My first solution was to try to make one myself out of paper tape. But the glue seeped through my clothes and irritated my skin before it had a chance to dry, so that was out. But it's still a valid method, and I know many people were successful, so if you want to try making one yourself check out this article for four different types you can make at home - http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00002.asp
Next, I searched every auction and online store I could find. I started noticing differences in forms, features, and types. I made a list of everything I would want in a "dream form", which was:
- half legs (or a 3/4 form) because I plan to do swimwear and lingerie later on and I don't want to buy a seperate swimwear form. (Swimwear forms have a crotch, unlike a regular dress form.)
- must be a Girls size 14 because I have a short waist. I found display forms that came close, but the proportions were kind of weird. (Display forms are a little different from dressmaker forms - their purpose is for displaying clothing, although you can still use them for dressmaking. But their proportions tend to be a little exaggerated, IMO, probably to accentuate the clothing.)
- collapsible shoulders (not mandatory but would be nice) This makes dressing the form easier.
- arm attachment (not mandatory but would be nice) Most people don't need arms, but I have trouble with sleeves, so I think it might help.
There were very few forms that fit all these criteria, mainly because 14G size forms don't usually come with half legs. Companies like PGM and Wolf have full-body forms, but having a headless body hanging in my home would really freak me out.
At this point, I scratched "half-legs" off the list, and just started looking for a regular dress form. Somewhere along my searches, I came across the Ronis Bros. website. When I wrote to Josh Ronisky about a regular form, he happened to mention that they can make me a form with half legs even if it wasn't listed on their site. I told him all my other criterias, and he was very accomodating.
I now have my "dream form". :-D It arrived in two seperate boxes. The stand is iron and steel, and is very sturdy. The form is paper mache covered in padding and linen. I'm very happy with the quality and workmanship. I would highly recommend their form, but expect a 6 week lead time for custom forms.
You might be wondering about the asymetry in my back. I did not have them take that into account because it would have been difficult to give them measurements - I'd probably have to fly over there and get a custom mold done. Instead, I got the Fabulous Fit Fitting System to pad out those areas (I will be reviewing that in Part 2, after I have a chance to play with it.)
All the parts
Arm and shoulder connector