A dress form!

I’m really excited about my new dress form. It arrived early this week and I set it up immediately. It’s from The Shop Company. I wanted one that was fairly size specific and closest to my measurements, so I chose one of the pinnable professional forms. They also have some great dress forms that aren’t as heavy duty, but would serve well as a model for hand knits. I’ve wanted a dress form for a long time to shoot pics of finished shawls or in-progress sweaters because sometimes that’s much easier than trying to take pics of myself with a tripod and timer, or waiting for a time when Matt and I are both available, Z is otherwise occupied, and the light is also good.pensacola

I love the slightly industrial look of it. It’s hanging out in my living room right now, and I think I will just keep it there, changing out the hand knits once in awhile. This one has removable magnetic shoulders, so it’s easy to slip the garments over the top. I’m excited to use it to visualize sweaters-in-progress because I can pin the pieces directly into the form.pensacola-2

Right now it’s modeling what I’ve done so far on the Pensacola Sweater, the project I’m working on for the Orkney to Omaha historical knitting project. I’m really loving this sweater so far. I don’t think I’ll be writing up this pattern, but I will try to provide enough notes on Ravelry by the time I finish, that someone could replicate what I’m doing, or customize it to their measurements. If you want to check out the Pensacola Sweater original pattern for yourself, you can check out the link from knitbyahenshop (sorry, I don’t know your first name!). She commented on my last post with a link to all of the patterns in that booklet. Thank you!


This is customized for an actress in the film Tell Them of Us. She has 33-25-41 measurements, which are a bit smaller than the form on the bust and waist, but this still provides a good approximation of how it might look on her. This form arrived just in time for this project! The yarn is Blacker Classic Lleyn Wool. It’s a DK tweed yarn with some BFL. The color is slate. It’s a wee bit scratchy, but shows off the texture of the stitches so well, and I think it will look lovely on the redheaded actress that will be wearing it. pensacola-4

This is a bit of a tangent, but I was surprised by some sizing information on these dress forms vs. those of many clothing labels. When I chose the dress form size, I picked the form that fit most of my measurements, but I considered the bust to be most important out of these for accurate sweater knitting. Granted, I am still about 15 baby-related pounds away from this being totally accurate for my body, but this provides some extra incentive to get going. I learned some interesting things about vanity sizing with this form. Pre-baby, I could wear many things in a size 4 or 6 with these measurements (35 full bust-27 waist-37 hips). I thought of myself as about a size 4 or 6 since those fit most of the times in stores. I was a little shocked that these measurements were an 8 on the dress forms, but I know my waist was never smaller than a 27 and I wanted an accurate bust measurement for sure. Just out of curiosity, I tried some of my old sizes on the form. They all fit perfectly, even a size 2 dress from Banana Republic. Talk about some vanity sizing! This is more evidence that it’s best to just forget about the label and go with what fits. I’ve definitely been guilty of being hung up on sizes before.

I’m really excited to try to figure out the sleeve and neck area on this sweater next! More progress shots will come soon.


16 thoughts on “A dress form!

  1. This is wonderful. I have been wanting a dress form for a while. Mainly because the creep in my thinks it would be great to use it as a decoration in my apartment. That it would be useful is just a bonus. Looking forward to seeing your finished historical knit!

  2. When I was getting married, I discovered that there is a Fashion Size and a Body Size. A Fashion size is generally 2/3 sizes larger than your Body size. 🙂
    P.S. I could really not like you for being a Size 8 never mind a size 2 or 4. Luckily you make beautiful stuff which makes not liking you just impossible. (Just kidding here. Of course I like you)

  3. I had the same experience when buying my dress form (in fact we have very similar measurements) and it kind of threw me off buying a size 8… works like a dream though!

  4. That form is awesome. What a great way to see how things are knitting up. The historical sweater is beautiful! I think it is terrific that you are knitting for this production!

  5. I got a dress form for my birthday this summer, and it is just the best for sewing my dresses. my only occasional complaint is that I wish it were adjustable; the measurements are all right, but the shape is all wrong. I’ve given up on sizing in clothes though, I’m a 35-26-34 and I wear tags from a 2 to an 8. I think that if something fits right and you feel good in it, the number on the tag doesn’t matter.

  6. Thank you for this post. I enjoyed reading about your trials and tribulations with the dress forms. Also, I now know where to look for a dress form.

  7. Wow, this is gorgeous! I have an adjustable dress form in a hideous purple color, but this one will be perfect for photographing sweaters! The sizing on dress forms goes by industrial standards– it doesn’t match RTW sizing. So, something like a Gap size 8 would be much bigger than fashion industry 8. Sewing patterns are on a different scale, too, so with your measurements, you’d probably be a 12. It’s silly and confusing that there isn’t one standard sizing system!

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