehe... but very rarely do I ever do much tailoring on that section of my body.

      The bobbin winder is a very neat little compliment gadget for the little-more-serious-but-not-quite-that-serious sewist lol.
      I've seen some industrial versions that almost look dangerous while winding bobbins at incredible speeds. The bobbins, of course, hold an extraordinary amount of thread for long arms.

  2. Dress forms are rather ridiculous. Mine is a Diana, and even if I adjust it to my measurements it's still off in shape. It's bust is definitely smaller than mine, I think in cup size, because my projects always drape funny in that area. I've tried adjusting it but it's never made a difference. It's difficult because the company has to accommodate for every kind of woman but they fail to have enough adjustment features on the form for that to work. I've often found that I fit my projects directly to my body with the help of my fiance instead of using my dress form!

    1. Dress forms are tricky if you're not willing to fork over the cost for a custom sized one, heh.
      I have debated on more than one occasion to take that plunge... I just don't know if I'm *that* serious about sewing, yet. For the most part I like Diana forms for that very reason you don't like them, hehe; their small busts suit my own small bust... but their behind is almost non existent making swayback adjustments really tricky.

      There should be licensed retailers with fully stocked floor models of all brands in dress forms... there probably is, but I've never come upon one.

  3. My dressform wears an old bra stuffed with scrap fabric to come more close to my actual figure! I often thought taht a selfmade dress form migt be a better idea. Especially for fitting corsets because mine never fit to the dress form I have because it has no squishy middle like me! ;)

    1. Heh, you're lucky your problem is easily worked around on your dress form.
      The DIY ones are really nice, but there can be some weird lumps or folds that aren't actually there that happen in the construction process. Still, they're quite nice to grant you a look at your whole body.

  4. She's definitely a little saggy. Looks kinda familiar. **cough**

    1. I'll get there in time, hehe...
      But for now, it would've been nice to match.

  5. I am so glad that I managed to get wnding bobbins and threading machines into my muscle memory when I was a kid, so I can still do those! Now I just need to master the overlocker, last time I tried I couldn't even do it!

    Wow, that dress form! WTF! I assume some busts are high and some low but in that case shouldn't that be an option! This is what you get with standard clothes sizes sometimes, when you try on a dress and the boob bits are up around your neck or down on your waist!

    1. On my older (new to me) machine, the mechanic is too different than how I am used to/learned, thus my methods seem to be counterproductive... but it's so ingrained, and I'm so impatient. Plus I'm a gadget girl, so I liked the idea of a trinket doing something like this so I don't have to =P

      I think dress forms should be held to a different standard, though-- they're meant to cater to women who prefer not to always buy ready made. It's that very fact that makes and breaks my point... it makes my point by needing more choices, perhaps better labeling (because size and proportion does matter to seamstress'), and it breaks my point because the fact that this problem I have does exist, is a benefit to another woman.

      Probably seems like a lot to ask for... and that's probably why the best dress forms are unobtainable to the casual sewist, heh --unless they're super rich and can drop that kind of money without batting an eye.

  6. I love to read posts like these! So many great sewing gadgets I didn't knew about! The dressform is a pity though, it's clearly visible in the photos. The bust looks odd, just above the waist. Mature women also use pushup bra's I can tell.

  7. Bummer on the dress form. Those things should definitely have more adjustments... like putting the bust on a track so it can slide up or down. ;) A vertical slider at the middle would be good for tall ladies with long torsos.


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