Sunday, July 1, 2012

My dress dummy - the Fabulous Fit system

Fitting myself is a problem when dress making.

I have a number of dress manniquins, a lovely one from the early 20th century that is a tad fragile to use. A 1950s size 10 discarded from the Blue Mountains TAFE, great for my test 10 toiles, but nothing else. Then there is my working girl, my Singer dress form pictured on the right.

Ermentrude-of-Orleans*, for that is her name, Ermi for short, has been good for years, but I have been getting plumper and she remains slender and although I have expanded her to the max, sadly she is still smaller than I. Consequently a lot of my fitted garments of late are straining at the seams!!!

Plus she is rather firm of torso, no squish factor like my real body when laced into stays/corset and as most of my dress making mostly revolves around historical garb these days, this has been a tad limiting.

Something had to be done, Ermi had to be expanded and made squishy, so I investigated what was out there.


I could desert Ermentrude and make a duct tape dummy or a similar 'make-it-yourself from scratch system', I've taught this to students and its a great way of cloning yourself, but I couldn't desert Ermentrude, we have too many joyful memories and also, why start from scratch?

Sew Liberated Blog
Next there is the Uniquely U, a very popular choice amongst the costumers of the world as she is 'squashable' like our bodies, so stays/corsets can be laced on and resemble your body in stays.

But, ... I already had Ermentrude, so why start from scratch? Plus those pointy breasts are rather off putting and watching people sculp them to the right shape with the bread knife is very weird lol!

Then, in my web wanderings I came across the Fabulous Fit system, to quote their blurb

The fitting system will make an exact duplication of your body on your dress form. It will accommodate and transform every area of your dress form to clone your body measurements and shape. The contoured pads are 100% pinnable and interchangeable to allow for maximum flexibility.

I liked this system, I could remodel Ermentrude into a new likeness of me and expand and contract her with my summer and winter body shape when needed. So I bought the system, that was in January and today, yes, six months since purchase, I, more truthfully, my partner, implemented all the changes and Ermentrude is reborn!

Here's how we did it at our creative SnB circle today:

The first step is to put the under layer body suit on to provide the foundation, this is very firm and smooths out the dress form. Then you add the subcutaneous fat layer (aka, quilt batting) over the under body layer.

 Then the second body suit goes on and you use all the pads to create your shape.

J-L adding the body parts to make Ermi resemble my true form

Here is the result, a reborn Ermentrude-of-Orleans ...

 Next step is to lace her in my Regency stays and check the results, so more photos soon.

*Ermentrude had a gift for embroidery and an interest in religious foundations. Her husband gave her the Abbey of Chelles. She separated from her husband after he executed her rebellious brother William in 866, and retreated to the life of a nunnery. Ermentrude was buried in the Basilique Saint-Denis, Paris, France. Wikipedia


  1. Had no idea this little system existed - how interesting and useful! Like you, I do not want to give up my dummy (she's been good to me for many years). Thank you for sharing, Lorna!

    1. A pleasure Angela, I've laced her into my Regency stays and she's squishing in nicely, very pleased, things will fit me once again, phew!

  2. That is very cool! I have been wondering what to do myself... I think I need to check out some options for more dressmakers dummys!

    1. Yes it works well and I add extra quilting layers, aka subcutaneous fat, when necessary, LOL!


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